performance review

How to Conduct an Effective Performance Review

Performance reviews can be one of the most stressful aspects of management. Constructive criticism can be just as difficult to give as it is to receive, and it’s safe to say that neither side of the table looks forward to a performance evaluation.

However, performance reviews don’t have to be stressful. The management techniques you use throughout the year will set the stage for the performance review to come, and can help to make the experience smooth, positive, and painless. The following tips will help you to prepare throughout the year for an effective, successful performance review.

Establish clear, measurable objectives.

When you first hire a new employee, make sure that the expectations for him or her clear from the beginning. Try to make the goals and objectives for the employee as metrically measurable as possible. For example, “grow sales by 5%” and “write 10 articles a month” are both numerical, quantifiable goals. The more specific the goals are at the outset, the less room there will be for confusion and dispute during the performance review.

Maintain thorough, ongoing documentation.

As a manager, it is your responsibility to establish a written record of events throughout the course of the year. Be sure to document good things as well as bad things, so that the performance review is not simply a litany of tasks the employee has performed poorly. Aim for a fair and balanced account of both successes and failures during the performance review. If a full year has passed and you have no such data, you will be forced to rely on memory and differing interpretations of events—which is a recipe for disaster.

Have frequent meetings throughout the year.

You should never side-step an issue or avoid a possible confrontation by promising yourself that you’ll “bring it up in the performance review”. You should address situations as they develop in frequent, ongoing meetings throughout the year. In your meetings, be sure to deliver meaningful feedback and communicate openly with your employees. Side-stepping problems until the end of the year will only cost you–and your team members–in the long run.


No employee should ever enter a performance review without already being aware of his or her performance. By providing regular coaching throughout the year, you can ensure that the performance review meeting will be just that–a review. When you manage people well throughout the year, performance evaluations will simply be the final step in an orderly, well-managed process.

For more tips on effectively managing interns, hiring recent college graduates, and more, check out Staffing Logistics’ blog. If you’re seeking qualified new talent in the Piedmont Triad and surrounding areas, contact us today to learn how a staffing agency can make the hiring process simple and easy.

Blog, Employer Tips