Performance evaluations are known to be dreaded by one and all, but are generally seen as a necessary evil in the grand scheme of any workplace. Despite their terrible reputation, performance evaluations can be helpful tools if used properly. The following are a few tips that can help you and your team to get the most from your reviews – and maybe even dread them a bit less.

1. Utilize HRIS Performance Tracking Options

If you have HR software, you likely have access to performance tracking options. This helpful feature may allow you, your managers, and your HR professionals to attach notes to employee files regarding performance, attendance issues, any feedback that has been given, and relevant KPIs. Attaching this information to employee files in the database can help you to generate more accurate evaluations.

2. Plan and Schedule Performance Review Meetings

Performance review meetings are often given at a moment’s notice at the last minute when they are due. There is value in informing employees of when their meeting will take place and what the meeting will entail, however. Knowing exactly when to expect their review and having an idea of what the meeting will be about can reduce the anxiety surrounding it and improve the effectiveness of meetings.

3. Have a Conversation, Don’t Just Lecture

A performance evaluation meeting is an excellent opportunity for you to find out what your employees’ goals, ideas, and pet peeves are. In some cases you may glean insights into what your development plan for employees should be; in other cases you may learn valuable information that can help you improve your operation. Take the time to listen as well as speak.

4. Create Action Plans

Creating an action plan based off of the performance evaluation is a way to shift the focus of a performance meeting from the past to the present and future. A good action plan will take elements of the performance evaluation into consideration and specify dates for different goals.

Action plans should be created for the employees and the managers giving the evaluations. Manager goals may include following up with employees on their goals and addressing various operational issues that employees have specified.

5. Follow-Up Faithfully

One of the best ways to reduce the effectiveness of your performance evaluations is to forget to follow up with the items discussed during the review when it’s time. It’s easy to get sucked into daily operations and miss the date, so set an alert through your HR software or otherwise make sure that the date is highlighted. Following up with goals and other issues will help to ensure that everyone takes the evaluations seriously.

Performance evaluations generally don’t need a major overhaul, simple alterations such as these will help to increase effectiveness and make everyone more optimistic about the process itself. Regularly discussing employee performance in more informal settings will also help to dial down the apprehension surrounding evaluations, as employees will know what to expect.