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A guide to Performance Reviews for your Employees!

Performance reviews give both, management and their staff the opportunity to identify and take steps towards upscaling the good characteristics of an employee. In addition, such reviews assist widely in tackling those less favorable characteristics of an employee, thus giving them the opportunity to work towards improving themselves. Over the last decades, this has been proved to constitute an important part of any company’s successful functioning. How else would one evaluate the contributions a staff member is making to the company?

The truth is that, management often postpones this kind of work due to its time-consuming nature, when it comes to filling in the forms of performance. It is also as true that employees fear facing them just thinking of the fact that their reviews might not live up to their and the company’s standards. The way I see it, as an entrepreneur who deals with HR issues daily, the best way to achieve effective performance reviews is to plan the whole process and be prepared! When running a company or a department, preparation is always the key to success. Also, properly preparing for those times makes the procedure more time-efficient, so management won’t have to spend as much time on it.

Here are some tips for both management and their staff, to make those nightmary (for both) assessments more effective and pleasant.

Position description

All companies should have detailed descriptions of all the positions offered within their organization, from the courier to the secretary, to the IT guy or gal to the CFO and CEO. Comprehensive position descriptions detail the duties and objectives expected to be achieved by each staff member. It’s important that such descriptions are given from the time when you are looking for a hire. Then, once hired, the new staff member should be given an even more detailed document containing the necessary information which could also be used in the process and during review meetings. Each time something changes in the position description, then the relevant staff member should be immediately informed.


The best way to achieve employee performance appraisal is by letting them know what to expect. Therefore, a self- appraisal form should be given to filled, one or two weeks, before the review meeting takes place. By adopting this procedure, you will provide your employees with the time to take notes and be prepared. Some examples of pre-appraisal notes could include:

  • Key accomplishments over the last year
  • Communication with management and other staff
  • Priorities and objectives for the next period
  • Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Skills and competences acquired or improved
  • Changes you want to see in the company
  • Self-development and career plan

 Writing the review

During the process of drafting such reviews, managers often opt for measurement- oriented language. For this type of evaluation, you could include the following to make it easier;

  • Quality and quantity of work (accuracy, productivity, goal attainment)
  • Communication and interpersonal skills (teamwork, cooperation, listening, empathy)
  • Leadership, accessibility, responsiveness, delegating
  • Creative thinking (innovations, problem solving and originality)
  • Self-development and growth (learning, education, skills building and career planning
  • Ethics (honesty, diversity sustainability)

Review meeting (or as I like to call it “THE meeting”)

Hello management! Could I have your attention please?

The day of the review has arrived and I bet that you think that it’s another regular day. For you, my dear management, it might be a usual day, but for your staff members, let me assure you that, it is not! The most usual scenario, for your staff members, is that they felt stressed, anxious until the time came for them to go into the “dark room”, and the reason is simple; they will be evaluated for their performance in the company and notably that translates as getting a raise, keeping or losing the job and so on and so forth.

Therefore, it is your responsibility to take the necessary steps to make them feel comfortable and confident in this situation. It is better to organize the meeting late in the afternoon and not be distracted with phone calls or other tasks. In addition, choose your office as the place of the meeting and not the professionalism of the conference room (“dark room”). Your office is, or should be a place where your staff members feel relaxed, productive and friendly. Yes, being friendly with your staff members is a must for productivity and openness (bubble burst for some).

Now, the above said, during the meeting don’t just read the assessment document to your staff but give them the chance to firstly share their own thoughts about their job performance. Such a meeting should never be a one-way discussion. Let them ask you questions. Then, discuss with them their past and current performance, highlighting both good and less favorable aspects. Conclude with discussing goals, objectives for the period to come and personal development plans.  Basically, show them that you are appreciative of their work and contribution and that you are willing to invest even more in them. And, there you have it, positivity and motivation acquired!

Some questions to consider:

  • What do they believe went well and what not?
  • If they could have done something differently, what it could be?
  • What are their objectives and plans for the next period?

Moreover, the meeting is the best time to reward outstanding work with extra benefits as well as to deal with troubling and problematic issues. Finalize the meeting with mutual understanding or as I like to call it ‘an agreement’. Such an “agreement” will provide the manager with a clear understanding of the staff members’ performance and, in turn, provide staff members with their next periods’ expected performance.


Above all, my piece of advice is that you have to make your staff feel part of the overall process. Only then, believe me, reviews will become pleasant and successful for all!



PhotoCredit: Linkedin.com

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