Performance Review – more scary than a visit to the dentist?

Posted on by Mark Fernandez

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By: Jayne Griffiths

It’s often at the end of the Financial Year that companies sit down with their staff in a semi formal review.

I was helping one client with their Performance Reviews recently and overheard some of the staff talking about their review that afternoon, with comments such as “hope it won’t take long, I just want it over with” and “I’m so nervous I don’t know what to expect”.  I have a new found empathy with Dentists!

There is no need to make Performance Reviews scary.  They are a great opportunity to sit down with team members and let them know they are appreciated for all their hard work.  It is also an opportunity to help them reflect on their future development, especially if the Company can assist them with training courses, mentoring or working on stretching projects.

There are different schools of thought on whether Performance Reviews should be linked to pay.  On one hand, if employees are concerned with justifying why they should get a pay increase, they may not be honest about their development needs.  On the other hand, if an employee has met all their Key Performance Indicators for the year and you tell them what a great job they are doing, they may expect a monetary reward.  Each company will need to make their own decision, the important thing is to communicate this to the staff.

What should a performance review contain?

We often recommend that you ask employees to fill in a questionnaire with this information and let you have it before the meeting.  That way they are prepared for what will be covered in the meeting.

Remember, the most important thing is the conversation you are having.  Don’t stick slavishly to the form if more important topics come up.

If you have concerns about someone’s performance, don’t wait until the review to let them know – you need to give them feedback during the year.  If you do need to give examples of where someone is not meeting expectations, think about some examples of where they have fallen short, and also what they could do to improve.

After the meeting you should record the main points, particularly what you will be expecting from the employee during the next year, and make sure the employee receives a copy.

Following this simple formula keeps the Performance Review positive and supportive, and there should be no need for anesthetic or laughing gas!

Jayne Griffiths is Managing Director of My HR Adviser, a Human Resources Consultancy based in West Leederville, Perth.  Jayne and her team of HR advisers work with small and medium sized businesses, offering them fully outsourced HR services including legal compliance and best practice; handling performance issues and increasing employee engagement.  

Visit for a FREE copy of our Guide to Managing Staff

1300 466 947


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