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HR Focus: ​​Why your next performance chat will define your businesses retention

  • Publish Date: Posted 11 months ago
  • Author:by Jodie Fox

Attracting and retaining talent is a challenge for most companies. When someone leaves a company, there are greater costs than lost revenue and business opportunities. It costs time to recruit, interview and onboard someone. It can cost team morale, too, when a highly valued team member leaves.

So, it is no surprise that most businesses are looking at ways to improve their staff retention strategy. However, one option that is often overlooked is performance management—in particular, the performance conversation. Performance Reviews are designed to discuss an employee's work performance, accomplishments, areas for improvement, and career development.

The outcome of these performance chats can often have a direct impact on an employee's job retention. This is because these discussions often influence decisions related to promotions, raises, job assignments, and even continuation of employment. Positive performance chats that highlight an employee's contributions and growth can lead to job security and advancement opportunities. On the other hand, negative or subpar performance feedback might raise concerns about an employee's future with the company.


Conducting a successful performance review is a critical task that requires effective communication and the ability to provide valuable feedback.

Here are some tips to help you successfully conduct your next performance review:

  • Prepare in Advance:

    • Review the employee's performance data, goals, accomplishments, and feedback- from throughout the review period.

  • Choose the Right Time and Place:

    • Schedule the review in a private and comfortable environment where both you and the employee can focus without interruptions.

  • Set a Positive Tone:

    • Start the review with a positive tone to put the employee at ease and create an open atmosphere for discussion.

  • Acknowledge Achievements First:

    • Begin by discussing the employee's accomplishments, strengths, and positive contributions. This sets a positive context for the conversation.

  • Offer Specific Feedback:

    • Provide concrete examples of the employee's performance, highlighting both areas of excellence and areas that need improvement.

  • Use the "SBI" Model:

    • Structure your feedback using the "Situation-Behaviour-Impact" model. Describe the situation, detail the specific behaviour, and explain the impact it had on the team or organisation.

  • Encourage Self-Assessment:

    • Ask the employee to self-assess their performance before you share your evaluation. This encourages reflection and fosters a two-way dialogue.

  • Discuss Areas for Improvement:

    • Address any areas where the employee's performance fell short or where improvement is needed. Provide constructive feedback and suggest solutions.

  • Set Clear and Achievable Goals:

    • Collaboratively set goals for the upcoming review period. Ensure these goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).

  • Link Goals to Performance:

    • Align the set goals with the employee's role, responsibilities, and the company's objectives to emphasise their importance.

  • Provide Growth Opportunities:

    • Discuss opportunities for skill development, training, and career advancement. Show that you are invested in their professional growth.

  • Address Career Aspirations:

    • Discuss the employee's long-term career aspirations and how their current role can contribute to their career path within the organisation.

  • Offer Constructive Criticism Respectfully:

    • Address areas for improvement in a constructive and respectful manner, focusing on behaviour and performance rather than personal traits.

  • Use "I" Statements:

    • When giving feedback, use "I" statements to express your observations and feelings. This reduces defensiveness and promotes understanding.

  • Listen Actively:

    • Remember to listen attentively without interrupting. Give the employee an opportunity to respond, share their perspective, and ask questions.

  • Discuss Compensation and Benefits:

    • If relevant, discuss salary adjustments, promotions, or other benefits that might be tied to performance outcomes.

  • End on a Positive Note:

    • Conclude the review by reiterating your confidence in the employee's potential, expressing appreciation for their contributions, and offering support for their growth.

  • Document the Discussion:

    • Document the key points of the review, including the employee's goals and any action items. Share a written summary with the employee afterward.

  • Encourage Ongoing Communication:

    • Emphasise that the review is just one part of an ongoing conversation about performance and growth.

  • Follow Up:

    • Schedule follow-up meetings to track progress on goals, provide additional support, and ensure that the employee is on the right track.


Remember that the performance review is an opportunity for growth and development. Approach the conversation with empathy, respect, and a focus on helping the employee succeed in their role and contribute effectively to the organisation.

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