How to Write a Performance Review for an Employee

How to Write a Performance Review for an Employee

Writing performance reviews for employees can be a tough task for a boss or HR manager. Giving constructive feedback to your employees is important to enhance continuity of business operations. Through annual or semiannual performance reviews, employees get reports about their productivity and areas that need improvement. Figuring out how to write a performance review for an employee is necessary since you must balance between commendation and criticism.

Performance reviews allow the manager and employees to have a meaningful conservation towards their contribution to the growth of the company. Even though several informal conversations with employees could form part of the review, having a written performance review helps workers to understand where they stand.

An employee can always refer to this document to stick to the advice from the manager and maintain expected standard between now and when the organization conducts another review. Thus, write performance reviews that are thorough, clear and easy to comprehend. Below are some of the keys to successful writing of a performance review for your employees.

Here are some Tips on how to Write a Performance Review for an Employee

Do you want to know how to write a performance review for an employee? Here are the tips to remember:

Be comprehensive: A good performance review for employees should be comprehensive, covering all the phases of employees’ job description. Do not make it all positive or all negative since every employee has his or her two sides. It should be a healthy analysis aimed at helping your staff to perform their roles better.

Give specific and relevant feedback. General comments do not serve the purpose of correcting employees. Point out particular areas where the individual has performed well or underperformed and recommend course of action to either maintain or improve respectively. Be honest and pinpoint the strengths of your employees.

Give goals for the upcoming year. Besides focusing on how an employee has performed, prepare him or her for the days ahead. Give specific roles and make them understand that they are part of the entire workforce working together to realize common goals.

Sample Performance review of an employee showing competences against the score.

COMPETENCES SCORE (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Commercial judgment
Technical knowledge
Machinery skills
Reporting and administration

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Writing a Performance Review for an Employee Using Informal Feedback

Remember that writing performance reviews for employees is not a one-day event. You need to compile feedback and observations over a period to develop a holistic review of a worker. Do not give a shallow document that does not address all the facets of the employee’s job.

Reviewing an employee’s performance should be a continuous process, putting into considerations the existing working conditions, which may change with time. This allows the manager to refer to specific instances within a period as they work on the final report.

When writing a performance review for an employee, remember that it is not a summary of a worker’s mistakes throughout the year or a specific period. As a manager, address problems that arise on a daily basis, to avoid carrying the tension of an issue that happened months ago into the review. However, in case an employee’s conduct, whether positive or negative does not allow instant feedback, take note and make it a reference point during performance review sessions.

How to Write a Performance Review for an Employee with Honesty

The main hurdle when drafting a performance review document for your employees is balancing the bad and the good. Do not be biased. Give your honest review of the individual to avoid similar moments or encourage them to maintain with the trend.

When thinking about how to write a performance review for an employee, focusing on bettering your workers. Allow them to know areas to improve through positive criticism. Be clear in identifying a person’s shortcomings but do not be quick to forget suggesting possible solutions to the underlying problem. Be part of the solution and help your employees up their game.

This is a sample performance review for an employee. It allows the boss to evaluate the employees in terms of skills, experience and knowledge. Take a look:

Has relevant skills for the hob 1 2 3 4 5
Has knowledge and experience 1 2 3 4 5
Maintains good professional standards 1 2 3 4 5
Ready to learn new ideas 1 2 3 4 5
Follows safe and secure procedures at work 1 2 3 4 5

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Engage your employees with open questions like: How did you see it? What would you do? Such conversations allow the two sides to see issues through the same lenses. It will also help you understand why an individual may have acted in a particular way while performing their duties.

Discuss Performance Review with Employees

It is quite frustrating when your employees have nothing to say about their performance evaluation reports. Do not use this review as a tool of intimidating your staff. You do not want your employees to protest every finding about their performance. Find ways to have your employees speak out their minds about their performance. Get this face-to-face feedback from the staff through discussions.

Knowing how to write a performance review for an employee is about giving room for response from your staff. However, regulate the discussion to avoid making regrettable statements. In case the discussion gets heated to a point of almost degenerating into a showdown, consider ending the conversation and pick it up later when they are calm.

Here is a sample performance review showing the contribution of a worker and elements to consider during evaluation.




Has made many errors

His quality of work is wanting

Does not complete assignments

Needs improvement:

Does not crosscheck his work for errors

Not keen with small details

Meets Requirements

Does not require constant supervision

His error margin is acceptable

Exceeds Requirements:

Does commendable work


Has less than 1% error margin

Guidelines on How to Write a Performance Review for an Employee

A performance review should not be an indictment of employees. Do not allow this crucial process to erode cohesion and good relationships between the management and the staff. What should you do? End the performance review on a positive note. Get used to this even if the review had more negative comments than commendations.

Let the employees feel your appreciation for their efforts through words. Remind the staff of their crucial role in driving the unbeaten record of the organization in the market. Conclude your review by reaffirming your commitment to turning them into excellent and competitive staff in the industry.

The bottom-line of writing a performance review for an employee should me motivation. You do not want an employee’s spirit of work to sink after a performance review following a negative evaluation. Give them confidence by stating that you are confident in their commitment towards realizing the company goals.

Remind your employees that your previous warm relationship will continue to exist even after their performance reviews. Thus, this review should target the entire workforce so that no department feels victimized by the process.

Benefits of Employee Performance Reviews

It would be a waste of the company resources and your time to conduct a performance evaluation for the staff if it bears no fruit. Here are the benefits of knowing how to write a performance review for an employee.

  • Motivation: This is the backbone of good employee management. No staff will achieve their potential without motivation. Equally, no organization can excel with a demoralized workforce. A performance review helps employees understand what is expected of them as they perform their roles. Have timelines, evaluate their progress, and indentify challenges hindering their performance.
  • Compensation: Identify top performers and award them to appreciate their effort. This will challenge the rest of the staff to work hard and get the rewards. Establish a rewarding policy to inculcate competition among your workers. Remember that no employee wants his or her efforts to go unnoticed.
  • Reduce employee turnover: Most employees think of moving to other organizations when you do not recognize their individual efforts. Through employee evaluation, you will help the staff understand the vision and mission of the firm. Give them a chance to support the objectives of the company through clear goals. This will curb turnover of workers, which makes running of a business uneconomical as you are always on the run looking for new people to take up vacant positions.
  • Legal protection: Well-documented and formal employee reviews become handy when terminating an individual. In case the victim sues the company, it is possible to defend your decision with job evaluation records. While the main objective of performance review may not be to dismiss workers, there is no profit in having lazy and nonperforming employees.

Lastly, make performance review for your employees routinely to keep track of your workers’ contribution towards realizing company goals and objectives.

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