Conducting performance reviews

Performance reviews

Performance reviews are an integral part of performance management, as they allow each employee to receive feedback – be it praise for outstanding contributions, suggestions for areas for improvement, or to plan for career growth by setting performance and development objectives for the year ahead.

On this page, find out how you can prepare for, and conduct a performance review, with tips on how you can improve the performance review process over time.

When to hold performance reviews

The time of year you select to conduct performance reviews is important. Peak periods should be avoided as you need to be able to give each employee the attention they deserve. It is worth noting that the process of reviewing employee performance should be ongoing. Aim to discuss each employee’s development with them as and when issues arise, rather than putting it off until a formal review. This keeps the lines of communication open, and it helps to ensure that nothing in a formal performance review will come as a complete surprise.

Making regular notes throughout the year of each employee’s performance will allow you to accumulate a wealth of information that can be discussed during formal performance reviews. Details of any new qualifications gained by an employee, participation in seminars, industry conferences or courses, or involvement in special projects should all be recorded on file. This will allow for more tailored discussions and give you a clearer picture of the employee’s contribution and professional growth since their last review.

Preparing for performance reviews

Prior to the meeting, look back over your records of each employee’s performance during the review period. This can jog your memory on achievements that went above and beyond the employee’s job description, or conversely, help you recall problem areas such as poor conduct. Gaining feedback from other managers that the employee has worked closely with can be useful provided it is confidential.

Prior to each meeting, draft an agenda to follow. Key points to be covered should include:

  • Each employee’s goals or KPIs and how well they have met these
  • Areas where they have excelled, and
  • Areas where improvement is needed.

Remind your employees to assess their own performance too. This can be a good way to identify issues in your workplace that you may be unaware of, or highlight the need for staff training in particular areas. 

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