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8 Ways to Write Effective Employee Performance Reviews

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Performance review methods differ from organization to organization, but the basic principles of how to properly communicate with an employee about his or her performance remain the same.

Always begin on a positive note, recognize goals that were met, identify goals that were not met, use your words carefully, get help writing your review, have a discussion, talk about future expectations, and end it positively.

Here are eight ways to write an effective employee performance review.

Start on a positive note

Begin every employee review by bringing up some of their accomplishments and positive qualities. Almost every employee has some good traits. Even if their overall performance was quite unsatisfactory, it is good to mention the positives first.

Be specific when writing these comments. When you are specific, it tells your employee you noticed their contributions, while being vague comes off as impersonal and may be interpreted as you not noticing their contributions.

Recognize goals that were met

Next, go over some goals your employee accomplished during the evaluation period.

You don’t need to specifically go over each goal, but it is a good idea to write down their notable accomplishments. You may have time later to talk about the rest in person. Focus on the accomplishments that had the most significant impact on their department or business overall, advises Victor Brubaker, HR at Assignment Help.

Identify goals that were not met

After talking about some of your employee’s victories, it’s time to talk about elements they can improve on. Be fair in your written remarks, making it clear whether or not their deficiencies were acceptable, given the circumstances.

Sometimes other priorities get in the way, or challenges arise. Make it clear to your employee you are aware of these factors, should they be in play. It’s not necessary to nitpick every incident, unless you are doing so in preparation for taking further action.

Use your words carefully

The way you phrase things and the words you choose are important. In his book, Effective Phrases for Performance Appraisals, James E. Neal talks about five words and phrases that are useful for highlighting an employee’s contributions. He mentions ‘achievement’, and recommends inserting it into sentences such as ‘achieves optimal performance levels.’

Neal also believes communication, creativity, improvement, and management are also useful words for discussing an employee’s performance. Richard Grote, author of How to Be Good at Performance Appraisals, recommends using measurement-oriented words like ‘excels,’ ‘possesses,’ and ‘directs’ rather than words such as ‘good’ or ‘excellent.’

employee performance

Get help with writing performance reviews

Writing doesn’t come easily to everyone, so don’t be afraid to get some help from the professionals. Here are some good resources to get you started:

  • Via Writing and SimpleGrad – These are helpful grammar resources you can use to ensure your grammar is flawless. It’s important that, as a manager, you show you care about the details of your review.
  • UKWritings and BoomEssays – These are proofreading tools, suggested by UK Essay Writing Service, will help you write a performance review that is polished and error-free.
  • StudyDemic and WritingPopulist – These are useful writing communities you can check out for ideas and advice on writing your performance review. Get some help from other writers if you get stuck.
  • EssayRoo and Assignment Writing Service – These are online editing tools, reviewed by BestAustralianWriters in Australian Help review, to help you ensure your review has a good flow and is free of errors.
  • MyWritingWay and AcademAdvisor – These are useful writing guides that will help you write a review that is well-written, properly structured, and flows well.

Have a discussion

Your written review brings up some important points, but it’s best to continue the discussion in person, and in more depth. Encourage your employees to give some feedback on the points you raised. Take some time to talk about solutions to the problems identified in your review.

If the discussion becomes heated, it’s a good idea to stop before words are said and regretted. Consider continuing the discussion later, in person, or even over email.

Talk about expectations for next year

Look ahead to future goals and developments for the employee. This section isn’t a formal development plan, but rather a starting point for further conversation about the employee’s career development in the next year. Unless the employee had a significantly unsatisfactory performance, keep this part positive.

End it positively

End your employee’s performance review on a positive note. Let the employee know you appreciate their efforts and encourage them. Ending on this note will be a bonus to an already positive review, or cheer up an employee who received a less than positive evaluation. Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator.

If you take these tips to heart and practice them, you will develop a significant tool for managing your employees. Performance reviews can be a valuable tool for both managers and employees. Follow these eight keys to write effective employee performance reviews.


About the author: Grace Carter is a writer at Big Assignments and Australian Help, where she proofreads content and consults about email marketing. Moreover, she also writes for Revieweal, an online website that reviews writing services.

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