Employee performance reviews are an essential tool for evaluating job performance, identifying areas of improvement, and fostering professional growth. However, a less-than-stellar review can demotivate employees and harm their confidence. As HR experts, we are responsible for guiding our clients in navigating challenging situations like these. Here is when we will explore practical steps to help managers turn a disparaging review into a productive performance action plan.   



Approach It with Empathy   

It’s essential to approach the review empathetically, recognizing that receiving negative feedback can be difficult. The goal is to provide constructive criticism that is specific, measurable, and actionable. Giving feedback in a professional and empathetic manner is vital and can prevent your employees from feeling criticized. Additionally, consider highlighting your employee’s strengths and accomplishments to create a balanced conversation.   


Identify Specific Areas of Improvement   

In a bad review, your goal as a manager is to identify specific areas of improvement. A terrific way to identify areas of improvement is through an annual performance review tool (APR) such as ClearCompany, which streamlines applicant tracking, performance management, employee engagement, and analytics/reporting. Providing vague feedback can make your employees feel lost and unsure of how to proceed. For example, rather than saying, “You need to improve communication,” be specific about what changes should be made to improve communication. Providing specific examples and a clear-cut direction on how to improve creates a more productive conversation.   


Provide Resources and Support   

When setting goals, ensure your employees have the resources or support they need to succeed. This can include coaching or training sessions, mentorship programs, or access to additional company resources. Giving your employees access to these tools will demonstrate the company’s investment in their career development and improve their chances of success.   


Follow Up and Recognize Progress   

Performance improvement is a continuous process. Regular check-ins will keep your employees engaged and motivated to meet their goals. Additionally, recognizing progress and accomplishments can reinforce positive behavior and encourage employees to continue to grow and develop.   



Turning a bad review into an actionable performance plan is difficult. Still, it is necessary to enable your employees to get back on track, enhance their confidence, and improve their job performance. At AlphaStaff, we provide valuable performance management solutions and APR tool integration to help our clients navigate employee performance reviews and help them create successful performance management processes. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business thrive.