How to Write a Performance Appraisal

How to Write a Performance Appraisal

Knowing how to write a performance appraisal is a good way of enhancing your writing and analytical skills. Besides, it is also an avenue for evaluating yourself and determining the best steps to take in order to deliver good performance in your field. Keep reading for tips on how to write a performance appraisal and well written examples to motivate you in crafting an outstanding one.

A performance appraisal is a document that is used to examine and evaluate the work and general conduct of an employee. It details the responsibilities, achievements and also challenges of a person to assist in determining the areas where he or she requires help or improvement. In most occasions, performance appraisals are often written by managers or consultants to give feedback to employees, showing areas that should be corrected for success.

While at school, you can also be asked to write a performance appraisal as an assignment. On the other hand, your instructor or tutor can also ask you to write a self-performance appraisal for reviewing your academic performance. After school, you will also need the skills for writing performance reviews at work. This implies it is of great importance that you know how to write a performance appraisal.

Knowing how to write performance reviews can enable you to deliver outstanding academic papers since the writing formats are almost similar. Besides, it is also an ideal way of improving your general communication skills.

In order for a manager or instructor to make a proper judgment on an individual’s performance, the individual’s past and present records are compared to the set targets in terms of work. And, a good performance appraisal can significantly enhance your career.

Tips on how to write a performance appraisal

A performance review can be used to determine the efficiency or effectiveness of an individual in his or her work. Further, it will help in making decisions on whether the person reviewed should be put through training or even dropped in order to ensure successful results. Considering this, there are certain preparations that have to be made in order to deliver an accurate and honest appraisal.

The following are more tips on how to write a performance appraisal

Take time to determine what to write

A performance review or appraisal should reflect the true traits, specific areas of an individual’s responsibilities and how he or she has so far executed them. In order for you to write an honest and factual review, it is important that you first take time to determine the things that you want to discuss in the appraisal.

In case you are writing a self-performance appraisal, try to take a proper look at yourself. Highlight some of the key competences, experiences and even conducts that can be used to describe your performance since they are the main elements that will be documented in the appraisal.

On the other hand, if the performance appraisal is about another person, for instance, an employee, you have to carefully study the person’s conduct and work performance in order to know what to write about him or her.

An effective performance review should be based on facts and not your thoughts, imaginations or opinions about an individual. Therefore, you have to do your research well in order to get the right information.

In case there is something important about the subject that you are not sure of, it is always advisable that you ask in advance, instead of giving perceived or false information.

Take notes on the key aspects

As you prepare what to write in the appraisal, it is also important that you know some of the key elements that should be highlighted in the document.

List down some of the past and present details about the subject of the review. These include aspects like his or her general behavior, assignments or responsibilities assigned and how they were accomplished backed by examples or evidence of the same.

Try to acquire as much information about the subject as possible since you will need to be more comprehensive in writing and clearly tell the reader that you truly understand that person. For instance, if you are discussing about the successes of the subject, you will have to give an example of a duty or responsibility that he or she excelled in.

A properly written performance appraisal should vividly show the subject’s strengths, weaknesses as well as establishing performance goals for the next term or period of business. Besides, it should also cover the roles played by the individual or employee as part of a team.

The following are features of a good performance appraisal that you should take note of;

  • Clarity and transparency in every given detail
  • Portray objective standards that are equally applied
  • The appraisal must be a review of the subject
  • Should allow for feedback from the employee or subject
  • Should provide an action plan

You should also note that a performance appraisal is a formal document that should be written in the appropriate language.

Draft an outline

An outline is a precise presentation of the actual points that will be addressed in the appraisal. It should act as a guide to show you what to write in the desired format.

In the outline, you should write down short notes highlighting the key points to address and evidence that will be used to support the sentiments expressed therein.

How to write a performance appraisal steps to follow

The following steps will guide you on how to write a performance appraisal with ease.

Sharing the successes

It is advisable that you begin the appraisal by looking at the feedback previously received, completed projects and initiatives launched. This will give a snapshot of the subject’s past performance.

In the opening statements, you should also reveal the goals or targets of the subject. The outlined goals should be aligned with the strategy of the company or institution.

Show what has been learned

Write something about what the person being reviewed has learnt. This should be focused on those lessons aimed at enhancing the subject’s skills. Besides, it is also important to describe how the new skills have helped in career development. The appraisal should indicate how the lessons learned have been applied in the subject’s area of operation towards the achievement of set goals and objectives.

Talk about some challenges

Use this opportunity to also address some of the challenges faced in the year and how they were overcome. Besides, you can also say how you plan to tackle them in the future.

In writing the review, it is important that you present a constructive criticism. Try to be direct and clear when discussing shortcomings or mistakes, but also provide solutions to them.

In case there is a point that you suspect maybe contentious or cause problems with the appraisal, it is advisable that you simply ignore it.

End on a positive note      

A performance appraisal should close by showing appreciation and encouragement to the subject. This can go a long way in motivating the person to even do better next time. At the end of the appraisal, you should also include an action plan showing the way forward or suggesting areas of improvement.

Always remember to also take some time to proofread and edit your work after writing.

Examples of performance appraisals

Reading sample performance reviews is also another way through which you can easily find out how to write a performance appraisal. The following are some examples that you should look at in order to effectively master the art of crafting good performance reviews.

Example 1                                

Written performance appraisal sample

Exceeds expectations

John continuously exceeds the manager expectations in the role of a trainer. He effectively adapts to change, works very well while maintaining a positive attitude, and has exceptional ability in giving details…

Meets expectations

John meets management expectations for a person in a trainer role. He does not adopt well to the shifting nature of client-facing positions and cannot work well under pressure…

Example 2

Performance review for a New Product Manager


Communications 3.20 – Meets requirements

Mike displays very good verbal skills, communicating clearly and concisely. He shows good listening skills and comprehends complex matters well…

Managing people 3.33 – Meets requirements

Mike provides clear direction and has little problem gaining compliance from others. He gives consistent, valuable feedback…

Example 3

Performance review for a Senior Accounts Manager


Job knowledge – Exceeds requirements

Sam reads and researches extensively, staying ahead of key current development that might impact her career. She ingeniously puts the tools and resources at her disposal to maximum use…

Communications – Outstanding performance

Sam demonstrates outstanding written communication skills. She listens carefully, asks perceptive questions, and quickly comprehends new or highly complex matters…

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