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One of the great struggles for anyone looking to give performance reviews in any profession is making that feedback helpful. Football players don’t need to hear their coach simply yelling at them about what they did wrong – they have to know what they can do right. Film and theatre actors don’t want to just hear that their performance lacks depth or passion – they want the direction and guidance to get them there. The same holds true for business, which is why you’ll want to make sure you are conducting performance reviews in such a way as to ensure you’re giving constructive advice.

Here are a few tips to help you do just that.

Set Expectations

To begin with, you want employees to know what the expectations of them are before they take up their work. Making this clear during performance reviews can get them in the right mindset to focus on those expectations, setting them up nicely for the next performance review.

Review as a Team

Part of the stress from performance reviews comes less from the content than who’s conducting it. A one-on-one sit-down with your boss can be a tense proposition. Instead, try and make the matter a team effort. Involve more than one person in the review, and make it a collaborative effort.

Make it a Conversation

Even better, make it a conversation. The more one-sided the performance review is, the more your employee may feel like you’re lecturing or grilling them. This can cause them to shut down or zone out.

Compliment Good Work

One of the biggest dangers of a performance review is appearing as though you are too down on an employee. This can make them feel as though there is no hope for their improvement, which can, in turn, make them less eager to try. Instead, try the “compliment sandwich,” placing a criticism between two compliments or a compliment between two criticisms. This way, the review doesn’t feel like one long beatdown, and your employee doesn’t leave totally discouraged.

These simple tweaks can make your performance reviews far more effective.