So hand on heart…  how many of your team enjoys performance reviews and feedback?  I guess intuitively you would believe that those who receive positive feedback would enjoy their performance review, and of course the opposite is true?

Well it would seem that research undertaken by researchers at Kansas State University, Eastern Kentucky University, and Texas A&M University, highlighted in The Washington Post that actually no one enjoys a performance review!

The study suggests that employers should realise that nobody is all that happy to be critiqued, so employers might consider framing their feedback in a more positive light.

For example, Satoris Culbertson, one of the study’s authors, tells the Post that metric-based performance reviews might unwittingly aggravate an employee. “For a really strong performer, getting a four on a five-point rating scale can be devastatingly bad,” she says. “You have to think about what the person is seeing.”

The results of the study should not cause you to devalue providing feedback. In fact, a Gallup study found that employees who receive negative feedback are 20 times more likely to be engaged than employees who receive no feedback at all.

So given all this conflicting research and guidance where does it leave you?

The simple answer is just remember these tip’s when providing feedback:

Make it timely… don’t go raking up the past to make a point, if you have feedback, positive or negative, provide it at the time!

Make it relevant to the individual concerned..  if the issue you have isn’t relevant to the individual you are reviewing, but perhaps associated with a wider team performance issue, then deliver it to the team.

Frame the feedback in a positive way...  position it as “how can we work better as a team?”, how can we ensure that the issues you face can be resolved, how can I as your review manager support you better?

Create a sense within your team that your success stems from your team being successful.  In simple terms don’t make your team or the people you are reviewing feel that they are your scapegoat when things go badly.  In the end as the review manager you are equally culpable for success and failure.

Get Expert HR Help

Dealing with a tricky poor performance issue can leave even the most experienced managers feeling a little out of their depth. This is one area of managing a team that can be a minefield to try and manage on your own. Having the peace of mind to know that someone is there to advise you can also save you time and reduce any risks. PlusHR have worked with growing businesses for over a decade and offer flexible, qualified and affordable one-stop HR solutions. We can be “hands on” and deal with issues on your behalf or be there behind the scenes to advise and guide. Our HR services are delivered by qualified HR Managers, not a call centre. Get in touch now by calling +44 (0)20 3751 4422 or email

P.s. You might also like our piece on the Do’s and Don’ts of Dismissing an Employee, read more here.




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