How to Write an Employee Performance Review

One of the most important jobs of a manager is evaluating employee performance. Performance reviews, and the popular "360 performance review," are tools that help managers identify strong employees, weak links in the workforce, and candidates for the management track. They also benefit employees, since performance evaluations help workers improve and stay sharp in a competitive job market.

The first part of writing an employee evaluation and conducting a performance review meeting is to gather data. You will need to rely on notes from your observations, and reports from other employees. Give appropriate weight to various job aspects. For example, a worker's technical savvy may be more important than his dress code violations.

Many managers ask employees to write short self-assessments prior to giving an official performance review. Knowing what your workers think of their own performance can help YOU evaluate them fairly too.

When drafting reports, use the compliment sandwich approach. Open with remarks about positive aspects of their job performance, lead into areas that need work, and finally, make a note of other positive points.

For every fault that you observe and report, come up with a concrete method of improvement. For example, if the worker does not say a slogan often enough, don't simply tell her to say it more; tell her specific instances where she can naturally work it into the conversation with customers. Or if an office worker's attire is too casual, give him a list of specific items he should start wearing. Employees like clear directives, and they appreciate when you lead, rather than criticize.

If your company conducts 360 performance reviews, you will need to write evaluations based on surveys from the employees' peers, subordinates, clients, and perhaps vendors. Remember that not all peer reports are created equally. You should give more weight to 360 assessment reports that come from workers who know each other quite well. Some peer evaluations will be useless simply because one party does not really know the other.

If there is any doubt about the validity of 360 performance reports, just remember that you are the boss, and your thoughts carry more weight than anyone else's.

During the next cycle of employee evaluations, be sure to note when your workers have improved in areas that were lacking before. Keep performance reviews on a regular schedule so that productivity and quality are always on your workers' minds.

© Had2Know 2010