Take the dread out of annual reviews

Annual reviews have been drawing fire lately. Here’s how to make them better:

√  Encourage self-reviews. In advance, ask each person for his accomplishments the past year and goals for the coming year.

√   Ask how you can do better. Ask what you can do to help them perform better, especially through tools or training. “Replace my 7-year-old computer,” was one embarrassing and justified answer. Little fixes can make a big difference.

√  Don’t wait to discuss issues. Keep employees abreast of how they are doing, so there will be no surprises.

√   Don’t dither. Conduct the review within a week of your employees’ anniversary date.

Tough Talks D

√   Put cash on the table. If someone has made an outstanding contribution, give him a bonus or an advance on the coming year’s earnings.

√   Be flexible about regular work hours or telework days. It’s an especially good perk without hurting productivity.

— Adapted from People Tools for Business, Alan C. Fox, SelectBooks Inc.