Employer Guide | How To Carry Out Effective Employee Reviews
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How to carry out Effective Employee Reviews

29 June 2021

Annual and mid-year reviews are key opportunities for the overall success of your organisation. We focus on the issues and steps involved in these meetings, and how to ensure they are both constructive and productive.

The annual review gives you the opportunity to take stock of your employees' successes, objectives, and needs. In difficult periods like the current health crisis, the mid-year review, usually occurring before or after summer, is an ideal way to remain connected to your staff and keep track of projects that are either ongoing or at the half-way stage. This important time spent with your employee allows you to address numerous issues, such as the current situation, possibilities for change, and new objectives.

Your employees' expectations for their annual review

TThe onset of the health crisis has resulted in new expectations among employees. According to a study carried out in 2020, 31% of those interviewed have more expectations than in previous years. Furthermore, more than three in 10 employees feel unable to express themselves freely during work reviews, while 70% feel that these opportunities for discussion are not sufficiently followed up by concrete actions.1.

Faced with new working patterns and different organisational structures, employees' expectations have changed, and they want their managers to adapt in assessments, feedback and annual reviews. Today, employee demands go beyond the traditional subjects of career development, salary and improving skills. Their expectations now tend towards quality of working life, the place of the individual in the organisation, or professional aspirations1. Empathy and sincerity are also key soft skills to be developed during interviews that are now based on listening and collaboration.

Further reading: Health crisis: a context that transforms the reflexes required for remote management

Structure precisely for an effective assessment

An annual or mid-year review should ideally always follow the same pattern:

  • Analysis of the current situation (what works well, what could be improved),
  • Discussion on possibilities for change (what needs to change and why),
  • New objectives (and how to implement them).

Following these steps will provide structure while acknowledging this is a time for discussion during which your employee will also express themselves. To ensure your employee is ready for the next meeting, make sure that it is planned in advance. It is a good idea to provide an outline of the review ahead of time, so the employee has time to prepare. Having the employee carry out a self-assessment prior to the review will help both of you to align goals and establish what needs improvement during the meeting.

After giving in-depth feedback on your employee's performance, it is also the time to discuss skills and knowledge development by proposing training to help your employee develop and progress.Finally, the annual review is also the time when financial topics (bonus, pay rise) or major changes (a new role, promotion) can be raised.

A successful assessment boosts motivation

Regular dialogue between a manager and their employee develops a relationship based on trust. Your employee will be more inclined to communicate if you are accessible, available, and willing to listen. Reviews are also the perfect chance for them to express what is not working from their perspective. Your job is to propose solutions that are appropriate to the situation to reassure and encourage them. During the review, your employee may also wish to go over the assignments they have carried out and the objectives they have attained. As a manager, you should encourage them, congratulate them and thank them. It is also the right time to share good news such as a bonus, a reward, additional paid leave, or a pay rise. They will leave the meeting even more motivated and satisfied.

A survey published in April 2020 revealed that 24% of the employees questioned experienced a drop in professional motivation within the first weeks of lockdown2. Since the beginning of the health crisis, working habits and methods have been turned upside down and employee motivation may have suffered. As well as assessing work quality, objectives attained, and potential improvements, the review is also an opportunity to check on your employees' well-being, show that you are willing to listen, and that you recognise the work they have accomplished. Ask them specific questions: how are they dealing with working from home? Do they need more resources? How are they managing their workload? Being ready to listen and planning individual reviews is just as important and vital in this context for the well-being and fulfilment of everyone.

Further reading: Boredom, burnout – how to protect your staff


1Survey carried out by Welcome to the Jungle among 1,012 employees in France between 27 October and 9 November 2020
2Barometer "Impact de la crise sanitaire sur la santé psychologique des salariés" [the impact of the health crisis on the psychological health of employees]carried out online by Opinion Way for Empreinte Humaine from 31 March to 8 April 2020 with a representative sample of 2,003 employees constituted using the quota method for sex, age, industry, type of employer and company size criteria.