You may have done performance reviews at the end of last year. They may have gone OK.
Perhaps they went OK because there was relief by you and your staff member that they were over.
Maybe they went OK because the staff member you thought was going to cry, or the staff member that tends to be aggressive, weren’t nearly as painful as you thought they would be.
There could have even been a staff member who in the last three months before the review (unlike the previous nine months) did everything right, nailed every KPI, and was a total team player. They left you with plenty of good things to say at the review.
That smooth operator also left you with Performance Review Bias. Namely something called the Recency Effect- a tendency to assess performance based on recent events and weighing them disproportionately.
You probably couldn’t specifically remember what mediocre performance that staff member did throughout the beginning of the year, but he/she was quick to remind you of all the accomplishments they achieved leading up to the review.
The Recency Effect Performance Review bias is just one of a number of biases that can creep into an objective assessment. Other ones have names like Availability Bias, the Halo Effect, and the Error of Central Tendencies.
It probably doesn’t come as any surprise what the cure for this particular bias is.
Keeping good documentation throughout the year is going to be most helpful.
However, what could be equally helpful is to establish some clear Goals or Key Performance Indicators that you can discuss with your team member throughout the year and to monitor against.
Regular catch ups that have focus based on measurable outcomes that will support team or business goals that you can discuss and document along the way could be a good way to go.
This way performance review bias may not get the best of you when the next one rolls around.