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Removing the 'surprise factor' from annual reviews

Human Resources workshops encourage employees and managers to engage in an open dialogue about performance throughout the year. 

Shortly after joining Queen’s, Jennifer Bishop realized the potential of the annual review, a process she found underwhelming in the past.

“I came from an environment where employees just received a copy of their review, signed it and it was done,” says Ms. Bishop, a production administrator in Queen’s School of Business. “The Preparing for your Annual Review workshop offered by Queen’s Human Resources helped me see the annual review process as a give-and-take conversation. I also understood the questions I could ask and the responsibilities of both me and my manager.”

[Mary Elms with workshop participants]
Mary Elms (standing), Manager, Organizational Development and Learning, discusses the annual review process with workshop participants Rob Bertschi, Multimedia Support Annalyst, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Sheena Graham, Administrative Assistant, Vice-Principal (Finance), and Tiffany Bambrick, Co-ordinator, Fitness and Wellness Programs, Athletics and Recreation (left to right). The next Preparing for your Annual Review: Employee Session will take place May 12.

HR offers workshops that help employees as well as managers prepare for annual reviews. According to Mary Elms, Manager, Organizational Development and Learning, the annual review is one part of an ongoing dialogue in which employees work with managers to set objectives and receive regular feedback and coaching. Ms. Elms also strongly encourages one-on-one meetings between employees and managers in addition to check-ins at the mid-year and end-of-year points.

“Educating managers and employees on performance management processes facilitates a cohesive approach to talent assessment and development,” Ms. Elms says. “These workshops help to mitigate the surprise factor in evaluation meetings and increase employee engagement, resulting in improved organizational performance and achieving the university’s goals.”

Julia Baran, who also completed the annual review workshop for employees, now sees the annual review as an ongoing process. Ms. Baran, a clinical trials assistant with NCIC Clinical Trials Group, learned the importance of keeping a regular log of her accomplishments, new duties and feedback.

“If you are reflective and take the time to prepare throughout the year, you go into the review meeting relaxed. As a result, it’s a much more positive experience for both you and your manager,” she says.

The Performance Management: Manager’s Session continues to grow in popularity. Three separate sessions this year attracted more than 60 participants in total compared to only 12 participants (all managers) last year. In addition, three departments requested separate sessions for their leadership teams. Ms. Elms intends to offer the manager’s session again next year.

The next Preparing for your Annual Review: Employee Session will occur May 12. Visit the Human Resources learning catalogue to sign up for this session or get more information about the other workshops and sessions offered by HR.