Execs: How to Ensure Your Management Team is Conducting Effective Performance Reviews

Are employee performance reviews still a relevant, essential factor toward the infrastructure of a successful work staff? Well, if not properly executed, a performance review may actually seem more like an unproductive dispersion of both the employer’s and employee’s time. For instance, a review which focuses almost exclusively on the negative aspects of an employee’s work performance with little or no emphasis on the positive can result in the lowered morale and overall dissatisfaction of the employee. However, if performed correctly, performance reviews can be a very helpful tool; not only for the employer, but also for the employee as well.

Performance Reviews - professionals speaking at desk

Employee performance reviews hold importance beyond simply letting employees know where they may have fallen short.

The simple definition of a job performance review is an evaluation or appraisal of an individual employee’s overall job performance, yet the process involves so much more.  Reviews offer employers a more in-depth depiction of the effectiveness of the company’s chosen method of training and other strategies.  It also allows managers and department leaders to identify the working differences between departments so they will later be able to maximize and improve upon specific areas.  For example, if employees in the accounting department show significantly lower performance results than those in the IT department, then department leaders know where to focus their efforts for improvements in training, management, and employee engagement strategy.

Moreover, performance reviews can help employers accurately view an employee’s strengths and weaknesses.  Management is offered a basis from which to encourage an employee’s use of their strongest suits and attributes, while building upon other areas in need of improvement.  Reviews are also useful guides when considering team members for promotions. By assessing employees’ strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments, and goals, employers can better determine the best candidate for the job.

Executives should make certain that managers are adhering to certain fundamentals when delivering performance reviews.

As Susan M. Heathfield notes in her article, 10 Tips for Effective Performance Reviews, consistent feedback and communication with employees should be a regular managerial practice.  Therefore, an employee should not be discovering, for the first time, the positives and negatives of their work performance at a formal review meeting. The annual performance review should rather be a point of re-emphasis and discussion of essential points that have been previously uncovered.

Reviewers should take the time to thank, compliment, and congratulate employees as they perform above and beyond, and add value to the organization.

Employee performance reviews should never concentrate more on the negative areas than the positive. The reason for the review is to acknowledge what the employee is doing right as well as what is in need of improvement. In other words, the review is not intended as an opportunity to chastise, but to find a way to work together for an overall improvement.

The performance review is also an opportune time to discuss goals and strategies, as they relate to both the employer and the employee.  Additionally – and quite importantly – the manager must remember that the employee is not the only one whose performance should be assessed during this process. This is an excellent time to improve communication and engagement by encouraging the employee to provide their own feedback and perspective.

Performance Reviews - professional man and woman speaking over laptop

Adopt a consistent foundation for review and employee performance rating system.

Executives should make certain that all managers within the organization are adhering to the same pre-approved rating system for all performance reviews to ensure fairness and accuracy.

When creating a template for a performance review, it is a good idea to have some basic requirements or sections. These should include:

  • A firm and detailed description of the employee’s job title and duties
  • A description of the rating system and how it is factored
  • A section to detail the employee’s strengths and accomplishments
  • A section to detail the employee’s areas that need work
  • A section to list goals and planning, and how to accomplish the goals
  • A section for the employee to provide feedback

When using a rating system, it is important to explain how the system will or will not affect the employee. A typical rating system will have sections ranging from excellent, wherein the employee’s performance has been exceptional, to needing improvement, or even unsatisfactory.

Rating systems can be done generally, for all employees, but it is also a good idea to have task-oriented ratings as well as departmental. This will give the reviewer and the employee a better overall view of success and areas that need work.

Various employee performance review templates and layouts can be found on the web at tidyforms.com and shrm.org.

Executives who maintain vigilance to a fair process of communications and interactions within their organization will find they are leading a company that runs both efficiently, and happily.


Fred Coon, CEO


At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.