5 Best Strategies for Performance Meeting Success

Performance meetings, when well planned and prepared for, help employees to grow and become more productive. In addition, meetings contribute to the company culture and improve collaboration and inclusion. The end result is they support the development of revenue growth and the building of a sustainable, successful company. Employed talent can make or break a company, therefore supporting your employees and managers to perform at their best is a business priority.

As a business coach, specializing in working with family businesses, it is my role to support owners, managers, teams, and employees to succeed. Companies must be profitable and continuously grow and evolve to survive and succeed. I have seen too often family business owners being very focused on building their businesses, and putting out day-to-day fires while employee performance meetings get pushed down the priority list. 

Here is an example one of my clients recently struggled with addressing. A newer hire was making frequent errors in his work. The manager kept downplaying the errors as not a big deal every time they occurred. Months later though, the manager blew up at the employee for the errors. Had the manager discussed the errors as they occurred, and redirected the employee so that the person could succeed, it would have prevented conflict, costly errors, and hampered trust in the relationship. This is where regular performance meetings would have been very valuable from the start.

The Importance of Effective Performance Meetings

In designing, preparing, and conducting effective performance meetings you will see multiple benefits. Here are a few:

  • Better clarity and communication between managers and employees
  • Improved performance and productivity, goal attainment 
  • Metrics and data to monitor and improve performance over time
  • Discussing any performance issues early on before they fester into serious problems

Preparing for a Productive Performance Meeting

Here are 5 key strategies for designing successful performance meetings between managers and employees. 

1. Identify the Type of Performance Discussions You Want to Have With an Employee

There are many different types of performance meetings, and often there will be a combination of types, but here are the most common.

  • Goal setting – this will ensure alignment between organizational objectives and individual development needs. Set Fast goals for individual performance.
  • Compensation – talk about salary, bonuses, and raises, usually related to performance and achievements.
  • Schedule-based performance reviews – for example, quarterly, mid-year, and yearly reviews. These will align with company systems and processes for talent management.
  • Recognition and appreciation – build in positive, motivational meetings where employees are recognized for their contribution and the value they bring to the company. 
  • Conflict resolution – work to solve problems between employees or between a manager and an employee. If not resolution is not successful, consider bringing in a coach to act as an advisor and neutral party to support successful communication.

2. Know What Information and Data to Bring to the Discussion

Gathering data gives you concrete, observable, measurable, and actionable information to support performance meetings between a manager and an employee. Data can be quantitative in nature (based on numbers) or qualitative (based on subjective reports and observations). Both will provide an identifiable and holistic picture of what is happening in an employee’s role and performance in the workplace. 

Here are the sources that will provide you with this data. 

  • My go-to resource for measurable data is The Predictive Index, an organization I am partnered with to support my clients in accessing tools and information for gathering human resource data. 
  • Key performance indicators. For example, these could include sales figures, error rates, customer satisfaction scores, and productivity metrics.
  • Employee’s job description.
  • Goals and objectives from past meetings.
  • Feedback and complaints from other employees, management, and customers.
  • Manager notes and observations from the employee file and previous meetings.
  • The employee’s reported concerns, requests, and comments.
  • Attendance reports.
  • Projects and deliverables achieved and those still outstanding.

3. Learn How to Prepare and Plan for the Discussion

To set the stage for an effective performance meeting, here are 6 steps to follow in structuring a discussion, according to an article by Keke Kaikhosroshvili.

  1. Set expectations for the meeting
  2. Review goals from the last period
  3. Recognize areas of improvement
  4. Recognize areas of accomplishment
  5. Set goals and action plan for the next period
  6. Schedule follow-up meetings

4. Define An Effective Performance Discussion

Performance reviews can get a tiresome rap from managers and employees alike. When a meeting is conducted effectively it can be a highly constructive process that supports both employee and company success. An article by Frank Cespedes, describes four key points to creating an effective discussion.

  • Take a positive approach
  • Describe specific observations, not generalizations 
  • Describe behavior and impact of actions, not personal accusations
  • Ask the employee to respond and actively listen to what they say

A Predictive Index article adds 2 additional tips:

  • Ensure the process of the meeting is fair to the employee
  • Use coaching in the meeting geared towards the employee’s personality characteristics, centered around the employee’s drives and needs.

Remember, no matter the issue at hand whether a negative or positive situation to be dealt with, stay focused on building the relationship and communication to work towards positive and growth outcomes from the meeting. This is how talent is maintained and developed in a company. 

5. Identify the Steps for a Performance Improvement Plan

Sometimes performance isn’t always about positive achievement and recognizing successful outcomes. They can also be about discussing missed deadlines, low performance, conflict, and absences. Meetings can therefore become a growth opportunity for an employee, and the manager can be a key player in providing the dialogue, expectations, and support to course correct.

Here are 7 steps to get performance improvement on track:

  1. Identify performance issues and room for growth
  2. Set objectives 
  3. Communicate expectations
  4. Create an action plan with the employee
  5. Document the meeting – key points, discussion notes, follow-up actions
  6. Arrange follow-up meeting
  7. Provide resources and support for improvement


We want managers and employees to stop wasting time with ineffective, spontaneous complaints and lists of infractions in performance meetings. We want to empower people to understand the need for future-focused, event-specific feedback with action plans that will improve performance. By following the 5 strategies to prepare and plan for regular performance you will improve productivity, and goal attainment and contribute to company success.

Are you looking to set up systems and processes for your talent management? Are there conflicts, productivity, and performance issues occurring in your company? Take the next step and click the link below to book a Discovery Call and we can talk about how to improve performance meetings in your company.

Wendy Dickinson

About the Author

Wendy Dickinson is the founder of Ascend Coaching Solutions LLC, a coaching firm that specializes in working with business owners and executives who plan to expand their leadership capacity as their business grows.

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