Tips for a Successful Performance Review Season

Manager TLDR – Issue 30

Employee Review Questions

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Have you started preparing for your team’s performance reviews yet? 🤔

In a recent interview with Lenny Rachitsky (former Product Lead at Airbnb), we learned that managers should spend 3-5 hours preparing for these important conversations:

“This might be the most important meeting you have with your report every year, because it so profoundly impacts their career, which impacts their life,” said Lenny.

We’ve compiled the following resources to help you make the most out of this process…

🤓 End of Year Review Tips for Employees and Managers | (11 min read) | Fellow Blog

TLDR: The purpose of an end of year review is to go over your direct report’s achievements, goals, opportunities, and ideas for the upcoming year. Here are 3 (out of 6) best practices mentioned in this article:

1. Give positive feedback first: When you give positive feedback, you teach employees which kinds of behaviours are valued.

2. Set goals and new challenges: You want your employees to look forward to these new challenges, so be sure to take a positive approach to goal-setting.

3. Ask for 360-degree feedback: Multiple sources of feedback give a 3D view of an employee so they can better understand their development gaps.

🎯 The Power of Performance Reviews: Use This System to Become a Better Manager(20 min read) | First Round Review

TLDR: During his time at Airbnb, Lenny Rachitsky developed a performance management framework that enabled him to systematically grow junior ICs into star performers, and build one of the best performing teams at the company. Here’s a recap of the three-step process:

1. Prepare: Gather direct feedback from your report and from their coworkers, capture their accomplishments, identify 1-2 development areas (with examples, concrete suggestions, and what “killing it” would look like), and share a timeline for their next career milestone.

2. Deliver: Prep the narrative, break the ice, walk through the development areas, share compensation, create a follow-up action plan, and leave time for discussion.

3. Follow-up: Schedule a one-hour monthly coaching chat, review the action items together, and capture examples of what’s going well and isn’t throughout the year.

⚡️ 42 Employee Review Questions Every Manager Should Ask | (7 min read) | Fellow Blog

TLDR: To obtain even more valuable insights during a performance evaluation, you can ask targeted and specific questions, concerning performance, important goals and aspirations. We compiled a list of 42 questions you can use to get inspired. Here are our top three:

1. What accomplishments this quarter are you most proud of?

2. What 2-3 things will you focus on in the next quarter to help you develop?

3. What’s something I could do differently to better manage the team?

✍️ A Letter to My Team for Review Season | (4 min read) | Camille Fournier

TLDR: If you’re looking for a way to explain the benefits of performance reviews to your team, this letter by Camille Fournier (Managing Director at Two Sigma and author of The Manager’s Path) might be a good place to start! Here are our three favourite takeaways, which you can share with your team before the Performance Review season starts:

1. Self-promotion feels bad to some people, but it is important to learn the skill enough to write about your accomplishments.

2. One of the most important goals of this exercise is for us to think about our company values and to reinforce those values throughout the team. 

3. Do you want to speak at conferences? Start managing people? This is an opportunity to make a plan about how you’re going to achieve what you want.

Your team will thank you.

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