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Should I do an annual performance review on my employees?

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Question: Should I do an annual performance review on my employees?
I'm a new manager. My boss wants me to do the annual review for the person who reports to me. Should I do it?
Answer: Yes, if your boss asks you to do it, you should.

First find out from your boss whether this is company policy or if you have some latitude about how and when you do performance reviews of your employees.

Company Policy

Assuming it is required by company policy, go ahead and do it. Your boss or your Human Resources (HR) department may be able to give you some guidelines on the company policy regarding completing these reviews. They usually are very formal and, since they are done annually, very infrequent. As a result they are usually pretty worthless as a management tool.

Your Review

Be as honest and fair in your review as you can. Keep your comments to facts that you know. Don't repeat in this review anything you may have heard about the individual from others unless you can support the comment with specifics, including who told you.

Alternatives

Once you get the required annual performance review out of the way, start working on less formal and more frequent reviews of each employee who reports to you. Whenever you assign a task to an employee, make sure they know what's required, when it is due, how it will be evaluated, and what help is available to them if needed. When the task as been completed, review it with the employee. Let them know what they did right and where they could have done better and why. Keep track of these task-related reviews and when it comes time for a formal annual review, neither you nor the employee will be surprised.
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