Conducting An Effective Performance Review Part III – Lead


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Conducting An Effective Performance Review Part III – Lead

Are you using your performance review process to lead your employees?

More Videos:  After the Grid – Now What?Leverage the Power of the Performance-Values Matrix, Developing a Coaching Culture Using Check-InsConducting An Effective Performance Review Part I – Align, Conducting An Effective Performance Review Part II – CoachUsing 360 Degree Feedback to Enhance Your Performance Management Process, The Basics of Effective Meetings


Join Melissa Phillippi for the last part of Conducting an Effective Performance Review.  You’re on the home stretch now! In this video, we will discuss the third element of conducting effective performance reviews, Lead.

There are numerous methods and surveys you can utilize to learn from your employees.  However, we have found that the performance review is one of the BEST ways to gather critical and helpful feedback for the organization, in ALL areas. Watch the video below to explore this further through some best practices.


Welcome to Part 3 of Conducting an Effective Performance Review.  You’re on the home stretch now. In Part 1 we discussed the alignment phase of conducting an effective performance review.  In Part 2 we provided additional insight and best practices on how to best coach your employees during the review. In this video, we will discuss the third element of conducting effective performance reviews, Lead. Group Discussions have been included again for the benefit of your organization’s learning. Please consider pausing the video during these discussion topics to allow for group sharing of experiences and thoughts. Let’s get started.

While I believe many of us are well-intentioned, the majority of organizations are exhausted after performance reviews and Leadership never gets together to review what was learned, and what should be done about it. We will spend so much time and money on marketing research and initiatives, yet we walk right past the $100 bills lying all around us, which is the data supplied by our employees and managers.

I experienced a great example of this while dining at a restaurant on a business trip.  I love eggs, so when I saw a side item listed on the menu for “deviled egg potato salad” I was pumped and asked the waitress about it.  She explained that “Honestly, I don’t recommend it. Everyone that orders it ends up not liking it and not finishing it.” I asked her why it was still on the menu, and if the people in charge were aware.  She answered back that “We don’t have a way to let anyone know. Managers know but they can’t do anything about it.” I was shocked and pressed further, “Don’t they ask you about diners’ experiences, and what they are saying they like, don’t like?”  She answered solemnly, “No.” And that was that.

There are numerous methods and surveys you can utilize to learn from your employees.  However, we have found that the performance review is one of the BEST ways to gather critical and helpful feedback for the organization, in ALL areas. We’ll explore this further through best practices.

Best Practice #1:  Debrief with your Supervisor

As a Manager, you acted as the constant in every performance review meeting you had.  You heard direct from the employees’ mouth what’s working, and what’s not, or at least their perspective about it.  Undoubtedly there were some good ideas that surfaced during your conversations. Hopefully, you took notes along the way to capture these ideas.

Now, your next step should be to schedule a debrief meeting with your supervisor to summarize what you learned, and what action items you feel should be taken. Is this simply a verbal dump of what you recall?  Absolutely not. And in fact, since the accuracy of our recollection decreases within twenty minutes of a conversation, you should document quickly any thoughts that are not captured in the Performance Culture System.

Next, utilize and prepare your reports from within the Performance Culture System. Navigate to your Team’s Past Reviews and apply various filters to help understand where your team is, where they are headed, and what action items you believe will help them reach their goals. One example is to filter by a single employee, noting their trend on the Performance-Values Matrix over time.  Are they moving up and to the right, towards the Star quadrant, in the appropriate amount of time? Are they ready for a promotion, or should they be recognized and rewarded? What about any corrective action that may be needed?

An additional example is to examine your team over time and identify any trends or patterns.  Did that training workshop pay off? Are Potentials moving towards the Star quadrant? Continue to use the filter options to identify any areas of concern and opportunities to capitalize upon.

Group Discussion # 1

  1. Have you ever debriefed with your supervisor, or Senior Leaders, with your team, after performance reviews?  If so, what kinds of things did you learn?

Another report you should review and prepare is your Workplace Satisfaction Report to identify any environmental, policy, or other changes that may be needed in order to increase employee satisfaction, and hopefully engagement and inspiration. Recall the Workplace Satisfaction Report is a unique report that allows you to review employees’ thoughts and feelings, as compared to their performance and cultural fit within your organization.  Reference PCS Training Video M 202: Manager – Workplace Satisfaction for details on how to access this report. So often we administer long, anonymous employee engagement surveys, and then too much time passes before we do anything about the results. To stay competitive and recruit and retain top talent, we must act quickly on real issues, and real issues raised by the employees that are contributing to 80% of our bottom line.  The Workplace Satisfaction Report allows you to review this information and act upon it in a timely manner.

A word of caution here to Managers:  bad data in still results in bad data out.  If your employee answers anything other than the top rating (often “Very Pleased,”) but they have left blank the next question, “What could improve your workplace satisfaction?” do what you can to pull out of them what would cause them to say they were very pleased at work.  I have watched countless employees provide valuable verbal feedback when prodded carefully. It’s there, you just have to dig to uncover it.

If you sense that they are holding back what they really think, lean on the principles outlined in the book Crucial Conversations. Also, consider requesting feedback from them on yourself via our 360-degree feedback tool.  The wise and strong leader is willing to hear and examine any blind spots she may have so that she is not the reason for holding back an employee or the organization from being successful. See PCS Training Video M 302: Manager – 360 Degree Feedback and our PCU Video on Best Practices for 360 Degree Feedback for help with how to utilize this feature.

Group Discussion #2:  

  1. How has data on workplace satisfaction been captured and assessed in the past at your organization?
  2. How timely is the organization’s response to this feedback? What are some examples of how Leadership has listened to employee feedback and responded?
  3. Have you ever used the Workplace Satisfaction Report inside of the Performance Culture System?  If not, should you start?

Best Practice #2:  Senior Leadership Review

Depending on the size of your organization, the debrief with supervisors may need to continue up the chain until all summary feedback reaches Senior Leadership. The Senior Leadership Review should follow the same format as above, with each member reviewing and analyzing his or her team’s performance results and workplace satisfaction data. Then, the team should examine the organization’s performance and workplace satisfaction results as a whole, paying close attention to any trends, patterns, and/or discrepancies in the data.  Remember, splitting your screen in half, or using multiple monitors allows you to visually and quickly spot any trends, such as displaying previous year’s data on the left compared to this year’s data on the right.

After careful presentation and review of each members’ data, clear action items with due dates should be documented and assigned.  It’s one thing to talk about challenges and opportunities, it’s another thing to do something about them. We recommend the use of our Agendas for this meeting, as well as any others where decisions need to be made, and action items documented. See PCS Training Video M 102: Manager – Company Purpose (8 mins) for help with how to use Agendas.

Here are specific questions Senior Leadership should ask and evaluate using the feedback provided from Managers and from the Past Review and Workplace Satisfaction Reports:

  1. Are there individuals we should consider promoting or recognizing and rewarding in some other fashion?
  2. Are there individuals whom we should consider parting ways with?
  3. Are resources being utilized effectively?  Are we getting an ROI on various expenditures or commitments?
  4. What are we doing that we should stop doing immediately?
  5. What are we doing that we should do more of?

Group Discussion #3:  full screen

  1. Has Senior Leadership ever evaluated the organization in a manner such as this?  If so, what worked well, and what didn’t?
  2. As Senior Leaders are you committed to leading by participating in this review and debrief?  If so, consider putting a date on the calendar to make it happen. A goal without a deadline is just a dream.

Thank you for watching Part 3 on conducting an effective performance review.  None of these topics have been complicated, but they can be very hard to put into practice on a regular basis. Remember, the truly “great” organizations are ones that do the hard work, consistently, even when they don’t feel like it.  Feedback can sting, but paired with the right data, it has the power to propel your organization forward, and help you achieve the mission and vision you’ve set out to accomplish.