Performance reviews should be an anticipated event for your employees, a time to discuss the previous year's achievements, future career directions and bonuses.
They should not be dreaded obligations that hang over IT employees' heads like impending doom.
Doug Berg, founder and chief techie at techies.com, in Minneapolis, has managed his own recruiting firm and has years of experience in the area of IT career planning.
He outlines a few steps that an IT manager can take to facilitate successful and fruitful performance reviews.
Often IT workers are simultaneously involved in several unrelated projects: lending a hand in software development, design and networking during the course of a day.
Performance reviews can be an opportunity to organise and get employees to focus on one area.
"Keeping IT employees on a loose leash without direction is a sure way to ensure their departure to another company."
Make a sandwich
Constructive criticism should be in the middle of the interview, with positive reinforcement again at the end. Berg believes the "good, bad, good" sandwich format is a sound outline for conducting your performance reviews.
Comparisons always should be based on an employee's past performance, and comparisons never should be made to co-workers.
Encourage your employee to choose a mentor and try to pair them on projects.
Look in the mirror
Performance reviews should never be a surprise event. Have your employee prepare further for the review by filling out an informal self-review, complete with future goals.
This helps in persuading an employee to think about him-or herself objectively, and it also aids you by identifying the skills and tools he or she wants to develop, so you can assign future projects that reflect those desires as much as possible.