Having an incredibly strong team is vital to the success of your business. As someone who manages a team, large or small, you'll know that every single person is important to the smooth running of daily operations. But what about when things don’t go so well? Or if you just want to set some goals for the coming year?

Creating a performance review process that works is essential to get a good overview of where your employees are in their working life, what they're doing well, and what's perhaps not going so brilliantly.

This can help both you and your team in so many ways – so read on to discover how to create your own performance review process, and how this can help you.

Why carry out performance reviews?

An employee performance review is useful for everyone. It can help you to evaluate how your team is running, and also show you how best to develop members of your team. If you make this a collaborative process, both you and your employee will be able to create a plan for the future that will make them feel valued and developed, potentially increasing employee retention.

It also allows you to see any areas where your team is struggling, and give an opportunity to discuss ways to deal with this in the context of your culture or company structure.

How to develop a great performance review process

Be a regular

You should try to be something of a regular when it comes to one on one time with your team members. If you've fostered an excellent relationship with them as individuals, the issues and solutions that come up in the performance review process shouldn’t be full of unpleasant surprises.

Review the review

If you're a fairly new company, you might not have a performance review process in place at all. But if you do, make sure to ask your employees what they like and dislike about it. This can help you to develop your own style of reviewing your team’s performance that works for you. Of course, you won’t be able to incorporate everybody’s ideas, but it’s a great idea to see if there are strong common threads.

Make time for it

You should never try and rush a review. Set aside an hour in a private meeting space for each of your team members, providing them with a short list of things for them to think about beforehand. This will give the review some structure and prevent you from lapsing into chatting – easy to do if you get on well!

It's also a positive for the worker themselves - being given your full attention for an hour can remind them that they're a valuable part of the team and that you care about their wellbeing, as well as their performance.

Check job descriptions

Are all of your job descriptions up to date? If a team member’s duties have changed since they started their job, or since their last review, you may need to alter their job description so it's tailored to the goals they're reaching.

Their job roles should be as flexible and adaptable as possible, and if they have taken on extra or different duties, it’s worth making sure the official description matches that.

Don’t expect total honesty

Many employees might be nervous to be totally honest if you haven’t ever had a similar discussion with them. Take this into account when you discuss their performance. If you have an open and honest company culture, it will be much easier to discuss thorny subjects.

Don't be overly critical

It can be tempting, especially if an employee is being very frank, to criticise their performance. But it's important that any criticism you offer is constructive and solutions-based, not personal. If your employee has grievances to air, you can draw conclusions and find solutions together. Now is the perfect time to work together for a better year ahead.

Keep it goal-orientated

Even if your employee’s job is not generally goal-orientated, try to give them something to work towards – even something small. This gives a solid shape to how their working life might look for the next year and is a great way to talk about potential career progression. If you have been having honest conversations and regular one-on-ones, these goals may be on-going and easier to track.

Review yourself as well

It’s likely that you'll also have a performance review of sorts with your own team leader or manager. However, you should also encourage your team to review your performance as their manager – what you could do better to encourage and support them.

Who knows you better than the people you lead? It might help you to come up with some solutions to problems you weren’t even thinking about at length. And best of all, it shows your team that you're always trying to improve as a manager so that you can help them grow.

With these simple strategies, you should be able to create a performance review process that works for you and your team, so you can get the best from everyone.