Conducting a successful employee performance evaluation is no small task when your end goal is made up of so many moving parts: obtaining valuable feedback on strengths and weaknesses, assessing competency and skills, facilitating goal setting, and weighing up training needs, all while promoting psychological safety and empowering professional development.
It’s no wonder even the most seasoned of managers can spend, on average, 17 hours preparing each employee’s review.
Fortunately, a few small changes to the performance review process can make a huge difference. First thing’s first; we’ve put together a free downloadable performance review template to equip you with the key questions for making the most of your evaluations.
On top of that, we’ve got some handy recommendations on how to improve the way you receive, measure, and implement employee feedback from the get-go.
Goals of an employee performance review
Employee performance reviews are designed for managers and employees to give and receive feedback based on some or all of the following objectives:
- Assessing an individual’s performance in the context of their role and responsibilities.
- Facilitating high performance in the context of corporate goals and KPIs.
- Identifying the need for improvement, training, and/or support.
- Rewarding an individual who has performed above and beyond expectations.
The aim is to gain tangible and measurable metrics around the performance of your employees, teams, and company as a whole. Comprehensive feedback facilitates meaningful decision-making internally and provides an accurate understanding of how they’re contributing to the success of your customers, clients, and overall business. After all, your people are what create returns in your business.
Six common types of performance review
Here’s a breakdown of the most widely-used employee performance review frameworks, their purpose, and the key question they’re designed to answer. You probably recognize and have conducted some, if not all, of these types of evaluation.
- 90-day review: How are they performing, so far? – Managers benchmark employee performance at the 90-day employment mark and set expectations for the future.
- Quarterly review: Are they on track? – Quarterly check-in on an employee’s progress towards individual and team goals that align with the organization’s KPIs.
- Annual review: How did they perform? – Annual evaluation of the employee’s achievements for the year with a discussion of future plans. This provides a historical view of performance to use for further professional development.
- Self-assessment: How do they feel they performed? – Employees share their own perspective on their work, actions, and choices which shows managers how they perceive their performance in relation to their team.
- Peer review: How do their colleagues think they performed? – An employee’s colleagues anonymously evaluate their skills, competence, and performance.
- 360-degree feedback: How does the wider team think they performed? – A combination of key stakeholders assess the employee’s performance. This might include subordinates, peers, and managers from around the organization.
Quick tips: Performance review set-up
When exchanging feedback between employer and employee, there are a few key factors that can make or break the whole process. We recommend that you:
- Use the same performance review questions for both manager and employee to allow for comparison and benchmarking. (i.e. Observe any alignments or misalignments around how they see the employee’s performance).
- When using rating scales, research the ones that’ll work effectively for your organization.
- Try to avoid these biases as much as possible.
- Pair all performance review forms with a one-to-one catch-up.
- Consider a continuous performance management approach to streamline the process (Learn more about this at the end of the post).
Performance review template
To help get you set up for success, you can use the free employee performance review template above to frame your feedback and ensure you’re covering all bases. This is an editable resource so you can tailor it to your organization and what works best for your performance review process.
Benefits of continuous performance management
At a time when 58% of office workers find annual performance reviews stressful and 90% of HR leaders feel traditional performance reviews don’t generate accurate information, it’s clear the performance review process is ready for a refresh. Managers not only have an opportunity to streamline employee evaluations but also a responsibility to alleviate challenges on both sides.
What is continuous performance management?
Effective people management is like watering your pot plants. For them to grow, you don’t just spritz them once a year or every quarter. You check in on them regularly, take cues from their state of wellbeing, and identify and remedy issues early on to help them flourish.
Continuous performance management reflects this idea, replacing the conventional 90-day, annual, and peer review activities with a more regular cadence of valuable touchpoints (on a monthly or weekly basis) between managers and employees.
As a manager, you’re then equipped with timely, accurate, and measurable data to empower strong performance and break down any barriers to success your employees might be facing before they become a bigger problem. For employees, they receive timely, relevant feedback that they can implement in the moment rather than months down the track.
How does it work?
Continuous performance management provides a framework that’s made up of three core actions:
- Reflect: Employee takes time to think about their goal progress, achievements, role satisfaction, and support required.
- Document: Employee and leader make notes and store them in a safe space they can refer back to.
- Discuss: Employee and leader discuss reflections, actions required, and the bigger picture.
Why choose continuous performance management?
Choosing continuous performance management approach and implementing it using HR software like intelliHR enables you to:
- Create a positive review experience: Reduce the build-up of performance review stress with lighter, regular check-ins.
- Enable meaningful and proactive conversation: Have contextual information to use your one-to-one performance meetings productively.
- Hero self-management, self-reflection, and goal setting: Empower individuals to proactively manage their goals and growth within their role and organization.
- Identify barriers, training needs, and growth opportunities early: Stop issues in their tracks and provide support, learning, and development strategies right when they’re needed.
- Gain accurate and measurable insights: Receive and analyze the most up-to-date information on your people and reduce the risk of recency bias.
- Shape company culture with feedback: Build trust and improve team alignment and engagement by implementing feedback intelligently.
- Streamline the performance review process: Efficiently give and receive feedback, saving time and resources. (See how environmental planning firm, EMM, transformed their arduous performance review process into a simple workflow, minimizing time spent on individual performance reviews from 10 hours to 60 minutes, using intelliHR’s continuous performance management tools).
Want to learn more about how to implement Continuous Performance Management in your organization? Check out our ultimate guide.
Final word on the performance review process
We hope you find the free performance review template useful. That being said, we encourage you to consider a more holistic approach to managing quarterly performance, annual evaluation, and employee self evaluation with continuous performance management which can offer benefits that go far beyond the traditional performance review process.