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Conducting a Successful Performance Review

Performance reviews or evaluations can be intimidating for both the employee and the employer. On one hand, your employees are hoping you'll sing their praises, and on the other, as much as you'd like to sing their praises, your main focus while conducting a performance review is to provide honest feedback on how good (or not so good) they've been performing.


To help you conduct performance reviews as successfully (and smoothly) as possible, we've provided some tried and true tips to help with the process!





What is an Employee Performance Review?

A performance review or evaluation is usually conducted as a formal meeting between an employee and their manager(s) to discuss an in-depth assessment of the employee's performance - and their overall contribution to the company - over a certain length of time.


Are Performance Reviews Necessary?

Absolutely! A review serves as a time to praise, boost morale, and offer assistance where an employee may need it. The majority of employees make a more conscious effort in their work and even their attendance when there is a review to look forward to, which is terrific for productivity.


Other benefits of conducting performance reviews include:

  • Keeping your employees engaged

  • Improved communication between staff and upper management

  • Clarification of job expectations

  • Chance to reward deserving employees with pay increases and/or promotions

Set Aside Time

To start any review off on a good note, we suggest keeping up with each employee's hire date and the date when they are due for their first review. This can be done with HR software or by hiring the help of an HR professional. By doing this, you will have the advantage of approaching your employee with the news of their review as opposed to them having to approach you about it.


Come Prepared

Gathering information for performance reviews is something that should be done periodically throughout every employee's duration with the company, but if not, make it a point to gather information at least two weeks to a month in advance of the review. This information can include things like development/growth, attendance, leadership, or any areas where further training/improvement can be made.


The discussion is, of course, all about the employee, but by no means should your employee be the only one to add any feedback; so always come prepared with notes!


Be Honest

As intimidating as performance reviews may be for everyone involved, they can also be joyful! If the employee comes in each day and goes above and beyond, celebrate and commend them for it. Tell them, in your own words, just how much you appreciate them!


However, if the employee is not meeting their expected potential or seems to be having trouble, you must be honest and acknowledge it. Yes, it may be awkward, but every employee deserves the right to know where they stand and how to get better. Be sure to clearly communicate shortcomings and expected improvement. Set measurable goals and provide the tools to obtain them!


Tools You Can Use

There are many different tools available to employers to assist in conducting performance reviews. If you do not already have a dedicated HR representative to manage the review process, tools can be obtained via sources like SHRM or even through some payroll providers.


One popular tool amongst employers is the 5-point rating scale, in which different areas of an employee's job criteria are rated from 1 (unsatisfactory) to 5 (exceptional). Qualitative appraisals are another common option, where accomplishments, strengths, and opportunities for improvement are discussed.


Another option for employers is to incorporate your own unique rating system, crafted specifically for your business and each job description within it. It's typical for companies that prefer this method to bring in the help of an HR provider.


Always End on a Positive Note

Before wrapping everything up, always allow the employee to share their thoughts and feelings by creating a safe, neutral atmosphere for them to discuss any questions or concerns. This helps to resolve any misunderstandings or miscommunications and provides you with better insights into company functionality.


It's important to reiterate that frequent communication between employees and their supervisors is always encouraged. Employees should feel comfortable initiating performance conversations with their supervisors at any time if they believe that additional feedback is needed.



Performance reviews can be extremely nerve-wracking, but they don't have to be! That's what Elevated HR is here for! Visit our website at the link below and give us a call if you need a hand!











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