Meet the employee — meet in a private location where you can sit across from the employee. Be appropriately sociable and explain the purpose and benefit of the performance review. Sprinkle positive observations and comments with those that represent constructive criticism. Probe the employee to ensure a good understanding of your comments.
Confront performance issues — if a review will be challenging due to performance problems, be sure to write yourself a script to follow. Invite another supervisor to attend with you if possible. Think about the employee ahead of time and determine if you feel the lack of success is due to ability, attitude or a lack of opportunity. Identify one issue at a time and ask the employee for their thoughts on the issue. Outline your expectations and specifically describe the work behaviour that must be exhibited in the future.
Establish a feedback cycle — the goal of any performance management system is to help employees become and stay successful. Thus, while you will not have had a great deal of exposure to the employees you are now supervising, be sure to set up a continuous feedback cycle. This will promote ongoing communication and enable you to understand personal motivations, work styles, individual capabilities and to deal with any issues that arise.
Brush up on your coaching skills — as a supervisor, your role now is to coach and mentor your staff to excel at their job. This requires developing good listening and feedback skills, developing the art of questioning as well as the art of effectively challenging employees by identifying contradictions and helping them to see a different perspective.
Explore developmental opportunities — your focus needs to be on assisting the employee to create success. Therefore, explore strategies such as stretch assignments, job shadowing in order to learn a new skill, secondments, job rotation and/or registration in a formal training program.
Demonstrate courage — performance management is not simply a one-time supervisory task. In fact, as a supervisor, you need to be monitoring performance every day. And this means confronting unacceptable behaviour immediately, correcting and guiding behaviour and dealing with issues at the earliest possible date.
Performance management will more than likely continue to be one of the most challenging of human resource tasks and it is definitely not something that can be learned overnight.
However, as a new supervisor, focus on building your skills, engage in self-reflection immediately following each employee meeting and ask for help from senior managers when you need it. Overall, focus on building positive relationships with your employees so that problems simply become learning experiences for all concerned. On the other hand, be sure to show personal courage when difficult steps must be taken.