You’re not doing an employee any favors by not telling them the truth.

Allowing an employee to go one year or years without any honest performance feedback hurts them, their co-workers, and your customers.  And you’re not fooling anyone.

You have to be a coach.  You must say it the right way so it is understood and acted upon in a positive and productive fashion.

They need to know in real time their strengths to retain and their areas for improvement and how to improve.  Take responsibility for helping them to improve.  Of course, quickly recognize them when stronger performance occurs.

We all want to know how we are doing.  If you are hiring right, they should want to be their best.

It’s easy to say only nice things and avoid your responsibility but it always catches up and results in problems.  Be a leader.  Be a truth-teller.