Deliver an effective performance review

How to deliver an effective performance review

Whether you like them or not, business owners should be giving their staff a performance review at least once a year. A full-time employee works roughly 2080 hours a year, so as a business owner it isn’t much to ask that you review them at least once. It is recommended to have at least a midyear meeting as well as a review at the end of the year which covers bonuses, promotions or raises.


It’s not the end of the year yet; you still have time to fit in a meeting to talk about performance goals, address problems, and set your staff up for success in the New Year with personal goals. But what makes a successful performance review? Here are five useful tips:

  1. Be honest

HR expert Paul Falcone says the most common mistake employers make when giving an employee a review is not giving honest feedback to avoid confrontation. By not being honest, the employee won’t be improving. If the employee needed to be fired in the future, this can be a problem if employers aren’t honest from the beginning. Focus on issues, not people.

  1. Be specific

Don’t just give general feedback; try to be specific on how well your employee is performing and what improvements could be made. Really think about how the employee has been performing prior to the review. Performance reviews are there for you, your employees and your business to make progress – that won’t happen if you spend the review just having a friendly chit-chat.

  1. If you need to be critical, be constructive too

Some employers can just criticise and not give any constructive advice and outline how the employee can improve. If you don’t explain how the employee can improve, there’s no moving forward for you or them, and he or she may not see the validity of the criticism simply feel victimised. Chances are, their performance won’t actually improve either.

  1. Listen

Performance reviews aren’t just about you expressing your thoughts and views, it’s about how the employee feels as well. Ask open ended questions to encourage employees to be expansive, so they can get things off their chest.

One of the best ways to have a successful review is by letting the employee do the reviewing. Ask them: ‘How have you been doing?’ ‘What can I do to help you develop your skills?’ ‘What would you like your future goals to be and why?’ By letting your employees answer these questions, they’re much more likely to walk away from the review feeling motivated and happy.

  1. Be prepared

A review isn’t just a 15 minute talk about how your employees are feeling; it should be backed up with specific examples and details of good and bad performance that has been undertaken by each employee throughout the year. The more specific examples you have, the more credible the review will be. It also shows the employee that you are noticing and appreciating.

After performance reviews, make sure you come to a summary of the discussion, take action from the review and begin observations for the next review immediately.

We hold regular workshops covering this and other topics.

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