6 Tips For Managers Trying to Overcome Performance Appraisal Anxiety

Negotiations, confrontation and potentially unwarranted employee pride — this is perhaps some of the most anxiety-ridden aspects of performance reviews for managers.

Despite the tendency for a performance appraisal to cause angst throughout the team, they are imperative. It seems as though more and more professionals lean towards removing performance appraisals all together, but they are pivotal in maintaining goal progress and employee development.

It’s a matter of how you conduct them that proves their benefit and their professional necessity for growth. Here are some tips to help you through the apprehension.

1. Negotiation is like riding a bicycle

You’ve been through performance reviews in which employees have asked for raises or more responsibilities before, and you did well. Remember those instances in which you did well, and those skills will come back to you.

Considering 17 percent of employees always negotiate pay during their performance appraisal, this is something you’ll be glad you prepared for.

2. Make it a conversation

shutterstock_118213114Regardless of whether or not your employee has some problems to iron out, the performance appraisal should be a gateway for a conversation above all else.

It doesn’t have to be a confrontation about problematic workplace behavior. Because employees are more engaged when they grow professionally, take this opportunity to discuss and set goals together for a collaborative resolution.

3, Fear is in the (lack of) details

If performance reviews are rarely conducted – i.e., once a year or less – they become more nerve-racking for you and your team.

Nearly 90 percent of companies hold performance reviews at least once per year. Understanding the importance of their work and how you play into that development best happens during the performance appraisal.

After all, practice makes perfect, so the more often you hold performance reviews, the easier they become.

4. Prepare

Of course, you’re at least going to skim over the employee’s file and do your best to remember the success of their work 20 minutes before their performance appraisal, but that’s not what I mean by preparation.

Currently, 53 percent of employers said they don’t actively track improved performance. Subsequently, performance reviews suffer because there is no basis for measuring performance.

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However, by thoroughly evaluating and tracking their performance in between reviews, employers can not only increase the effectiveness of performance reviews, but ease the anxiety that surrounds the dreaded term.

5. Take a break

No, you shouldn’t stop mid-appraisal for another cup of coffee.

However, when employees ask for new projects or want to negotiate for more responsibilities or pay, you don’t have to make a decision on the spot if you are unsure immediately. You can take a day or so to think about the terms and then make your decision.

6. Reevaluate your process

To ease your stress (and the anxiety of your employees) simply take another look at your performance appraisal process.

You’re not alone if you think your process needs another look; 49 percent of HR professionals believe the performance appraisal process needs re-evaluation. Organizations are beginning to look at the entire process to see where they can gain a better picture of each employee’s performance.

Negotiation during a performance appraisal can induce fear in managers, but they needn’t worry. You don’t have to make an immediate decision regarding the terms; take sometime to think about what’s truly best for the employee and the team as a whole.

By preparing well ahead of time and fully understanding the process itself, you and your employees will have the opportunity to make the performance appraisal a conversation rather than a managerial dictation. When all is said and done, if you still feel anxiety surrounding the process, maybe it’s time to reevaluate it.

What have you done to change the trepidation of performance appraisals?dilbert-performance-review~87912

Chris Arringdale is the Co-Founder and President of Reviewsnap, an online performance management system that allows you to customize performance appraisals, competencies, rating scales and review periods.

Reviewsnap serves more than 1,200 customers worldwide including Penske Racing, CubeSmart, PrimeSource and Nonprofit HR Solutions.

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