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5 Tips for a Successful Employee Performance Review

Posted on: February 21, 2018 Labor Systems November 12, 2018

Performance reviews have a bad reputation for being a dreadful task but there is a way to change that. It is all about how you prepare and approach the review. Granted, performance reviews will differ across organizations and even within an organization based on the individual. However, there are five best practices that will help you improve any performance review you conduct.


  • Not Everyone Likes Surprises. Employees should not be surprised by the content of the discussions during their performance review. Effective managers or directors communicate on a frequent basis with employees regarding feedback, progress and expectations. The performance review should be treated as a recap of the past year, giving you the opportunity to reiterate positive and negative incidents that were documented.
  • Listening Ears Required. Everyone is different and a performance review is not a “one size fits all” situation. Yes, it is OK to use a template to provide structure, but leave the discussions open. Some people are very introverted, making it difficult for you to understand what is holding their best performance back. Ask your employee what they think about their performance. Ask questions that will uncover any problems or challenges they have encountered and how or if they overcame those obstacles.
  • More Money More Problems. There is always a huge elephant in the room during a performance review, especially if it is primarily a positive review. Salary raises and bonuses. In order to get the most out of a performance review, it is best to have a separate discussion about compensation adjustments. This will keep the focus and direction of the meeting on goal setting and establishing how the employee can improve in the following year.
  • Set Goals & Expectations. Employees are evaluated based on you and your company’s expectations. Therefore, it is critical that the employee knows exactly what is expected of them. It is unlikely for an employee to succeed if the expectations for their performance are unclear. When you are establishing goals with an employee, you should capitalize on an individual’s strengths and provide guidance in their areas of weakness.
  • Use a 360 Approach. The 360 approach is when feedback is collected from coworkers regarding the employee’s performance. This gives you additional points of view, which is critical if you do not work closely on a day-to-day basis. It also prevents reviews from being biased.

Being proactive and transparent are key components to a successful performance review. Being mindful of performance and communication throughout the year will create a strong foundation for conducting reviews. Use these tips as an ongoing practice and your performance reviews will be a breeze!

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