You may be struggling with how to write a performance review for your employees because
you have never done it before or haven’t been taught how to do it effectively. This important
step in evaluating your employees isn’t as difficult as many make it out to be and can be
accomplished in a painless manner with a few simple rules.
To do an effective performance review you need to put your evaluation of an employee’s performance
in a clear and concise format. A common way to do this is to break the employee’s job into sections.
The different sections will then be supported by observations that you have made of your employee’s work
over the evaluation period. Make sure you put down observations that you have made and not conjecture
about how you feel the employee has done. Feelings are not measurable and are hard to defend if you want
to get an employee a promotion, raise, or need to take disciplinary action later.
Performance reviews are usually done annually and mostly occur at the end of a calendar year. Some
corporations will use and employees hire data as the annual performance review date and if you
decide to it will cause some management headaches as you may find it easier to compile and write your reviews all at one time. Newly hired employee’s are sometimes put on probation for the first year of service and may be reviewed on an accelerated schedule. A review at six months will help them determine if they are making adequate progress towards your organizations goals and objectives.
There are many management training courses available that can teach you how to write and give an
effective review. Online classes are also available but generally aren’t as useful as one on one
coaching. Asking another manager within your business or organization to mentor you on creating
reviews is also an excellent way to improve your skills in this area. You can also learn more here at
our website. We’ve provided an example review for you to look over.
Old reviews that other managers have done are also a valuable resource. Take the old reviews and get
a feel for what your organization feels is important to include. Look at the different rankings that
were provided and what statements were used to support them. This is a great way to learn when first
starting out when you have never done a review before. If your companies review process was or isn’t
that great don’t let that stop you from doing a proper review. Doing effective reviews are not only
good for your direct reports it also helps your career. Developing employees using the review process
will increase the abilities of your team. Effective teams get noticed and you will as well.
You may be asking why you need to do this and if it really makes a difference in the effectiveness of
your organization. It most definitely does and one of the few ways you have to accurately judge how
your direct reports are doing year over year. It’s easy to slack off and not do this task, to just
copy last years review and slightly edit it. If you do these things you are doing a disservice to
yourself, your directs, and the company as a whole. This process will help employees understand how
they are doing in your eyes and against the company’s goals and objectives. Note that this is not a
goal setting meeting. That should be done at another time in a specific goals and objectives meeting.
Finally, how do you actually write the review? What sections should you have and how do you actually
rate employees? Writing the review is straightforward and you can do it in a word processing program
like Microsoft Word. Your company may already have a template or they may use specialized software that
is used to capture the performance review output. You can download our performance review template if
you need a starting point.
How do I rate my employee?
Most review processes use a four or five point rating system. It can be numerical or use defined terms.
1 = High Performance
2 = Above Average Performance
3 = Average Performance
4 = Below Average Performance
5 = Non Performing
Another easy ranking system is to compare against what the expectations are at your company.
1 = Exceeds Expectations
2 = Meets Expectations
3 = Missed Expectations
It’s up to you to figure out what ranking scale you want to use. Chances are your company will
already have a ranking system established.
A common way to break up a performance review is to group goals and objectives into competencies.
You can break them up into as few or as many areas as you want. Some examples are:
- Continuous Learning
- Customer Focus
- Planning and Organization
- Technical Skills
Rate your employees on each area and provide supporting comments after. You don’t have to make
this complicated a simple way to do it follows:
- Joe mentored two new employees this year decreasing the need to provide additional training
for those two new resources.
- Joe attended every team meeting this year and contributed ideas on a regular basis.
Don’t put stuff like, “Joe is a team player.” Give examples of how Joe is a team player. Factual
statements are easy to support or defend when you deliver the review to your direct reports.
Performance reviews can really be a stress free activity that helps your organization achieve
higher efficiency and production. Learn to write them effectively and put some real time and
effort into them.