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How to Have an Effective Performance Discussion

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In my decade long career at a major financial services firm, I had the opportunity to be both the giver and recipient of formal performance feedback. I also coached managers and analysts on how to effectively have these difficult conversations. Here are my tips to a manager for having an effective performance discussion. Next week’s blog will be aimed to the employee receiving the feedback.

• You shouldn’t be sharing anything NEW during a formal performance discussion; a good manager should give ongoing, informal feedback to their employees at all times (outside of the formal feedback discussion)
• The manager’s expectations should always be set in advance of any formal performance discussion. When the employee begins working for you, or when the new calendar year begins, you should share the expectations with him/her
• Same goes for the employee’s goals. These should be outlined well in advance so that you can measure the employee’s accomplishments against these specific goals. You should work with the employee to establish these measurable goals
• The performance review should be a conversation. Check to make sure your employee understands your comments and see if he/she has questions or feedback. It’s important that this is discussion and not just you talking at your employee
• Your attitude and delivery of the feedback is critical with how the information will be received by your employee. Stay positive and suggest ways on how you can work with the employee on strengthening their areas of development
• And remember…provide examples. You can’t give feedback without meaningful examples to support your thoughts. An employee will want to hear that you recognize their hard work, but they will also want to know about the specific ways they may have fallen short in some areas

-Allison Kolmer, Drum Associates

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