Conducting Year-End Reviews

Year-end reviews can do much more than help you decide how much of a raise – if any – to give to your employees.

Year-end reviews also can help you and your staff members decide on department goals for the coming year as well as professional goals for each worker.

Read below for some tips on how to conduct effective year-end reviews with your employees.

  1. Make sure each employee has a copy of a (recent) job description. (If the job description hasn’t been updated in a while, update it! Get the help of the employee(s) who actually work in the position.). A job’s duties organically change as time goes on.) This job description also should make clear the standards anyone working in the position should achieve.
  2. Provide each employee with a self-appraisal form at least two weeks prior to your one-on-one meetings. Ask the employees to return the completed forms to you a week or so before that meeting.
  3. The self-appraisal form will help you gather information about how the employee sees his or her performance over the past year. The form should include such questions as:
    –  What are the main things you’ve accomplished this past year?

    – What do you think you need to improve when it comes to your performance?
    – How can I, as your manager, help you improve?
    – What are the five or so things you want to accomplish this coming year?
    – What will your priorities be for the next six months or so?

  4. The employee should keep a copy of the self-appraisal form so that you both can go over it during the year-end review.
  5. Choose a private place to conduct your one-on-one meetings. Preferably, this will be a spot where you won’t be interrupted by phone calls or visitors. Work to make your employee comfortable by talking about non-job-related topics a bit before starting the formal appraisal.
  6. Start with positive aspects of the employee’s work and give praise as it’s warranted. Then move on to areas that need improvement or where a worker’s performance is lacking. Provide specific examples of poor performance.
  7. Work to get the employee to want to improve. Even if the individual’s performance has been good, there’s always room for improvement. With your employee, come up with specific goals for the coming year and agree on the benchmarks that will show the employee is meeting them.
  8. End on a positive note, praising the employee again for the good things he or she does, adding that you will do all you can to help the employee improve in the areas in which he or she has performed poorly.
  9. With an overall poor performer, let the individual know that you’ll meet again (one month, three months, or a different time frame, as warranted) to discuss how he or she is doing in working to improve performance. If the employee’s performance is very poor, let the individual know that certain benchmarks (that you’ll both agree to) must be met or there will be consequences. Be sure to delineate the consequences, as appropriate (a demotion, termination, etc.).

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