As hard as preparing a performance review can be, if you have a bad apple in the bunch, you need to make sure he realizes he is the bad apple. If he disagrees with various comments--and be prepared for that--you can always implement a time for questions from the employee regarding his review. Or, you can offer up suggestions on how you can help him to improve and see if he seems receptive to new ideas.
For other employees that fall on the average line, often turning negative words into more positive words—or encouraging words--is your best bet.
If an employee has received documented warnings repeatedly, make sure to include comments regarding those warnings and converse with the employee during the review process to make your point—and to let them know their job may be in jeopardy if no improvement is seen.
None of your employees will ever be 100% the way you want them to be—all the time, so don’t expect it. On the other side of that coin, a negative performance review can be a useful tool in making an average employee a great employee. When considering how to write a negative performance review, make a list of the employee’s strengths and weaknesses along with personality traits. It’s also important to make a list of adjectives that describe the employee to gain better insight on where she may need improvement.
A person that wants to improve, move up, and keep her job will indeed be responsive to internal suggestions on improving. While she may seem distraught about the bad review at first, if you offer up assistance or ideas on how she can succeed, she’ll realize the review is being used as a tool to help her be a better employee.
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