Robert Half: Relocating for Work: What Would it Take?

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It’s almost here – that time of year when firms evaluate employee performance and give formal reviews. Supervisors may worry about giving criticism while employees fear what they might hear during these discussions. Yet, when handled correctly, appraisals can be a positive experience that is both productive and motivating.

Pallavi Anand, Director, Robert Half Hong Kong suggests taking advantage of performance reviews to find out how to improve as a manager and look for ways to bolster an employee’s job satisfaction. If handled properly, the performance evaluation can be a win-win situation that helps both you and your staff become more effective on the job. Ms Anand offers the following seven tips:

#1: Avoid surprises
Try to discuss performance with each member of your team significantly more than once a year. If employees have been told your expectations and whether they are meeting them throughout the evaluation period – not just at the end of it – there is less fear of the unknown when review time arrives.

#2: Gather input from others
Even if yours is a small company and you believe you have a solid understanding of how your employees are performing, it is important to seek feedback from others. Co-workers, clients, staff from other departments and subordinates may offer unique insights into the quality of someone’s work. For instance, you might discover that an employee not only excels in his/her own job but also takes the time to assume additional responsibilities to help colleagues.

#3: Be consistent
If your firm does not already use formal templates for documenting performance appraisals, you’ll need to develop criteria that include the same general factors for all staff. This will help eliminate any claims of inequality or bias in the process. Aptitudes to assess can include competency, soft skills, teamwork, initiative, ethics, etc.

#4: Handle criticism with tact
The most awkward part of performance reviews for most supervisors is telling people that aspects of their work are sub-standard. As uncomfortable as this can be, do not give vague feedback. Try to address points for improvement to employees and encourage them by noting how confident you are that the person will be successful making the necessary changes.

#5: Listen as well as talk
Make sure you allow enough time in the meeting for your staff to actively participate in the discussion. Your goal is not just to share your feedback but also to learn your employees’ perspective, so listen to what they have to say. You may learn more about why a person did not meet expectations with a specific task and receive ideas on ways he/she can improve in the future.

#6: Look ahead
Use the appraisal meeting not just to reflect upon past performance but also to establish future objectives. Push employees to challenge their skills and potential, but also be realistic. Telling someone who has a fear of public speaking to take a course on the subject and then give a major presentation afterward is more likely to cause anxiety than inspiration. You want to set stretch goals but also provide sufficient support for the individual to actually achieve those goals.

#7: Talk about compensation another time
It seems to make sense to discuss pay raises and bonuses during performance reviews, however if people know they are going to learn about a pay adjustment, they may not focus sufficiently on the appraisal discussion. Another reason not to broach the salary issue is that an employee’s feedback may also cause you to reconsider your compensation plans. Holding a separate follow-up discussion about the pay rise will allow you to consider the complete picture before disclosing any changes.

With a global network of more than 350 offices worldwide, Robert Half International is the world's first and largest specialised recruitment firm for accounting, finance, banking & technology professionals. For more information about our recruitment services, please visit


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