Most managers dread holding annual reviews with their employees. It’s a stressful time for both parties. But it doesn’t have to be. If, for instance, you had been holding monthly one-on-one meetings with your direct reports (which you should be), the annual review becomes much easier. With 11 months of recorded data on their performance, strengths, weaknesses, improvements, etc., you no longer have to rack your brain for discussion topics. You have them all right there. Plus, since you’ve been meeting on a regular basis, you’ll both know what to expect in that 12th meeting, removing most of the apprehension usually associated with annual reviews.
These monthly meetings don’t need to be stressful or tedious. If you’ve done your homework, a simple check in with how the employee is doing, and whether or not, they are meeting the expectations laid out for them is all that is necessary. “You’re doing great with Key Accountability #1, but #3 isn’t getting as much attention as it should. How can we change that?” Talk about what might be holding back their performance, possible solutions and let them know what you expect to see done before next month’s meeting. Simple, quick and to the point.
Great managers are great communicators. If you’re meeting less than monthly, you’re simply not communicating enough. Without a regular check-in, employees have no way of knowing whether or not they’re doing a good job. They’ll start to redefine their roles and priorities. They do what they want, and not what is necessary. Counteract that with these face-to-face meetings. You must be giving them feedback on how they are doing and where they can improve. It helps keep the employee on track and lets them know that they are being held accountable.