Employee Performance Reviews

Most employees will have a bit of trepidation about their performance review and conversation with their boss – even employees that are good at their job. Is my boss happy with my work? Did I complete all the tasks I was supposed to this year? Am I going to get a raise? What if I’m not happy with the feedback, how do I reply?

If you prepare for the conversation in advance, and make a few notes to refer to, it will ensure you touch on all aspects of their performance and development plan.

Prepare for the Conversation:

  • Review their job responsibilities to determine if their job description is still accurate. If not, discuss the changes during the conversation and update it.
  • Did they accomplish their goals for the year? If not, were there extenuating circumstances such as a change in priorities or being overloaded?
  • Try not to make the conversation a mere checklist of their tasks – make it a discussion of how they accomplished the tasks.

The Discussion
Start the discussion asking him/her how their year was. Did you feel challenged? Overloaded? Underutilized? Do you enjoy the work environment and your coworkers? Did you get the development you were looking for this year? Try to get the employee to give you feedback before you launch into the specifics of their performance.

The information that the employee provides may change how you proceed with your conversation but hopefully, it will add value and clarity to how they perceive your company, management and their contribution to the team.

Performance Feedback
Always start with what they did well. Describe how they contributed to the overall team and company’s success, the areas where they excel and provide as much feedback as you can about the successes they had this year.

If there are areas that need improvement, don’t sugar coat it. If you’re wishy-washy about what they didn’t do well in, the employee may not understand that they actually need to improve. There’s no need to be harsh or blunt, just ensure that the employee understands that there were some weaknesses that need to be addressed. Potentially, through their development plan.

Most employees want to continuously learn and grow within a company. In order to do this, they need the support of their supervisor as well to be given opportunities. Ensure you discuss a development plan for the ensuing year, seeking their feedback on what they feel they need more experience in or would like to tackle (e.g. a new project, working in a different department, education). It’s not always possible to fulfill all of the employee’s needs, but you should be able to formulate a plan that will see increased growth, responsibility and learning.  

Continue Talking
Keep the conversation going throughout the year. Impromptu check-ins should happen – both with praise for a job well done and for follow-up on their development plan and any weaknesses/areas of improvement. The year-end review tends to be more formal, but if that is the only time you’re talking to your employees, you may not catch issues as they arise throughout the year; which can lead to a dissatisfied employee or potentially, discipline.  


Post by: Lynn McIlwee