How to Conduct Effective Performance Reviews for Your Accounting Staff

Performance reviews have the potential to help your accounting employees be as successful as possible. However, performance reviews may fail to make an impact if thoughtful feedback is not delivered clearly. Conduct effective performance reviews for your accounting staff with these tips:

Don’t Let it Be a Surprise

The best practice for providing helpful employee feedback is to address it in real-time. Don’t keep any feedback, positive or negative, to yourself and wait for an official performance review to discuss it. Ideally, ensure you don’t let any topics come as a surprise to your accounting employees. Otherwise, you risk them being flustered, confused, or defensive during the meeting rather than it being a productive discussion. 

Record Specific Examples

Vague feedback is worse than no feedback at all. As you’re preparing for your performance review meetings with your accounting employees, take some notes on specific examples to support any feedback you provide. For example, if you’re offering constructive criticism for any area that requires improvement, cite a previous instance in which said behavior occurred so both you and your employee are on the same page. 

Make it a Two-Way Conversation

The most effective performance reviews are ones in which there is a back-and-forth dialogue, rather than your accounting employees just listening to your feedback with no input. As you deliver your feedback, ask if they have any questions or comments so they can feel invested in the process and see it as beneficial to their professional development, rather than feeling chastised. For example, you can request their ideas on solutions for challenges rather than just immediately telling them what you think they should do. 

Balance the Feedback 

The aim for performance reviews is for your employees to gain a nuanced view of where to focus their efforts; therefore, it’s crucial to balance the feedback you give. If you are too uncomfortable to dive into areas that require improvement and mainly focus on their strengths, they won’t be able to address and overcome their challenges, and concentrating too much on the negative will leave them feeling demoralized instead of motivated. Ensure you devote equal time to both areas during your discussion. 

Communicate Clearly

It is crucial to make any expectations regarding the next steps for improvement or continued growth clear so your employees understand what they need to do going forward and how success will be measured. Communicate clearly what you want to see from your employee’s future performance and in what timeline so they will know where they stand. 

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