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Four Tips To Handle Negative Employee Reviews

It’s the dreaded time of the year! Performance reviews tend to be the most maligned and the most contentious subject in any work place. While positive reviews are easy to give and receive, handling negative reviews can be tricky for both managers and employees.  A survey by Zenger and Folkman showed 92% of employees believe negative feedback when delivered in an appropriate manner helps improve their performance.

Here are some tips on dishing out the negatives in a positive way.

Tips To Handle Negative Employee Reviews

Make it more frequent:  A survey by PwC showed that almost 60% of employees prefer daily or weekly feedback. Employees need to be engaged with regular feedback at least once a week instead of hearing about their performance only at the end of the year. Most experts believe annual reviews are outdated. A study showed weekly feedback from managers resulted in a threefold increase in employee engagement levels.  Frequent communication about performance also lower attrition rates and boost productivity according to a OfficeVibe study.

Be more precise:  One in about five employees do not think their managers would provide constructive and unbiased feedback. Performance reviews need to be based on mutually agreed measurables, as what can’t be measured, cannot be managed far less reviewed! It is also easy to handle negative reviews when the discussion is based on facts and figures rather than opinions or biases.

Begin with positives: Starting a review on a positive note will set the right tone for the entire session. Begin by explaining the purpose of the review and explain the metrics that the review is based on. If there are unacceptable behaviors or failures, you should have ideally conveyed the same in the weekly or monthly feedback so the employee is prepared at the annual review. Offering suggestions on how to overcome the drawbacks would indicate to the employee that your negative review was not based on personal bias.

Listen! At the end of the discussion, be open to receiving feedback as well! Ask if the employee has had any concerns at work that prevents him or her from carrying out certain tasks. At times, the employee may not be aligned with the company’s objectives. A survey showed only 40% of employees were aware of their company’s goals and objectives. The annual review is a time to set the expectations right and re-align the employee on the goals and objectives of the company.

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