Years end is an exciting time for most people. It’s a time for family and celebration, gift-giving, and remembering the humanity of the world. For some people, though, it’s a stressful time fraught with finishing up work and completing annual performance reviews. Yet this stress isn’t one-sided. Managers and employees alike must prepare to sit through lengthy interviews, document details in-depth, and face a potentially awkward confrontation if an employee has performed particularly poorly. This is compounded by the lack of performance review samples.
With the right approach, though, performance reviews are a chance to motivate employees for the future, celebrate their strengths in the past, and make adjustments where needed. The goal is to foster growth, not anxiety. However, because of the stress surrounding performance reviews, many managers are unsure of what a review should even look like. In this article, we will provide a sample performance review and break it down into each part to give a detailed explanation of how to craft a powerful and effective performance review.
Sample Performance Review
Employee Name: John Doe
Employee Number: 1234567890
Position Title: Junior Executive
Reviewer Name: Jane Roe
Reviewer Position: Operations Manager
John Doe is currently responsible for negotiating and establishing new contracts with clients. John is responsible for setting up sales visits and demonstrating new products to the consumer. John occasionally attends industry conferences and exhibitions for market research.
Benchmarks Met: To date, John has met all of his monthly targets before the deadline, putting him in line to finish out the yearly objective of securing three new contracts per month. John has secured roughly $120,000 of new contracts in the last 11 months.
Areas of Strength: John works quickly and efficiently to achieve results before the deadline, showing good time management skills. John has also shown developing leadership skills by taking charge when called upon to do so and playing an active role in meetings. John’s salesmanship and customer interaction have lent to his ability to land new contracts in a timely and effective manner.
Areas of Improvement: John’s approach to innovation is outdated and overly rigid. More creative insights would improve his performance in the office. John’s worker-to-worker communication skills are also prone to miscommunication because he does not deliver information concisely. This translates into an inability to effectively work as a team member and has caused several group contracts to be held up.
Goals for the Future: John should work to develop a more professional approach for worker-to-worker interactions. His role in the team should not be understated as he is a competent salesman. In the coming quarter, John should continue to take an active leadership role but focus the same attention he gives to individual sales on working better with coworkers. Listening and working with others will lend to John’s creativity. In the coming year, we expect John to secure at least four new contracts a month, and expanding his skill set will help achieve this goal.
Reviewer Signature: Jane Roe
Employee Signature: John Doe
Download the sample performance review.
Moving past the standard employee and reviewer information, an employee performance review should start with a summary of an employee’s strengths. It’s best to point out where they have done well to set the tone of the meeting. If you jump straight into the negative, the employee will immediately feel attacked and lock up without hearing the constructiveness of your critic. It also serves to point out what the employee should keep doing. In the example, John is shown to be an effective salesman. This is a skill later noted as something he should keep up in the future.
After highlighting the employee’s strengths, then move on to the areas where they need improvement. Note the tone used in the comments. It is direct and specific as to what the problem is. Rather than being vague and polite, quickly getting to the point allows the reviewer to get on to the solutions. Give specific examples, if possible, so that the employee can learn from real-world situations. Also, note that the criticisms are constructive rather than reprimanding. Again, the point of a performance review is to build up employees so they can grow.
Once all the employee’s strengths and weaknesses have been examined, it’s time to move on to what the company’s expectations are for the future. This should lay out exactly how the employee can grow and improve on their shortcomings as well as how their growth will help them reach their and the company’s goals for the next quarter or year. Again, note that the tone lacks any flowery language to stay as direct as possible.
To hit the high points one last time, an effective performance review should:
- Celebrate where employees have succeeded
- Motivate employees to grow in the future
- Be direct and honest in their criticisms
- Be constructive, not chastising, so watch how you phrase things
- Give specific examples when possible
- Get to the point without being overly flowery
If you remember to work these points into your employee performance review comments, you’ll be giving more detailed and more powerful reports than ever before.
For so long, performance reviews have been nothing more than a cause for stress, but they shouldn’t be. At their best, performance reviews are a chance to sit down and communicate exactly how well or poorly an employee is doing. It’s not about just criticizing or just praising your workers; it’s about helping them grow. Feedback is a tool to guide and grow employees into more productive and effective workers.
If you’ve been hesitant to start the performance review season simply because you weren’t sure what even to say, don’t worry. By following our guide, you’ll provide employees with exactly the right information they need to benefit themselves and the business. Alternatively, upgrading to a performance management platform could streamline the entire process. By upgrading to an online cloud-based platform, you could provide feedback in real time, eliminating the hassle of quarterly or annual reviews. For more information, feel free to contact us, and we would be happy to get you set up. Download the ebook “The Skeptics Guide to Performance Management“ and get started on improving your performance management process.