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Learn2 Provide Effective Employee Reviews (continued)
Step 5: Keep reviews positive

As you sit down to write reviews, remember that it's not the time to spread blame or seek vengeance. That doesn't mean you have to sugarcoat the truth, but it does mean you have to be respectful and diplomatic. Here are some ways to achieve this:

Start with the positive. People tend to stop listening once they hear something negative, so start on a positive note. Instead of saying, "John is consistently late," try: "Though John performs his functions very well, he regularly arrives to work 10 or more minutes late." If you truly can't find anything positive to say, then you should ask yourself why the employee is still with your company.

Avoid surprises. It's a manager's job to inform employees of problems as they occur. If managers wait until review time, they're potentially creating a climate of mistrust by putting criticism in writing rather than first discussing problems face-to-face.

When you do offer criticism, offer specific examples so your critique doesn't seem arbitrary. For example, instead of saying "John has a bad attitude," you might write, "John has shown resistance to new projects, like the time when we asked him to dig a ditch and then fill it back in."

Let bygones be bygones. Don't resurrect old problems that have already been solved, unless you frame them in a positive light ("John has made great progress this year in terms of tardiness.").

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Step 1: Have a clear philosophy
Step 2: Prepare the groundwork
Step 3: Design the review process
Step 4: Obey the law
Step 5: Keep reviews positive
Step 6: Meet one-on-one