There is no such thing as a perfect team of employees. At times, most managers will be tasked with having to give a negative employee review to someone under their purview. While the experience is rarely pleasant, it doesn’t have to be difficult. By managing the process properly, and avoiding some common mistakes1, both you and the employee can leave the meeting without losing any respect along the way.

If you are wondering what you should do when you have to give a bad employee review, here are some tips to keep the process professional and constructive.

Don’t Limit Feedback to the Review

One of the more common errors managers make when providing feedback is sitting on the information until the regularly scheduled review meeting. If the employee wasn’t informed of issues as they occurred, it often feels as though they are being blindsided when they sit down to discuss their performance. And, if the employee normally receives glowing feedback, it can be hard for them to absorb.

Instead of compiling a list of mistakes to present during the employee review, make employees aware of performance issues when they arise. Then, they have a chance to improve quickly thanks to your early intervention.

If they fail to develop after initially being informed, then it is entirely appropriate to revisit the issue in this more formal setting. That way, you can document the feedback officially and use it to guide future actions.

Keep It Professional

An employee review shouldn’t focus on the personal side. It needs to focus solely on work performance and how their contributions help or hinder the organization’s goals. That doesn’t mean discussions about things like attitude or attire are off limits, just that the topics must be approached based on professional standards and not personal preferences.

It is also critical to make sure the bad review doesn’t come off as an attack. Focus on being diplomatic and keep the tone neutral. Then, it will be easier for them to hear the information without automatically getting defensive.

Have an Action Plan

A bad employee review won’t help the worker improve if there isn’t a clear path to future success. For any negative point that is discussed, there needs to be a plan to help them improve. Create specific strategies that give them an opportunity to bring their skills up to par and have a conversation regarding these expectations to ensure they understand the purpose of the plan.

Giving an employee a bad review and then leaving them to their own devices rarely leads to success. Instead, outline exactly what needs to happen so that their performance can improve and collaborate on a reasonable timeline for each action step to be completed.

It is also appropriate to include any consequences associated with not completing the steps outlined in the plan. If there will be consequences, make sure to describe them in writing and have the employee read them as part of the employee review process. Then, store them with any other documentation associated with the review in the context of the associated formal process.

Plan to Follow-Up

Once a plan is in place, immediately schedule a time to follow up. This helps reaffirm the timeline and clarifies when the topic will be revisited. Not only will this keep the employee on track, but it also ensures you will be apprised of their progress on a regular basis.

The timing of any follow-up is often dependent on the nature of what needs to be done. In some cases, a quick weekly or monthly check-in may be appropriate for items that can be easily corrected. More complex tasks may need more time, making a quarterly progress review more reasonable.

As each follow-up meeting takes place, follow a process similar to a formal annual review. Document any forward progress that has been made, examining areas of improvement and confirm which action steps are next. Then, schedule the next follow-up meeting accordingly.

Work With a Top Staffing Agency in Atlanta

By following the tips above, you can provide negative feedback in a way that supports the employee’s future growth and improvement, hopefully turning a poor performer into one of your top employees. If you are looking for more information about finding a new member for your team, the professionals at Employ Partners have the expertise to help. Contact us today to work with a leader in staffing services in Atlanta.

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