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The Employee Performance Review critical steps

Having the ability to carry out an effective Employee Performance Review is a key skill that every manager should master.

Carried out correctly, this activity can motivate the employee to achieve higher performance levels. But, unfortunately, it very often develops into a battle ground - that both employees and management come to dread.

The main reason for this is failing to plan the review process.

It's really the basic concept of ''failing to plan is planning to fail''.

Having an effective process in place can:

  • Improve commitment and motivation
  • Identify training requirements
  • Improve employee performance
  • Understand employee aspirations
  • Set targets that align with company objectives
  • Give direction and agree acceptable levels of performance
  • Assess and review progress to date
  • Generate improvement ideas
  • Improve performance on a continuous basis
  • Give, and receive, feedback on relevant issues
  • Gather data as a basis for performance rewards

When we talk about the Employee Performance Review we immediately think about the once a year meeting - the one that very often turns into a battle ground, as mentioned earlier.

But it's far more than that. It's a continuous process that happens all year round.

The purpose of the Employee Performance Review

Employee Performance Review

Let's go back to basics and firstly understand what the purpose of the Employee Performance Review is:

'Developing our people so that their performance is at an acceptable level'

This centres around:

  • Providing Feedback through an employee feedback program - constructive feedback helps people improve their skills, knowledge and approach to work. This needs to be done at the formal review and informally throughout the year.
  • Appraising Effectively - this can be both formal and informal (formal is usually at the review meeting/s and informal throughout the period)...and needs to follow a structured approach.

The formal review is a significant factor in achieving acceptable employee performance.

Follow the steps below to make your reviews more meaningful:

Decide on Review  Method

  • Top Down - the employee's immediate boss is responsible for the review
  • Peer Appraisal - the employee's peers (at the same level) carry out the review
  • 360 Degree - the appraiser gets feedback from people who has contact with the employee (colleagues, customers, suppliers, team members)
  • Self Assessment - the employee completes preset questions that are subsequently analysed

Setting Objectives

  • Quantitative - productivity levels, delivery dates to meet, improvement levels, project management metrics
  • Qualitative - interaction with team, development of systems and procedures, people development
  • Developing Measures - define measures that are appropriate to the situation
  • Involve Employee - both manager and employee should agree on criteria and measure

Employee Empowerment

  • Encourage people to suggest different solutions to problems - the employee feedback program is invaluable here
  • Give people responsibility for specific tasks
  • Let employees ask/query ''the status quo''
  • Encourage people to use their initiative

Reward Success

  • Ensure that rewards are in line with company goals
  • Only reward success
  • Reward in different ways - bonuses, awards, prizes, shopping coupons
  • Publish success

Prepare Employee and Yourself

  • Give the employee questions to complete in advance of the review meeting - if this is company policy
  • Prepare your own points that you want to discuss with the employee
  • Ensure that you have prior reviews with you to structure your discussion with the employee
  • Prepare good and bad performance examples to get the employee's opinion 

Have a Two Way Conversation

  • Feedback needs to be a two way process
  • Be prepared to give both positive and negative feedback - if necessary
  • Ask the employee's opinion throughout the review - to generate a two way conversation and make the employee feel involved

The Employee Performance Review is about improving output - however output is defined and measured. It's about working with people to develop them into high achievers.

Employee Performance Review Resources

Employee Review

Performance Appraisal:

Employee Performance Appraisal 

The Employee Performance Appraisal must be planned in every detail to ensure success.

Employee Performance Evaluations

To be successful goals must be agreed with the employee.

Key Result Areas 

These are the activities that dictate what you need to measure for each job – the activities that people need to succeed in.

Involving Employees:

Employee Empowerment

Encourages employee input and initiative through proper delegation of authority.

Employee Engagement Strategy

Involving your people in the running of your business turns them into high achievers.

Participative Management Style

This style of management really encourages employees to be committed.


Employee Feedback Program

This need to be built around a structured approach. 

Effective and Positive Feedback

Be sensitive when dealing with your people.


Return from Employee Performance Review to Performance Improvement

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