A performance review is a document meant to appraise employees on how well they complete their job duties. The appraisal should be written with concrete examples to help guide your employees when improvement is necessary and to commend them when performance is on par with, or higher than, your expectations as an employer. Writing a positive appraisal is an effective way to document an employee's outstanding performance and to encourage a continued high-level of work.

Rate your employee's performance on a duty-by-duty basis using poor, satisfactory, above satisfactory and outstanding to give your employee a visual representation of success with each task. For every duty, write specific examples that illustrate your rating. If an employee is rated outstanding, point to specific examples of work product where this has been demonstrated.

Reference the standards that you outlined for your employee at the time of hire. If you rate performance less than satisfactory, outline a plan for your employee to follow that will help meet your expectations. Include a specific time frame in which you would like to see improvement. For outstanding employees, explain how to continue to perform the tasks well and offer additional responsibilities that will help the employee advance in the organization.

Use measurable behavior and not many adjectives. Rather than writing, "Joe is a hard worker," write "Joe closed five major sales over a three-month period while managing his sales team." Be honest in your appraisal as well. Don't write that you see no possible areas in which an employee can improve. Even an outstanding employee can excel in ways that are not specified in the review.

Conclude your performance review with a summary of the information that you discussed and the actions taken regarding the appraisal, such as time frame for improvement and established goals. For an outstanding review, write suggestions for other avenues within the company that your employee may strive for.

Meet with your employee to administer the review. Explain the appraisal and allow your employee to look it over. Make time for questions, then sign it and have your employee do the same. Keep the performance review on record in the employee's file for comparison at the next appraisal.