Better Management Preparation for the ‘feared’ ‘One on One’ Review…

Many of our clients hate the ‘performance review’ for a number of reasons.

They don’t really have any OBJECTIVE data to evaluate the employee’s performance on
They haven’t really seen or spoken to the employee for a number of weeks/ months
They hate to be put in the position where they have to give their opinions to a person when they don’t know how they will react.
You can take the heat out of the situation though, in preparation for the review, by sending the person to be reviewed a few questions and asking for the answers to be returned prior to the review date.

This gives you, the reviewer a clearer insight into how that person is feeling and their views/ opinions allow you to assess where you are both in accord (which will not be difficult to handle) and where there is a difference between how you see it versus how they see it. You therefore know that it is where you have a considerable difference of opinion that you need to have your ‘case’ very well prepared with back up information and facts to support what you say.

Here are some useful questions to send out and get answers to, pre-review time, which will give you more chance of getting the review right and probably help you retain some good people who might otherwise have been ‘eyeing the door’:

  1. In what way would you like to develop and grow within the business? From the response you get you should see the career development opportunities they seek — whether that’s more help, more training, increased responsibility or more challenging projects. Good people are far more likely to stay if they can see that they are growing and developing.
  1. What do you feel is the key purpose of your role within the company? Here you are looking to find out what is meaningful and motivational for them and then can see how this can tap into the values of the business.
  1. How can I help you achieve what you are looking to achieve here?  Make sure that you respond to the request that comes back positively and make the help requested happen. Devoting your efforts to helping them in line with such requests is hugely motivational for the employee and in getting them to feel fulfilled.
  1. What are we currently not doing as a company that you feel we should do? A great way to get them to feel part of the company’s future. Asking what they feel the company could be doing better — what market opportunities it might be overlooking, how to leverage resources more effectively, etc. — conveys to them, very clearly, that their thoughts and opinions matter. Again, hugely motivational.
  1. What factors, if any, are preventing you from doing your best work every day? This question and the response you get will allow you to determine whether the employee is optimising their strengths. You could follow up with, “What part of your role would you reduce/eliminate if you could?” Never make promises but by you knowing which aspects of their job are the least and the most enjoyable will help you make any necessary changes to ensure they stay with you and don’t join a key competitor

Using these questions will allow you, the manager, to prepare better and far more effectively for the review. You will have valuable information that will enable you to prepare a path forward for your business and the individual, that retains the type of talent that your business needs to move forward in the strongest way possible…

If you need some help in getting your motivation right and in keeping your best people, get in touch with us at or call us on 01162325231 for a free/ no obligation discussion.

The Tinderbox Team