Performance Review:Interest, conduct, advice

Performance Review

Are you about to prepare the performance review for your employees? In this article, we reveal a 360° vision of the annual appraisal interview.

What is the interest? Why is it set up? Who conducts it? How to prepare it as a candidate and as a manager?

What is a Performance Review?

The performance review also referred to as a performance appraisal is a management tool. It is generally conducted and organized by the manager of the employee concerned.

Widely adopted by companies, it is usually held once a year, either at the beginning or end of the year. The management is also expected to inform its employees in advance that a performance appraisal will be held, so that they can prepare for it.

The objective of this face-to-face meeting is to assess the employee’s performance, to take stock of his or her objectives and if there are any problems to report in his or her attitude or work. For the employee, it is also an opportunity to question himself or herself, but also to share his or her comments on management, to re-evaluate his or her missions and to reveal his or her desires for development.

In short, the performance review is a moment of exchange that is very important, both for the employee and for his or her superior.

Although it is not legally required (according to the labor code), a collective agreement can impose the implementation of the performance review.

In this case, the employer must respect the provisions of the agreement. In the opposite case (absence of conventional provisions), the employer could introduce the performance appraisal but after having consulted the Social and Economic Committee (CSE).

If the case arises, the evaluation system set up must concern all the employees of the company.

What is the purpose of the appraisal review?

The performance appraisal, also known as the evaluation interview, is an event that is eagerly awaited by employees and managers alike. Being too busy with their daily tasks, employees find it very difficult to evaluate themselves.

The performance appraisal is there precisely so that the employee can take stock of his or her professional performance over the past year and set the objectives for the coming year: just as he or she receives an appraisal from his or her manager. It is truly a moment of exchange between the different stakeholders.

This is such a privileged moment for the employee. Often we don’t have the opportunity to talk openly to our manager, and it can be difficult to express our needs and desires at work. The annual appraisal interview is therefore a moment of sharing that should be taken advantage of. During this meeting, the manager will have the time to congratulate the employee for his or her work and to communicate his or her areas of improvement for the future.

Therefore, both parties can know if they are on the same page, if they share the same vision of things.

To recap, the purpose of the professional assessment is to:

→ Collaborators

  • List their strengths, skills, shortcomings and areas for improvement, a self-critique that contributes to their professional development.
  • Communicate their wishes, training needs, as well as their prospects for development with respect to the position and within the company.
  • This is an opportunity to evaluate the manager or employer. It is a common practice in large companies such as Pentabell, and is called the “360° interview”.
  • This is an opportunity to renegotiate your salary.
  • Eventual promotion
  • Eventual increase
  • Departure, future in the company
  • Various explanations and conflict resolution

→ Manager

The manager considers the performance appraisal as a crucial point of his human resources strategy. Indeed, he is able to:

  • Take stock of the activities entrusted to the employee.
  • Assess the employee’s skills in relation to the position he/she holds.
  • Set the employee’s objectives for the coming year.
  • Set up a training and support program.
  • Discuss the future of each employee, and put into perspective the employee’s wishes for development in relation to their skills and potential.
  • Promote the best talents.
  • What about the future of my employees in my company?
  • What are their aspirations? Am I pursuing my goals?

→ Company

  • For companies that have the means to do so, the performance review allows them to adapt the training plan for their employees. The major trends revealed by the various interviews will bring out different needs, which will have to be met in order to manage the activity as well as possible.
  • It is used to check whether the company is achieving its objectives.
  • The professional assessment is a real global strategic tool for the organization, which can use it to progress and increase its productivity. It goes beyond an individual interview that determines whether or not an employee has achieved his or her objectives.

Performance appraisal provide the company with valuable answers:

  • Should it hire and how soon?
  • Should it train better, train differently?
  • Are its employees happy?
  • What HR policy should be put in place?

When should it be done?

There are no specific rules as to when the professional assessment should be conducted. It can take place at any time of the year. But it is often done at the end of the year, between October and December. The only detail to be taken into consideration is that the evaluation interviews must be spaced 12 months apart.

Where does the performance appraisal take place?

Generally, the performance appraisal takes place in the manager’s office or in another space reserved for this purpose. However, there is nothing to prevent the manager from choosing another location for the evaluation interview. Conducting a meeting in a neutral location can be intriguing if the employee is not a talker (a brainstorming room, for example).

How to prepare for the annual performance review?

The annual performance review is an opportunity to reflect on the past year and to look ahead to the future. To do this, it is essential to prepare adequately for the meeting and to base your arguments on facts in order to avoid letting your feelings get the better of you. Never forget that an effective evaluation interview is one that is predictable for both the manager and the candidate.

→ Managers: Rules to follow for a successful appraisal review

Here are our tips you can apply to successfully interview your team.

1) Understand the issues

To do things the right way, you first need to cogitate on the stakes of these interviews. There can be many purposes:

  • Reduce dysfunction;
  • Strengthen internal communication;
  • Prepare the teams for an important project;
  • Assessing skill levels to develop a new activity;
  • etc…

2) Prepare a framework to follow

Even though the assessment interview is adapted to each candidate, it is crucial to establish a common thread in order to maintain focus on the big day. Prepare topics related to the employee’s daily difficulties, objectives, vision for the company and areas for improvement. To improve the quality of the annual appraisal interview, encourage the employee to express his or her thoughts without making him or her feel guilty.

On the day of the interview, take this framework with you, and fill it in as you go along with the information your employee provides.

Here are some examples of questions you can ask your employee during the performance appraisal:

  • What are the missions you have carried out? What was your main success?
  • Which assignments are you most comfortable with? And which ones are you least comfortable with?
  • What progress have you made in relation to the previous year?
  • What suggestions for change could you make to improve your effectiveness?
  • What are the disruptive elements of this year? and what could you do to limit them?
  • What difficulties have you encountered?
  • What do you think are the priorities for the coming year?
  • Did you take any training during the year? Did it meet your expectations? Why or why not? Do you apply the lessons learned from this training in your daily work?
  • Would you like to take a training course in the coming year? and why
  • What is your professional project? In what time frame?
  • How would you like to develop within the company? In what time frame?

3) How to prepare for the annual meeting?

A team is a group of people who should be considered in the best possible way, not just as elements that will help you achieve your objectives. This is why they need to feel that the annual performance review is more than just a mandatory administrative procedure. You must respect this rule, otherwise you risk losing credibility, because when they applied for the company, they practiced the interviews beforehand.

Take the previous year’s interview report if you have been managing the same team for at least a year. Don’t hesitate to ask for the previous year’s written report from your supervisor or from the human resources department if you arrived later. It will help you remember what you said to each other, check whether the objectives set for the previous year were achieved and serve as a starting point for the upcoming annual review.

4) Value the work of your employees

In fact, there is nothing easier than to criticize the work of your employees.

But is this the best way to motivate them in the long run?

Everything is never black and white, even in a professional setting. It is up to you to set the tone of the annual performance review. The value you place on your team when there is a good reason to do so is crucial.

Employees need to be challenged, see the impact of their work and be appreciated for a job well done. This can be done without compensation through manager recognition, additional responsibilities, or even new assignments that would be interesting to complete. Putting the needs of your team first will help you feel recognized at work.

5) Conduct a discussion, not a monologue

The manager should focus on the present and the employee’s feelings after having done the delicate work of reviewing the past year. The goal of this interview is not for the manager to talk to the employee while the employee passively listens to what the manager has to say. The employee must participate in the conversation!

This is the time to find out what they think of the company, their team, their work and the missions they have been given. In 70% of cases, it is preferable to let them express themselves so that they can evaluate things themselves. In order to avoid conflicts, the employee must evaluate his strong points and his points to be developed in front of his manager. They must feel free to express their professional aspirations.

As part of the individual interview, you should be prepared to hear both positive and negative criticism. In order to improve your management style, you can also use this opportunity to ask for feedback on your areas for improvement in management.

For the annual appraisal interview to be successful, the framework set by the manager is essential, so favour a relaxed and open environment!

6) Set up post-interview actions

The steps to be taken to develop the employee must be formalized in clear terms; it is not enough to discuss the steps. As a manager, you will be evaluated on your ability to manage these situations. If you don’t, your team will perceive you as a manager who doesn’t care about their team’s progress.

Both parties should receive a written summary of this meeting for signature, formalizing a common understanding. Both the manager’s monitoring criteria and the employee’s goals will be outlined in this document. It will serve as the basis for the next annual meeting, ensuring a complete follow-up for both parties.

→ Candidates: Tips for a successful performance review

Review your previous performance appraisal

You need to start by preparing for your annual appraisal interview in advance if you want to do well.

If you want to do well in your performance appraisal, you need to prepare for it ahead of time. First, review the many objectives that were assigned to you last year.

“If it’s not the first review in the company, the previous annual interview often sets a roadmap for the coming year,” explains Sebastien Sanchez, Managing Director at Page Personnel. “It’s a good way to take stock when you reach the end of a project. It can also be a progress report that requires clarification. The employee will have to explain the areas that are moving in the right direction and those that have fallen behind. During the interview, he or she will have arguments to ask for more resources or more time,” he explains.

Of course, in order to present an argument and have a calm conversation with your boss, all of this must be supported by verifiable facts and exact figures.

Projecting yourself into the future of the company

During the preparation phase of the annual appraisal interview, the employee being evaluated should not hesitate to set objectives for the coming period. Even if they do not fall within their usual area of competence, they are free to highlight the tasks that are of interest to them.

“Bringing suggestions and recommendations for the coming year to the meeting will reinforce the agreement between the employee and his or her supervisor. Of course, it is often the hierarchy that sets the objective, but employees are also expected to contribute to the projects they are working on. Thus, they can prepare recommendations to be presented during the interview. This may involve allocating resources or, if necessary, redirecting directions.”

Be clear about what you want

The job evaluation also gives the worker the opportunity to discuss career goals, such as moving to another region or enrolling in a training program to sharpen skills.

It is advisable to come to the annual appraisal interview with a strong case for finding common ground.

If there is no agreement on certain points, it is even more crucial. The employee can discuss how the company has evolved over time and offer suggestions for organizational changes to indicate a desire to move on to other topics.

Don’t expect everything from the annual performance review

There are companies where communication is not always constant and fluid. Some people may find that this meeting is the only opportunity they have all year to talk with their manager.

As a result, they may wish to address specific topics or express certain frustrations.

“Of course, the interview is a moment of exchange and you have to be able to talk about good and bad things. But it is better to warn your interviewer in advance if you want to bring up a subject that might be outside the scope of the interview. This will allow them to prepare and respond effectively. But it would be a mistake to wait until the interview to say everything. If you put everything on this interview, it will be difficult to control. If the manager is not a great communicator, it is up to the employee to ask him or her to make more or less informal points, at coffee, lunch or in a meeting,” concludes Sébastien Sanchez.

In the end, always be sincere, professional and friendly, and do your best to give solid arguments to support your point of view without causing controversy. Don’t hesitate to ask for a second performance appraisal if you have serious doubts about any of the points in your annual performance review, and take the preparation of your annual appraisal interview just as seriously as the first!

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