Coaching effective employee reviews is about overcoming the tendency to create dependence on managers, rather creating independence in the individual employee.

How much of the employee review time is taken up by the manager doing the talking? One of the challenges of employee reviews is that it too often is focused on managers talking and not enough time is spent by the employee brainstorming. Be sure to include the 12 most important questions for an employee review.

The most effective employee reviews are coaching sessions dedicated to setting a course to take performance to the next level. Here are 4 tips to develop more powerful customer service employee reviews, these apply to individuals in any profession.

1. Communicate what will be discussed during employee reviews.

Set the right expectation. Let team members know what performance aspects will be considered during the employee review. It’s difficult to prepare and respond to review items when you were not aware that it was even being considered. Backup all claims with documentation, show examples, show statistics, but focus on trends rather than individual numbers.

Set the expectations and encourage employees to prepare ahead of the employee review.

2. Make employee reviews about performance, not personality.

Remove personal feeling from evaluation, but not the actual review. Performance evaluation has to be objective, but you’ll need personal relationships to build up the employee and coach that employee to better performance. Some of your people you won’t like, but they’ll be outstanding performers. Others you’ll like, but are sub-par performers.

Ultimately, everyone is a professional, and as such, they deserve accurate performance feedback to improve their work performance.

3. Get employee feedback from the good and the bad.

Listen to what team members about their performance. Encourage them to talk about what’s good and what’s bad. Both will offer better insight into how your team members are performing and how performance can be improved. In both good and bad feedback you’ll find gems to make your overall team better.

4. Employee reviews is an opportunity to coach, not complain.

Effective employee reviews aren’t done annually or semi-annually. Even if the actual formal corporate recorded review is done at these key times, your real employee review should be done much more frequently than that. Make it a monthly meeting, if possible, even weekly or every other week. You’ll need time with the employee in order to build the relationship where the employee is comfortable openly discussing performance and behavior. That doesn’t just happen meeting once each year.

At each meeting should come away with a plan in motion to improve the employee’s performance. Some that you can measure and follow up on during the week or at your next weekly or monthly meeting.

Struggling team members need to know that they are struggling. They need to know where they can improve and they need to be part of the solution to improve their performance. Take action with struggling employees, don’t just wait until formal review time to bring up a problem area. Let them begin working on those challenges and then use the employee review to gauge how they’ve been able to overcome their weaknesses.

More effective employee reviews.

Frequent and consistant employee reviews essential to any great performing team. You can greatly improve your employee reviews by following these key steps.

  1. Communicate what will be discussed.
  2. Make it personal.
  3. Feedback from the good and bad.
  4. Coach, don’t complain.

These steps will ensure that you lay a powerful foundation for effective employee performance reviews.