5 Ways To Make The Annual Review Process Less Painful

By Alan C. Fox | Fast Company


I’ve supervised hundreds of employees, and I can say without a doubt that one of the most difficult parts of being a manager is the dreaded annual review process.

To take the fear out of this necessary process, I’ve developed a unique approach over the years that has helped me transform this annual event from one that I loathe to one that I look forward to.

Here are five actions that can help you take the “dreaded” out of annual review:


Why should we think of the review as being only about the employee? Your employees are your coworkers. Every one is a crew member on the same ship, headed toward the same destination, and seeking the best possible performance for the company.

The most important shift I’ve made with my annual review has been making it a review of my own performance as well as my employees. I always ask them how I, or the other managers, can assist them to perform better.

If my employees aren’t performing as well as they can, perhaps they lack the proper tools or training. Maybe they don’t feel appreciated and, as a result, are not as involved as they might be.

Tools, training, and the expression of appreciation are the responsibility of the employer, not the employee, and the annual review is a great way to find out how you can do a better job of supporting your team.


Keep your employees up to date on how they are doing during the year, rather than saving up your feedback for the annual review.

Offer approval to encourage them and suggest course corrections to help them focus on what needs to be changed. If you have properly helped your coworkers throughout the year there will be no unpleasant surprises for either of you during the annual review.


When it’s time for the annual review, make sure to conduct it within a week or two of your employees’ anniversary date. It’s not fair to your team to delay information which is important to them and to keep them walking on eggshells, waiting for the knife to drop. And you don’t want to skulk about the office hiding from someone.

Read the rest of the article here.