Mr. Strobel came to my office door one day and announced, “Mr. Elmore, I’ll meet you tomorrow at 9 am in the conference room for your annual performance review.” I agreed, but I then thought, “How can he do my review? I don’t even work with him and have hardly ever had a conversation with him.” Regardless, at 9 am the next day, there I was in the conference room to meet with Strobel. After greeting me, he said this: “Mr. Elmore, I’ve got two things to say to you. You need to go to charm school and learn how to treat people. Also, there’s a book you should read. It’s called the Bible.”

Stunned silence followed. I could think of nothing to say. After a few seconds, Strobel said, “Mr. Elmore, I told you those things not to embarrass you but because someone had to say them.”

That was not a typical review. I’ll never forget it though.

Unfortunately, most performance reviews are forgettable. I’ve had many reviews since, but they were done just to check a box for HR. Most performance reviews, if done, are somewhat unknown territory that both parties dread. They are often ambiguous, uncertain assessments against unknown standards.

Some of you reading this have to do performance reviews for your human resources process. Some of you do them to have something with which to offer feedback to your team. Some of them only do them when there is an issue to address. They’re hardly ever positive, but they can be.

Here are 4 Tips to Making Performance Reviews Successful.

1) The best performance review is one that happens automatically every day through your team scoreboard.

You should be using a team scoreboard that shows the individual results for each team member. It should have the relevant KPIs for your company and industry. It should be updated at least once a week. It should also show performance against minimum standards and SMARTS goals.

Related Course: Managers Series

2) Make sure the team members know what is being measured and reviewed.

Your team members should know exactly what they must do to win and meet their personal and company performance goals. A checklist that matches their job description can be very useful. This allows them to know what they are being graded on for the performance period. This should be included in their handbook, so they are aware well before the performance review is scheduled.

3) Always have the team member do a self-assessment of their performance before the review.

This gives them a chance to have their say. It can also help clarify their understanding of their performance compared to your understanding. This self-assessment will also help you to see where your team member is confident, and where they may need additional encouragement.

4) Never tie a performance review to a pay raise.

If you do reviews on a regular basis and tie pay raises to a performance review, the team member will expect a pay raise every time they have a positive review. This may not make financial or management sense at the time. Reviews should be done at a regular interval; quarterly reviews are a great way to keep employees on track to hit their goals. While pay raises should be reserved for when they make sense based on performance and company profitability.

Performance reviews can be a positive tool for your company. Make sure to use the tips above to ensure a purposeful and positive review. The best review is always the ongoing, automatic review that happens with your team scoreboard.