Year end poses an interesting challenge for most business students and their teachers.
This is when important work-related events and activities take place. A good example of this is the all-time favorite employee performance review or appraisal. Many companies use performance review as an opportunity for managers and employees to sit down and discuss the employee’s job performance, their goals, and what company priorities are. Performance reviews are hard, and they are only useful if they are done right. To deliver a good performance review managers need to have good social skills and as we all know, not all social skills come naturally. In fact, many managers struggle day in and day out either to acquire or improve these skills. For business ESL students who are managers this task can be even more difficult because quite often they need to do it in another language. Here are some steps and activities that can help you prepare your business student for employee performance review.
Use These Ideas to Help Your Students with Appraisals at Work
Getting Ready for the Review
As with any activity you do in class, this one also requires preparation. Students have to warm up, get ready for the task and become familiar with the vocabulary.
Activity: In this case a good option is to practice describing employees and what employees do in the company. Job descriptions will enable your student to become fluent as well as familiar with work-related vocabulary.
Useful phrases to practice: John is responsible for …. He handles… He manages….
During appraisals, managers usually provide all kinds of feedback. They need to let their employees know what they are doing well and what they should continue doing well. However,
Improvement is always needed in everything people do. Performance evaluations are a great opportunity for managers to let employees know how they can improve their performance. This is a delicate part of performance reviews and something managers need to prepare for carefully. Here teachers need to provide vocabulary and phrases to help students express what needs to be improved and what is going well.
Activity: Write a list of things you do and don’t do well on the board. He/she should practice giving you feedback.
Useful phrases to practice:
For good work. Your personal commitment was excellent in…… Your dedication has contributed greatly to…. Your achievements were many… The new insight you provided…
For work that needs improvement.… is one of the areas you should work on this year. You need to improve… You need to work on… You have some difficulties doing…. You need to develop…
Goals are related to company needs and should always be discussed during performance reviews. In the business world today when goals need to be set, they should be SMART goals. In other words, they should be Specific – a specific area for improvement, Measurable – quantify or show progress, Assignable – who is going to do it, Realistic – what results can be achieved and Time-related — when. When preparing students for performance reviews, SMART goals make it easy for them to understand what they have to do.
Activity: Make a list of company needs and the student should then practice setting SMART goals.
Useful phrases to practice: I need you to focus on….. One of our priorities is ….. You need to consider what strategies…..
At this point of the performance review, the employee can ask questions about anything that was discussed. You have to prepare your student to answer any questions that might come up. This is a bit harder to prepare because we don’t know what questions he/she will be asked. So, a good idea is to brainstorm questions that might come up with your student and practice answering them.
Activity: This last activity integrates all the previous parts for more thorough practice. Give your student an employee profile, similar to the one practiced in the first point. In it, there should be a brief description of an employee and his/her job. Also, there should be some comments about and what he/she has and hasn’t done well this year. Give your student a minute to read through it and then ask them to give you a complete performance review with lots of feedback, goals and questions they’ll answer.
The business world is a very scary place but it doesn’t have to be.
As ESL teachers, there is a lot we can do to help our students reach their language goals.