How to Write a Great Performance Review in 10 Steps

Here is a brief excerpt from an article by Melany Gallant for Halogen Software’s TalentSpace blog. To read the complete article, check out others, learn more about the firm, and sign up for email alerts, please click here.

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No matter how long you’ve been a manager, most of us struggle with writing employee performance reviews.

We want to be fair. We want to help our employees. We want to do them well. We don’t want to cause conflict.

So I thought I’d share what I think are the 10 steps you need to take to write a performance review that will truly help support employee performance and development, and strengthen your working relationships.

Here are four of the ten:

1. Start by familiarizing yourself with your performance review process and forms

From year to year, HR groups often make small changes or improvements to their employee performance review process and forms; I know we do here at Halogen. And sometimes they reengineer the process all together to better follow best practices.

If you don’t know already, find out if your organization’s process has changed, what all the steps and tasks are, and what forms to use. That way you’ll have a good understanding of what’s expected of everyone, and what information you’ll need to write your performance reviews.

If your HR team offers any training for managers, sign up for it.

2. Refresh your skills at giving feedback, coaching and developing employees and setting goals.

Giving feedback, coaching employees, identifying learning needs, writing goals — these are not easy tasks. Even experienced managers struggle sometimes. And we’re continually learning new ways to do all of these more effectively.

So before you sit down to write your employee performance reviews, spend some time further developing your own management skills. If you don’t have time to sign up for a course, there are lots of online resources available that can help you. (I’ve linked to a few resources above. There’s also this great employee feedback and coaching template you can download).

3. Gather information about your employees’ performance

However your organization conducts the performance review cycle (be it monthly, quarterly, annually, what have you), remember that the performance review is exactly that — a review. You need to consider your employees’ performance over the entire timeframe of the review cycle; not how they’ve performed recently.

Now’s the time to comb through the notes and reports you’ve been making about your employees’ performance since their last review. Look for emails from others that give feedback or recognize contributions. Collect up any awards and course certificates.

The performance review is exactly that — a review of past performance.

4. Familiarize yourself and your employees with organizational goals for the coming year

Since you’ll be drafting employee goals for the next review cycle, as part of your performance review meeting, you need to make sure both you and your employees are familiar with the organization’s goals. That way you can draft role-appropriate goals that help contribute to the organization’s goals.

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

Melany is a Certified Human Capital Strategist and the Halogen Software blog manager responsible for coordinating our authors’ posts and providing social media insight as it relates to HR strategy and organizational objectives. For the Halogen blog, Melany writes about tips and best practices for driving employee motivation, performance and development. She is a total book nerd and a die-hard fan of her family and chocolate.

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