The Crucial Role and Advantages of Performance Reviews

The Crucial Role and Advantages of Performance Reviews

While they might cause some groans and headaches, performance reviews can be a really valuable tool for leadership and employees alike! 

As students, we received regular progress reports that measured how well we were learning the material presented to us by those in a position to supervise our growth — regular report cards showed the areas in which we excelled and where we needed to place more effort. Performance reviews are a similar construct: They can be a regularly scheduled progress report to identify which employees are performing well, which are struggling and the areas in which improvement is needed. 

Let’s consider why performance reviews are important and how they can be beneficial to management and employees alike. 


  • First, consider how often to conduct performance reviews. Traditionally these one-on-one meetings are scheduled once a year, either within a given month for the whole company or team, or based on when the employee started in their position. This makes sense, as it provides a specific moment-in-time benchmark against which to gauge a person’s progress, struggles and achievements. But if the idea of trying to remember all the events and conversations a manager has with an employee over the course of a year seems too daunting, it might be worth a try to have these reviews on a shorter timetable, like once every six months or quarterly. Depending on the size of your team and your busy cycles, pick the intervals that work best for everyone, but having regular conversations about your employees’ ability to do their job, discussing the areas in which they’re meeting or exceeding expectations and trying to work out any struggles or problem they might be having is an important practice to uphold. 
  • Prepare for the conversation. As reviews get scheduled, make sure both you and your employees are ready to talk about specifics. Incorporating a standardized form or system for marking strengths, accomplishments, areas for improvement, goals, etc., will help both parties review the events of the past year (or given interval between meetings) and provide detailed notes and examples to better illustrate what’s happened since the last conversation. It’s so easy to forget the little details and small wins in the course of 12 months! Taking the time to review files and project notes will also demonstrate to your employee that you’ve paid attention and recognize their individual contributions and the important role they play on their team. 
  • Emphasize the positive while being honest and direct about anything negative. If you have a large company and, as a result, this is a rare opportunity for a substantial one-on-one conversation with your employees, be sure to mention their strengths. Show that you’ve noticed their hard work and contributions. If they’ve gone above and beyond in the past year, thank them for what they’ve done to strengthen the team and contribute to the company’s success. Of course, not everything is perfect, because no one is; performance reviews are also a time to discuss where things aren’t quite hitting the mark and to work together to reassess situations and discuss how to make improvements. If someone has been struggling, try to find out where the problem stems from. There might be something going on at home that’s negatively impacting their ability to concentrate at work or there might be an inter-personal conflict at work that needs to be addressed quickly. Work together to establish where and how improvements can be made and make suggestions on who the employee can turn to for advice and assistance if they need it. 
  • Set clear, concise, achievable goals for the year ahead. It’s one thing to know someone’s doing a good job; it’s another to know where you want them to be a year from now. It’s also important to know where the employee wants to be in a year or two. If the possibility of a promotion or a position change is discussed during a performance review, it’s time to establish what benchmarks or progress will need to be achieved in a years’ time for that goal to be met. Having something to work for, with clear, identifiable steps toward achieving that end, is an important way to keep employees motivated and for you to measure their progress year over year. 
  • Provide time for a response. Some companies have adopted a performance review system in which the employee and manager both make notes, which are shared either before or after a one-on-one meeting, and then a few days are provided in which additional feedback can be submitted before the review must be signed off on and completed for the year. Offering time for reflection, from both a manager and the employee, allows for contemplation of everything discussed in the individual meeting. Maybe something came to light that changes a recommendation for improvement or eliminates a complaint. Taking the time to think about where to go in the next year is a beneficial tool for everyone. 


Employees crave feedback. They want to know they’re doing their jobs well, and if they’re not they want to be able to make corrections, and they want to know that their efforts are noticed and appreciated. Performance reviews are a great way to provide all that insight in addition to talking about future goals and aspirations, both for the employee and the company. If you want to increase retention and boost morale, prepare to conduct your reviews in a more personal, nuanced way and be ready to reap the benefits! 

If you’re looking to add to your team, it’s time to call LeadingEdge Personnel. Our recruiters will focus on your exact needs and will work diligently and quickly to find qualified, talented candidates that fit the bill, sending you only the resumes of people we believe will strengthen your team on day one. When you’re ready to expand, call LeadingEdge and learn what we can do for you.

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