Section 13.3: Performance Reviews

Manpreet Binning; Tanjit Rai; and Jolene Neufeld

Performance Reviews

The last step of the performance management process is the review. A performance review is a formal assessment in which the manager assesses how well the employee is performing and communicates to the employee about which areas they are succeeding in and in which areas they need to improve (BambooHR, 2021). During this stage, the manager and employee will work together to set clear goals and create a well-defined action plan for the employee so they have a better chance of achieving their goals.

Why are Performance Reviews Important?

Performance reviews are important because they can play a vital role in the success of an organization and its employees. A good performance review can help motivate and encourage employees to do their best work (Bates, 2017). For instance, if an employee who is performing at a high level is recognized for their contributions during their performance review, it can boost their confidence and encourage them to continue performing at a high level (Bates, 2017). As a result, both the organization and the employee will benefit greatly. The employee may get opportunities to advance in their career and the organization gets to reach certain targets in relation to profit/productivity. On the other hand, if an employee is not performing at the standard level, a performance review can be a great opportunity for a manager to offer guidance and insight to the employee (Bates, 2017). As a result, the employee will be better equipped to meet performance standards in the future.

Evaluating how well an employee is performing helps employers make decisions about compensation, such as bonuses, pay raises, extra benefits, and allowances (Bates, 2017). Providing a more attractive compensation package for top talent can increase the organization’s chances of retaining them, which gives them an edge over competitors. Reviews can also help managers or supervisors create more effective training programs or policies (Bates, 2017). If employees are not performing well, employers can identify performance gaps and design training programs that address those gaps to help get the desired behaviours. By looking at the strengths and weaknesses of an employee, supervisors can better determine whether an employee is the right fit for the job and make adjustments to future requirements and positions (Bates, 2017). Additionally, open communication during the review process encourages more honest conversations about performance and can lead to better decisions and more effective strategies (Bates, 2017). This creates a supportive culture in which employees feel like they are taken care of and their concerns or ideas are heard (Bates, 2017). Thus, it strengthens relationships between managers and employees, which increases trust and loyalty.

Preparing for a Performance Review

To conduct an effective performance review, the manager and employee must prepare beforehand, so they can have a productive conversation without wasting any time.

Manager Perspective

As the manager, it is important to first plan everything out. The manager must identify a time to schedule the performance review meeting that works for both the manager and employee (Adams, 2020). It should not be held during the organization’s busiest time or conflict with other work demands, as this may cause the review to be rushed or poorly done, which can result in missing important performance issues or not recognizing good performance (Ad-ams, 2020).

Tell Employees to Prepare Beforehand

Managers should ask employees to compile all their results or documentation in regard to performance (Adams, 2020). This can be any official forms that cover the employee’s job responsibilities, current tasks they are completing, and reviews of their goals and accomplishments (Adams, 2020). In addition, it is beneficial to have the employee complete a self-evalu-ation (Adams, 2020). Self-evaluation instills a sense of responsibility in the employee and gives them the opportunity to hold themselves accountable. Some questions to consider including on the self-evaluation are:

  • What accomplishments are you most proud of this year?
  • Where have you fallen short of the expectations and goals of the team or yourself?
  • What are your areas for growth and how are you addressing them?
  • Are there things your manager can do to further support your progress and success? (Adams, 2020).

How to Prepare as a Manager

A manager should bring together their own results and notes they have taken throughout the year such as sales reports, call records, deadline reports, customer feedback, personal observations, and notes from check-in meetings (Adams, 2020).

Arrange All Necessary Documentation

Prior to the performance review, the manager should collect any relevant documents or information including the employee’s self-evaluation, external feedback, and any other relevant data (Adams, 2020). The manager can then use all the data collected to explain their feedback, formulate the main topics they want to discuss, and make notes for the next steps (Adams, 2020). Lastly, the manager needs to schedule a performance discussion and plan how to facilitate the meeting.


Employee Perspective

Be Open to Receiving Feedback

Performance reviews tend to include both positive and constructive feedback and employees should expect to receive both (Kalish, 2020). Therefore, it is important to be open-minded and accepting of feedback as well as to respond appropriately. An employee should pay close attention to the feedback they are receiving and if there is any constructive feedback, they should acknowledge their mistakes and offer solutions or show initiative to perform better (Kalish, 2020).

Keep Track of Accomplishments

An employee should spend time collecting data that pertains to their accomplishments since the last performance review discussion. The information may include how they have contributed to higher revenue for the organization, the skills they have acquired, any important relationships formed, and any projects they helped finish (Kalish, 2020). This way, if an employee wants to ask for a raise, they will have a strong case (Kalish, 2020).

Reassess Current and Previous Goals

It is important for an employee to go over any goals they set at their previous performance review meeting and see if they have achieved them or not (Kalish, 2020). Some things to consider when reassessing previous goals that have been met include learning outcomes from meeting those goals, which achieved goal was the most fulfilling, and how to further expand on those goals (Kalish, 2020). On the other hand, if goals were not met an employee should consider how close they got in achieving their goals, whether or not priorities changed, what were some of the barriers that stopped them from reaching their goals, and how they can improve for next time (Kalish, 2020). It is crucial that the employee makes note of this information, so they can discuss it with their manager at the review and get any assistance or guidance that is needed.

Establishing New Goals

After the employee measures their progress, they should look at where they want to go next and the goals they want to accomplish. An employee should make sure their goals are ambitious, but also within the limitations of what they can reach (Kalish, 2020). When coming up with new goals, employees should consider the following questions:

  • What skills would I like to master by the next review?
  • What responsibilities do I want to take on?
  • What projects am I passionate about pursuing?
  • What weaknesses would I like to improve upon?
  • What goals would I like to continue to build on?
  • What role do I want to aim for one to three years from now? What can I do now to put myself in the running? (Kalish, 2020).

Be Ready for a Difficult Conversation

A manager may want to discuss serious matters during the performance review. The employee should be ready to address these concerns and be prepared to discuss anything that may be impacting their performance (Kalish, 2020). For instance, employees who are not happy with their job or want to be transferred to a new role must be willing to share this with their manager; that way, both parties can come up with a mutually beneficial plan (Kalish, 2020).

Relax and Congratulate Oneself

Before the review, employees should congratulate themselves on how far they have come and what they have done so far (Kalish, 2020).

During the Performance Review Meeting

During the performance review meeting, it is crucial that both parties have a chance to talk. A manager should actively listen to what the employee is saying, provide constructive feedback, and ask open-ended questions for clarity and more in-depth answers. A manager should assess both their assessment of the employee and the employee’s self-review so that the reasons for any differences can be discussed. In addition, the conversation should cover what is going well, accomplishments, and any areas for improvement. Furthermore, the manager should make sure the employee feels comfortable so that they can speak honestly, which will result in a more meaningful conversation. Next, the manager should make note of what has been discussed in the meeting and help craft a well-defined action plan with the employee for what they need to achieve or what is expected of them for the future. After the performance review, the manager should follow-up with the employee to ensure they are on the right track (Achieve Together Check-ins, 2021).


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

People Learning and Development Copyright © by Manpreet Binning; Tanjit Rai; and Jolene Neufeld is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book