How to write an effective performance review?

Performance reviews are an integral part of an organization’s internal line of communication.  In this Business Kitz blog, we will explore the purpose of a performance review and how to write one.

What is a performance review?

A performance review is a formal document, typically drafted annually by a manager which aims to evaluate an employee’s performance at the workplace. The employer or manager provides feedback to their employees based on their identified strengths and weaknesses and sets a goal for improvement in the near future. 

The aim of a performance review is to provide employees with an opportunity to better understand what they are doing right and what could do better. Previously, performance reviews were conducted annually, however, organisations are slowly beginning to provide more frequent feedback as and when they occur. 

Performance reviews are a great way for managers and employees to have an open ended line of communication and address any issues before they have a severe impact on the organisation. Furthermore, this encourages employees to take charge of their own professional growth.

For employers, it is important to consider the tone in which they present their feedbacks. A performance review should NOT critique, compare or speculate the employee. This can adversely affect workplace morale.

What should a performance review include?

To cover all grounds, it is best to include these three things in any performance review:

  1. Employee self-review 

This contains an analysis from the employee detailing their own performance and how they perceive it. This is an insightful component for employers as it allows them to assess whether their review is in unison or if there is a major disconnect between their understanding. This is also a great way for employees to bring up any concerns they have with the organisation in supporting their needs.

  1. Progress check 

This is where the employer reviews the employee’s performance. Typically, this can be done verbally on a regular basis and then a concise written one either monthly or annually.

  1. Evaluation 

This is where the employer acknowledges the tasks that the employee has successfully completed. It helps identify whether the employee is a good fit for the organisation in achieving their goals.

How to write a performance review?

Here are six simple steps to writing a performance review:

  1. Review job description

Before you begin writing a performance review, it may be useful to get a hold of the current job description for the employee’s role. This will help you map out whether the employee’s performance adheres to expectations set out in the job description. 

  1. Address areas of improvement 

When it comes to long term employees that you have previously worked with, assess if they have made improvements since the last review. Are your highlighted areas of improvement the same as last time or has there been any substantial change. If there is a similar issue, you may want to note that and discuss it with the employee as to how they can improve on it further. If the employee has completed any training course or qualifications in the past year, mention them. 

  1. Strengths and weaknesses

Now would be an appropriate time to address an employees strengths and weaknesses. This provides a more holistic view. Utilising tools such as the SWOT framework can be a helpful method for the employee to also go over at their own pace. Remember, this should serve as constructive feedback and not criticise or compare the employee to their team members. The way you deliver your feedback sets the tone for how the employee perceives it and decides to make amends.

  1. Provide recommendations

It can be challenging for the employee to know how to start making actionable changes that will benefit them and the organisation in the long run. That is why the employer/ manager should provide realistic recommendations that the employee can implement in their daily routine. Utilising the SMART framework here would be a good idea. For more information, click here.

5. Employee input 

It is important that the feedback is not one sided. Therefore, you should welcome and encourage any input that your employees provide on how they can better improve and the support they require from you. Requesting self-performance review examples and answering performance review questions is extremely efficient in obtaining employee input.

Legal advice

Running a business requires a myriad of different documents that you need to keep up with. Check out Business Kitz subscription service today to access our full range of legal, commercial and employment documents, including employee performance review templates. If you are unsure about how to best protect yourself and your future business, our sister company, Legal Kitz can assist you. To arrange a FREE consultation with one of their highly experienced solicitors, click here today, or contact us at  or 1300 988 954.

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