Do you feel like you could get more out of your performance reviews? These one-on-one meetings should be dialogues with employees that help them grow and thrive. Rather than feeling intimidated by the review, employees will then look forward to the conversation. Using these eight tactics will allow you and your employees to get the most out of your formal reviews. 

Stop having performance conversations just once a year.

The best leaders give their employees continuous feedback and coaching rather than waiting until an annual performance review. Having regular check-ins to let employees know where they stand will help them adjust their performance continuously instead of just once a year. Many leaders also hold formal reviews every six months or once per quarter as opposed to only holding an annual review.

Review your notes.

By taking careful notes on employees’ progress throughout the year, you’ll have a more accurate perception of how they are performing. Before your formal review, look back over your journal of employee performance to refresh your memory about all of the key events that should influence the conversation. Encourage employees to keep a log of their performance, too, so they’ll also remember specific details.

Take the time to listen.

Only 26% of employees believe they receive accurate performance reviews. The performance review should be a two-way street, which means giving employees time to share their thoughts on how they’ve progressed. Make your formal reviews a 50-50 discussion by asking employees to speak about their challenges and successes. Asking great questions will ensure a productive conversation and show employees that you value their perspective.

Look at employees’ progress toward their goals.

Evaluate whether employees have met their goals. Consider whether they need to improve, or whether they’ve exceeded expectations. Look for specific evidence that they’ve met particular goals—and if they haven’t, discuss how they can advance the rest of the way there. By eliminating confusion around where employees stand and working with them to create a plan, you’ll empower them to succeed. 

Maintain a supportive tone.

When you’re delivering constructive criticism, your goal is to support the employee’s growth. Keeping a positive tone will remind employees that you’re committed to helping them advance, and thus, the criticism is for their benefit. It will help them reach the next level in their career. Remind them of their key strengths that will help them improve, which will show that you believe in them and help them envision the path to success.

Put it in writing.

You’re discussing a lot of information all at once, so create a written summary before the review that you can give the employee. Include all the key points you plan to discuss regarding their progress and areas for improvement. After the review, your employees can reflect on the conversation more clearly, which means your input will help them take the next steps toward their goals. 

Set stretch goals.

If employees have achieved their goals for the review period, it’s time to set new ones. Set stretch goals with your employees that will help them expand their potential. Stretch goals help people push their limits, although they shouldn’t be so ambitious that they seem unattainable. Having stretch goals to work toward keeps employees motivated and engaged in their work.

Provide valuable training resources.

Think outside the box about what training opportunities will most benefit employees. Perhaps having a peer mentor will provide networking opportunities as well as the confidence to make strides in their career. Attending professional trainings can also give them the motivation to reach higher. These strategies will ensure employees keep growing long after the review is over. 


By integrating these eight tactics into your formal reviews, you’ll help your team flourish and show how much you value them as individuals. And remember, the review is just the start—give employees plenty of support as they work to implement the success strategies you’ve agreed upon together!


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