Planning ahead is one of the best ways to take the stress out of employee reviews. Here are a few guidelines to help you and your managers succeed as you approach what can be a daunting task, says Bernie Erven, agricultural economist at The Ohio State University.

1. Train all supervisors how to do an employee review before they actually start doing them.

2. Strive for a positive attitude toward employee reviews among all supervisors.

3. Tell employees when their reviews will be done; don't surprise them.

4. Stick to the announced schedule.

5. Explain the review procedures to all employees.

6. Ask employees to think about their own performance, their questions and their career aspirations before they sit down to talk with their supervisors.

7. Discuss performance in a private setting.

8. View employee reviews as an opportunity for open and honest communication.

9. Make the review communication a two-way process.

10. Make the annual or semi-annual formal evaluation a supplement to continuous informal communication.

11. Be prepared to deal with strong emotional responses from employees.

12. Spend some time on career implications and goals.

13. End the review on a positive note.

14. Ask employees how the review process can be improved.