The HR Guide to Performance Review Training

Having an effective performance review process is extremely important. It encourages employees to focus on their growth and performance, but it can increase their engagement at work too. They’re able to reflect on their performance and talk about challenges with management. It makes employees feel like a valued member of the team.

That said, you get out of the performance review process what you put into it. To see the benefits of performance reviews, take the time to conduct performance review training. 

What is performance review training, and how do you do it?

Keep reading to learn more about performance review training. We’ll even discuss performance management training examples that you can use in your organization.

Using performance management software can make reviews easier for your managers.Learn More

What Is Performance Review Training?

Performance review training is also known as performance appraisal training. It’s a training process that teaches managers how to give effective performance reviews. Managers learn how the process unfolds and they’re empowered to open up meaningful dialogues with employees.

HR is uniquely positioned to provide performance review training to managers. They have a big-picture view of how the business operates. This helps ensure that performance reviews are consistent across the organization.

Is Performance Review Training the Same as Performance Review Calibration?

Performance review training is not the same as performance review calibration.

Performance review calibration ensures every employee is measured to the same standards. It is especially important when ranking employees against each other. You should also use it when rating employees according to a standard of performance. The process that should unfold within the context of your existing performance review system.

Performance review training goes beyond calibration. It addresses the entire appraisal process as a whole. The training ensures managers use the same standards as everyone else to rate performance. You should also train managers on how to use the scales that are standardized throughout the calibration process. Lastly, the training should address how to give positive feedback, and the best way to give negative feedback.

First-time managers must be trained, but it is also a good idea to retrain managers if you decide to modify your organization’s review process.

The Benefits of Performance Review Training

Performance review training takes time. It can be tempting to skip the process in the name of saving time. Skipping a step could cause you to miss some serious benefits. Performance review training helps:

  • Teach managers how to review appropriately
  • Reduce biases
  • Teache managers how to give constructive criticism
  • Calibrate ratings
  • Improve employee development

Teaches managers how to review appropriately

Performance review training teaches managers how to review employees properly by showing them what to focus on.

Managers should focus on measurable actions instead of arbitrary behaviors. That means focusing on what they do instead of getting stuck on how they appear to behave at work.

For example, being a team player means contributing in meaningful ways to projects and submitting quality work on time. This is different from measuring how social the employee is at lunch.

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Reduces biases 

Without direction, it’s normal for managers to lean on biases throughout the review process, even if they do so unconsciously. You can reduce those biases with a review training process in place.

With scales, employees are rated according to their actions and not how their behavior is perceived. You can encourage reviewers to avoid the mindset that "no one is perfect.” That way, they’ll rate for potential instead of performance. It helps reviewers avoid focusing too much on recent events.

Teaches managers how to give constructive criticism

Employees want negative feedback, but delivery matters.

Criticism can be well-received when it focuses on improvement without dwelling on mistakes.

Ask managers to adopt the mindset of a coach when delivering constructive criticism. This skill can be taught with the right training.

Calibrates ratings

Even the best rating systems are only as good as those using them. With performance review training, you can train managers on exactly what each rating means and when to give it so every employee is rated fairly.

Using performance management software can make reviews easier for your managers.Learn More

Improves employee development

Reviews don’t work if employees don’t take them seriously. Employees won’t find meaning in reviews if they think managers are just “checking a box.”

Trained managers are more likely to deliver feedback that employees receive well employees. When managers know how to give fair feedback, employees are more likely to listen and implement the critiques.

Training Managers on Performance Reviews: Step-By-Step

Ready to get started training your managers to give performance reviews?

Here’s our step-by-step guide to helping managers make the most of their performance reviews.

Steps for creating a performance training system include:

  • Setting your rating scale and performance management process
  • Setting manager expectations on what performance looks like at each rating
  • Teaching managers how to deliver positive and constructive feedback
  • Reminding managers that they should communicate frequently with direct reports
  • Providing conflict resolution techniques

Setting your rating scale and performance management process

Start by setting your rating scales and outlining your performance management process. That includes creating a timeline for reviews, choosing a framework, and knowing what you want to measure. Only after you have all the details in place can you train your managers on them.

Setting manager expectations on what performance looks like at each rating

Ratings can be very arbitrary. It’s important to define each rating. That might mean creating a Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS). A BARS outlines what each number on a rating scale means. You might also create example profiles of fictional employees complete with which ratings they received and why. That way, managers can see the rating scale in action.

Teaching managers how to deliver positive and constructive feedback

Feedback is only well-received when it is well-delivered. You have to teach managers how to give those ratings with constructive feedback. Managers will also feel more confident giving feedback when they know exactly how to deliver it.

Reminding managers that they should communicate frequently with direct reports

Part of the reason why negative feedback isn’t always well-received is because it comes as a surprise. When managers are properly trained—and reminded—to keep the lines of communication open, that problem is solved.

Managers need to know all the options available to them to talk with their direct reports so issues can be addressed quickly. They should schedule regular one-on-one meetings to talk about how things are going. Managers should also highlight areas of improvement and let employees share feedback of their own. That way, the annual review can recap everything employees and managers have already been working on.

Providing conflict resolution techniques 

Even with the right process in place, negative reviews can still be emotional. Managers have to know how to deal with potential conflicts that may come up. The right training can help managers maintain a collaborative mindset and stay calm.

Training Managers on Performance Review Software

Using performance review software can help you implement a review process. That said, you can’t put it to work for your business unless your managers know how to use it.

Part of the training process should include performance appraisal training on how to use the software properly. It will ensure your managers are confident enough to give reviews because they know exactly how the platform works.

PerformYard offers one-on-one training for every client at no extra cost. The comprehensive platform supports every type of review at any cadence. It also offers goal management tools, reporting, and analytics. Having a tool like this provides your managers with a more thorough training experience.

Using performance management software can make reviews easier for your managers.Learn More