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The Performance Review, consisting of a formal Performance Appraisal and Performance Appraisal Meeting, is the cornerstone of a company’s Performance Management System. The Performance Appraisal, usually performed on an employee’s anniversary or annually based on a company-wide schedule, is a document used to assess the overall performance of the employee for the defined period.  This is a formal document and is utilized to make employment-based decisions. Keep in mind, these employment decisions may be made by future managers; thus, it is important to document your appraisal to be kept in an employee’s file. The Performance Appraisal and the Performance Appraisal Meeting should be a time to reevaluate expectations, communicate the employee’s overall successes and areas for improvement, as well as guide their future development by establishing defined, achievable, and measurable goals.

Writing and delivering a Performance Appraisal is a necessary skill for every manager, but not one that happens automatically. Below are 5 Tips to writing an effective and meaningful Performance Appraisal.

  • The meeting should be private and scheduled for at least one hour to allow for discussion. It should be positive, constructive, and open in nature, to facilitate communication and dialogue between the manager and the employee. This dialogue helps to set the tone of the meeting and promotes an atmosphere of trust where there can be productive goal-setting and an understanding of future expectations.
  • Objectivity is important and managers must be conscientious of not allowing personal biases to overshadow performance. Staying away from statements like, “I feel John is a strong team player…” is subjective and not effective at communicating the message. Instead, statements like, “John illustrated his strong teamwork skills when he volunteered during his downtime to assist the administrative team to get the ABC proposal out on time.” Using concrete examples and objective language can also assist in communicating poor performance or missed expectations by tying the behavior to a factual example.
  • Performance management is a joint project and not solely the responsibility of management. The more an employee is engaged in this process, the more effective a manager will be at directing and redirecting behavior. Some ways to increase engagement is to have employees complete their own self-evaluation reviewing their performance. Providing the employee with a copy of their review prior to the meeting gives them the opportunity to provide feedback and formulate questions, thus, allowing for a more productive meeting.
  • Do not avoid addressing poor performance, or allow a single event to overshadow the review period. “Beating around the bush” or hinting at poor performance isn’t a constructive way to achieve the goal, which is to redirect poor performance. Managers should be direct and provide supporting examples. In order to be successful, the employee must have a solid understanding of the expectations moving forward.
  • Consider utilizing developmental tools such as Performance Plans and Career Development Plans. Performance Plans are utilized for short-term improvement in certain defined areas. The Performance Plan will include goals, any necessary training opportunities and associated time frames, and review periods to assess progress. The Career Development Plan is a tool utilized to focus an employee’s work experience and training on long-term organizational needs or personal interests. This is a long-term goal that will show an employee a future path in the organization while setting up succession planning and growth opportunities.

Oasis works with our clients and managers to not only create Performance Reviews that effectively measure performance for your organization, but we can also provide training, coaching, and consultation on how to deliver a Performance Review. As a stand-alone, a written Performance Appraisal is not effective, but in conjunction with an overall system that provides regular feedback and goal-setting, the Performance Appraisal can be an effective tool to ensure long-term employee engagement and organizational growth.

To learn more about making the Performance Review process at your company more effective, send us an email at

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