The anticipation of a performance review often brings about anxiety for both the employee and the evaluating manager. Anxiety may be justified because a poorly conducted review can result in more harm than good. Performance reviews should produce positive results.
Preparation is the key to a successful performance evaluation. Important to preparation is on-going communication with the employee.
A formal review may only take place once a year, but communication between an employee and his or her supervisor regarding job performance should be continuous. The employee should go into a performance review knowing how he or she has performed throughout the year with no surprises.
Employers and their evaluating managers should treat performance assessments as a valuable communication tool for both employees and supervisors - a stepping-stone for progress in the right direction. When the evaluation is complete, both parties should have a clear picture of where the employee has been in the past year and where he or she is going. Then, the manager must routinely follow-up with the employee to assess his or her progress, daily, weekly or monthly, until the next formal review.