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With the onset of the pandemic, every business has been struggling to keep their back straight. As most companies have stepped into a remote working system, productivity has significantly risen. However, it is no surprise some employees have been taking undue advantage of it and using the circumstances as an excuse for repeatedly missing deadlines and even skipping meetings.

The annual evaluation is just knocking at the door, and it is the responsibility of managers to hand these employees poor performance reviews. Providing a negative performance review may become a challenging task if you are not prepared for it. However, it is a necessary step if you want the employees to be a part of your valued team.

Due to the growing importance of mental health, managers need to make a correct approach to conveying poor performance reviews. As employee behavior has changed over the last year, the manager must be empathetic in his approach to deliver the bad news to the employee.

Here are a few quick tips that a manager can definitely utilize to provide a poor performance review without burning out the employee.

Review and compare self-assessments

Most companies create self-assessment forms to be filled by their employees. If you are going to announce a negative performance review to an employee, you can go through the latest self-assessment and previous year’s self-assessment.

The comparison of these two may offer you evidences to back up your points. Moreover, you can also learn about the emotional state and the impact of the pandemic on the employee. Referring to the self-assessment provides a common ground between the employee and the manager to start a conversation before breaking the bad news.

Empathetic Approach

There is no end to the importance of an empathetic approach when delivering negative news. The best way to start is by saying that you understand how the transformation in the last few months has been unsettling, and the employee is not the only one whose performance has been affected adversely.

The manager poses the role of a leader in the eyes of his teammates. Therefore, striking a conversation with transparency along with compassion, provides the employee with the comfort to understand the leader and perform as a team player.

Negative Reviews does not imply a bad experience

As a manager, breaking the bad news with an aggressive approach is the worst mistake you can make. Instead, present yourself calmly, describing every parameter where the employee lagged and how that can be mended in the next quarter. You must make the employee feel valued by the organization even though you are highlighting some unfavorable reviews.

Reflect on the importance of the review

Unlike other years, there are certain differences in the purpose of the performance review this year. During this chaos, most employees could not deliver expected performance due to the lack of direction, accountability gap, or adaptation to the new changes. Therefore, the performance review is essential to identify the barriers and help employees adapt to the ‘new normal’ transformations.

Instead of rushing with a decision of rooting out bad performers, the purpose of this year’s performance review is to enhance the employees’ performance through their engagement. You must realize that the performance review is a way to communicate with your employee to keep them performing better in the long term.  

Be Prepared for Reaction

It is no surprise; some employees may react aggressively or defensively to a negative review. You must not be taken aback by the reaction and offer a counter response. In such cases, the manager must provide some space and time so that information can sink in.  

You must have a compassionate gesture to help the employee with a plan of action to achieve bigger goals and better results in the next review. You must outline the steps of the action plan and ensure support to achieve it. In this way, you can convey the poor performance review as well as build a bond of trust with your employees.

The Bottom Line

“Employees engage with employers and brands when they’re treated with empathyand respect.” As a manager and leader, you must ensure the well-being of the company as well as your employees.

Breaking a poor performance review to your employee is not an easy job, but it can be the starting point as a leader to your employees.

Always remember, employees, are assets only when you value them. Discouraging or mentally harassing them would worsen the situation. Avoid confrontations while delivering a negative review. Instead, motivate them to perform better with effective guidance and mentorship.

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