Employee-performance reviews are a way for companies to monitor and compare employee performance and effectiveness. The review process is generally used to determine wage increases, but it also provides the opportunity for a manager to give feedback on employee strengths, potential and areas for improvement. Many companies use a standardized template for performance reviews that includes a scored rubric, comments and goals. The reviewing manager completes this form for record-keeping purposes, and the information is shared with the employee in a one-on-one meeting.
Read the review form. Performance review forms are often in a rubric template, where numeric scores are given to describe performance. For example, 1 might mean unsatisfactory, and 5 might mean outstanding. Look over the form before beginning, so you understand the expectations for completion.
Look through the employee's personnel file for examples of positive and negative performance. These could include awards or documentation of disciplinary action. Make copies of these to keep with the review form.
Consider the employee's job description. This may or may not be printed on the review form. Assign a score to the employee's overall job performance and understanding of tasks.
Review attendance records from the personnel file to determine a score for attendance. Use your judgment based on established dress code to formulate a score for uniform presentation.
Write comments to explain the reasoning behind the scores you chose. For example, if you give the employee a below average score for attendance, note the number of absences or tardiness in the review period. Keep the documentation handy.
Write additional comments in the assigned area at the bottom of the review form. Strengths can include characteristics documented by the awards or recognition received in the review period, such as teamwork and customer service. Areas for improvement should tie back to the low-scoring areas on the rubric, such as attendance or job tasks that are not completed satisfactorily.
Write goals based on the areas in which the employee can improve performance. If the area for improvement is job-task related, create a goal for completing additional training.
When reviewing overall job performance, you may find it helpful to assign a score to each line item of the job description and average the numbers for an overall score. If you are unsure or have never witnessed certain areas for review, ask other employees or line supervisors for feedback. Do not wait until the day of the review meeting to complete the review form. Plan to work on it for several days and put thought into it. Since performance reviews are generally annual events, you should think about to some extent it all year long as you supervise your employees. Consider allowing the employee to create one or two goals of his own based on areas he thinks could be improved. Ask for this in advance and discuss it together during the review meeting. If you are uncertain about the values of the numeric scale, ask the human resources department for examples of the types of performance that would result in each score.
Your personal feelings toward the employee have no place in the review. Base your scores solely on performance and other areas of the rubric. Use complete sentences and proper grammar. This is a business document that will be kept on permanent file.
Heather Lacey is a freelance writer who has been specializing in print and Web articles since 2008. She is a regular contributor to "Go Gilbert!," "Scottsdale Health Magazine" and other local publications. Lacey has a professional background in hospitality management and studied journalism at Phoenix College.