If your employees shudder at the mention of “performance review”, you’re not doing it right. The modern performance review can be one of the best tools for an employee, regardless of how well or how poorly they are performing.

Those who are doing well will get the motivation they need to stay on track and a sense of loyalty to the company. Underperformers will get a non-judgmental course-correction that puts them on the road to success.

All this from a performance review? Yes, and here is how you can do it.

Short Intervals

Annual performance reviews are a relic of the past. It is often impossible to salvage a situation that has been out of view for twelve months, which is what happens when managers and employees do not discuss performance. Most companies settle on quarterly reviews but others even conduct them on a monthly basis.

Increased regularity means that each review can be shorter in duration as problematic issues are more likely to be nipped in the bud and not spill over to subsequent months. The time savings in this strategy alone are more than worth the time invested in each review.


Remove uncertainty from your performance reviews. Every employee should know in advance the criteria on which they are assessed, and the manner in which that information is shared. Welcome their input if they wish to add a particular aspect to the review process.

This collaborative approach will eliminate much of the anxiety around performance reviews, and allow every employee to focus their thoughts and emotions on learning and constructive progress.


Subjective reviews are notoriously unreliable, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. Replace them with data-based information and conclusions that are the essence of any trustworthy review.

This blind approach to assessment can also help the assessor see the subject in a new light, devoid of preconceived notions and personal opinions. Coupled with the assurance of fairness and egalitarianism it provides the employee under review, this makes a data-centric approach invaluable.

Positive, Too

So much of the fear that employees have of performance reviews stems from the process’s reputation as being one long barrage of criticism. Instead, a review should focus on the positive, too. This shows employees that their contributions are recognized by the people who matter.

In this regard, performance reviews are one of the best tools in your hands to retain talented and hardworking personnel.


Performance reviews should touch on the progress since the last meeting but should focus more intently on creating a roadmap for future success. This rewards high performers with recognition and positive reinforcement while giving others the constructive criticism that they need to excel in the future.

For assistance crafting a great performance review process, feel free to reach out.