Last updated February 9, 2024

Performance review tips

What Are Employee Performance Reviews?

Employee Performance Reviews are invaluable when it comes to assessing an employee and the overall team’s performance. By having a formal review process, employers can get an understanding of how their team is performing and identify areas for improvement.

This review helps to ensure that you can assess a number of things including:

  • If you are meeting the needs of the employee (to avoid high staff turnover)
  • Ensuring that the employee understands their own role and the goals you have for them
  • The chance to personally thank the staff member for their good work
  • The opportunity to learn about what training they might need or want
  • What their career development goals are

The review process should be tailored to suit the needs of the business, as well as employees’ career paths.

Furthermore, the review should involve both parties working together to identify successes and challenges in order to create a plan of action to improve performance.

Indeed, a key component of the review is setting goals and expectations for future development, as well as providing feedback that can be used to track progress.

Why Employee Performance Reviews Are Important

Performance reviews provide a structured and systematic way for managers to review the performance of their employees, as well as identify areas of improvement.

Additionally, they enable businesses to track progress against long-term goals, ensuring that their workforce remains aligned with organizational objectives.

By having regular performance reviews, employers can monitor how well employees are achieving their goals and take corrective action where necessary.

This helps to improve overall performance, motivation, and morale within the organization.

1. Make Sure the Reviews Are Well-Structured

Ensure that the review process is consistent for all employees you give a performance appraisal to, so that everyone has a clear understanding of how it works and so that everyone is treated in a similar manner.

Whilst you want to give the employee the chance to speak openly and to express themselves, make sure also to have a clear plan to work through.

A performance review checklist is designed to help ensure that the structure of your performance review process is effective and consistent. It provides a framework for assessing team members in an organized manner.

The checklist can include the following:

  • A checklist and scoring system to evaluate employee performance
  • A predetermined timeline for completing the review process
  • Guidelines on how to conduct the review
  • Questions to ask the employee during the review
  • Tools and resources for providing feedback
  • A scoring system for measuring performance
  • Strategies for improving employee performance in the future.

(If you need to download an appraisal performance review document that includes the list please email me).

The checklist also outlines a process for recording and tracking results, developing action plans based on the assessment outcomes, and identifying areas of improvement.

2. Focus on the Positives

When conducting a performance review, it is important to focus on the positives.

Focusing on what employees are doing well can help you to be constructive in helping to motivate them moving forward.

Taking some time to recognize efforts made by employees can go a long way in creating a positive work environment.

Doing this will lead to greater success for the business as a whole. Acknowledge employees for their efforts and create opportunities to continue building upon their successes.

3. Make Sure That the Reviews are Open and Honest

The concept of psychological safety is really important because it means creating an environment in which an employee feels comfortable to express their own thoughts and feelings to you.

They should be confident that this is done confidentially and that they can speak openly without any worry about potential repercussions.

4. Provide Feedback

You provide feedback on the employee’s individual strengths and weaknesses, as well as areas where additional support may be needed, as needed.

This will help them understand how they can better apply the skills they have in relation to their current position.

Provide constructive criticism when necessary. Do not be afraid to offer honest feedback on areas where improvement is needed in order for the employee to progress.

5. Set Realistic and Achievable Goals

It is important that the goals you set for the employee should be both realistic and achievable.

Establish clear and realistic expectations for the person you are reviewing and be clear with them regarding exactly what you expect from them for the role and job they do.

6. Ownership

Encourage employees to take ownership of their performance and to plan for their own career plan and future.

The more the employee buys into the new goals and is involved in the process of choosing these goals and objectives for the upcoming year, the more likely they will meet these goals.

7. Make It a Two-Way Conversation

I have been involved in performance reviews in the past where I wondered who was actually being appraised, because I had very little opportunity to give input, and the reviewer talked about their own role more than they did mine.

Give your employees a chance to discuss anything they need and want to, including regards their own job role, and any other issues that may be impacting their work situation.

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8. Have Questions Ready

Take the time to ask questions during performance reviews because this shows your employees that you are interested in understanding their thoughts and feelings about their job.

It also gives them a chance to voice any concerns they may have.

9. Create an Action Plan

Create an action plan at the end of each performance review.

This will give your employees a clear roadmap for how they can reach their goals and objectives, which will create increased motivation in the workplace.

10. Follow Up

Follow up after each review to ensure that your employees are taking the necessary steps to meet their goals and objectives.

Check the employee’s progress at set intervals and use this as an opportunity also to see if they need any extra help.

11. Make Use of Technology

Consider leveraging technology for performance reviews.

If you do not already use it for example, consider using video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or MS Teams to allow employee’s to do their review online as needed.

For any employees where accessibility is an issue or where the person works from a distance, i.e. in another country, there is no reason anymore not to be able to do a performance review.

12. Being Fair

I know this final point kind of repeats some of the previous points but this is important.

Remember to be fair and impartial during reviews and to focus on providing honest feedback without being biased towards any particular employee or department.

This will create an atmosphere of trust and respect within your organization, and allow for greater collaboration among all team members.

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