Keeping a business running requires a lot of moving pieces. Good management, employee satisfaction, effective marketing, high sales, and client satisfaction are just a few of those pieces.

Juggling it all takes a lot of work, and that is why the quality and happiness of your employees can sometimes be seen as the most important factor behind a successful enterprise. Making sure your employees are doing their best work goes far beyond hiring the right talent. You need to make sure that talent is being put to use in the right places.

One essential tool for talent management is the performance review, but it needs to be used correctly in order to reach its full potential.

Here are nine ways to conduct more effective performance reviews:

1. Use a form to gather feedback - When collecting feedback from the employee's superiors and subordinates, use a form that asks specific questions and provides some multiple choice answers and some room for free form reviews. This will make it easier for the people filling them out as well as easier for you to provide the feedback to the employee.

2. Always start and end with positive feedback - Sometimes when providing evaluations to employees, managers focus on the negative areas that need improvement. But it is important to start and end with some positive feedback so that your employee feels valued, even if he is imperfect.

3. Provide specific examples - Always use specific examples in your feedback of both the positive and negative work the employee has done. This will make the critique more effective and give the employee assurance that it is based on the employee's work and not someone's bias or personal feelings.

4. Go up the ladder and down - It is very important to give subordinates the chance to review their superiors, as well as vice versa. How a manager runs his team and how that team feels about the manager is just as important as how the manager feels about his team.

5. Encourage questions - If the performance review doesn't include time for questions, it can feel like a lecture instead of a discussion. Your employee will probably have questions during the review, as well as afterwards. Encourage him to ask both so that he can move forward and improve his work.

6. Focus on behavior over attitude - It might seem like attitude is important - and it is - but because it is so subjective, it is not good to talk about it in a performance review. Don't say "You don't seem to care about showing up late." Say, "We have noticed you often show up late."

7. Be prepared and professional - Don't squeeze in a performance review when you don't have the time. Schedule the appointment in advance, meet in a private office, and don't accept non-urgent interruptions. Allow for more time than you expect and have written reviews from co-workers and superiors in front of you. Do not go off the cuff.

8. Do not argue with the employee - Arguments sometimes crop up in reviews because the employee feels as though she is put on the defensive. If the employee tries to argue with you about something you say, try to shift the argument into a conversation.

9. Look towards the future, not the past - Although the conversation will be largely based on past events, you should focus on ways to improve for the future. You are not seeking retribution for missed deadlines, you are seeking to ensure there are no more of them. Make this clear to the employee as well by talking about the future more than the past.

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