Employee Performance Reviews: Do’s and Don’ts

Managers worldwide are expected to give employee performance reviews once or twice a year, depending on the organization. Even though this is a common practice, research shows that a mere 14% of employees feel motivated after a performance review. So, it’d be best to make this an exercise in constructive criticism and use this opportunity to inspire growth and achievement among your people.

Employee performance reviews don’t have to be dreadful. In fact, you can make them the perfect tool for motivation by following these do’s and don’ts:

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Employee Performance Reviews –  Do’s

1. Do Be Clear About Expectations and Objectives

Employee reviews should be structured to provide SMART– specific, measurable, achievable, result-focused, and time-sensitive- objects that each employee must start working towards at the start of the year.

This helps employees plan their year at the company. The review will help them understand what is expected of them and allow them to set goals accordingly to surpass expectations.

2. Do Allow Employees to Set Personal Goals

As an employer, you can set as many goals as you want for your employees, but you can never be too sure about whether your employee will achieve them.

Hence, employees should be encouraged to set individual goals for themselves that will help them meet the goals that you have set out for them. Encourage them to break big projects into smaller ones or help them figure out other ways to utilize their time.

Most employees look up to their managers to guide them in areas they struggle with. By setting personal goals and tailoring them according to your employee’s needs, you can help them progress.

Employee Performance Reviews: Do’s and Don’ts

3. Do Ask Other Employees for Feedback

When evaluating an employee, experts advise speaking to other team members who have worked with the employee on projects, and this can help you assess the employee’s performance on a holistic scale.

Moreover, it encourages the concept of accountability in the workplace. Employees and managers will learn they cannot disrespect or bully another employee, especially if they can bring it up in the employee review.


4. Do Maintain a Calm and Focused Environment

For most people, an employee review increases stress levels. Work days are hard enough, but with the anticipation of an impending review, employees can feel anxious and distracted.

Whether your managers hold monthly, bi-yearly, or yearly reviews, encourage them to maintain a positive atmosphere throughout the meeting. Even if employees have not been pulling their weight, ask managers to treat them respectfully and kindly.

Always start the performance review with a smile so that employees can ease their way in and freely talk about any concerns or issues they might be experiencing at the workplace.

5. Do Show Transparency

One of the biggest mistakes managers make when conducting employee reviews is allowing their subconscious biases to affect appraisals rather than offering fair evaluations. Even though humans tend to show natural prejudice against groups of individuals, managers must be trained to uncover their biases and set them aside so that they don’t jeopardize the future of an employee at the company.

Of course, not all biases stem from negativity, but they must be avoided. A common bias referred to as the “halo effect” is when the employer sees one aspect of the employee’s performance as negative and tends to extend that to all other aspects of his job performance.

Similarity bias” is when the evaluator associates himself with the employee because of past experiences and tends to perceive their performance positively. As an employer, it is vital to be cautious of all potential biases and ensure they do not affect the employee review.

Employee Performance Reviews – Don’ts

1. Don’t Limit Employee Feedback To Once a Year

According to a survey, 90% of employees prefer receiving feedback more than once a year. When feedback is provided often, the likelihood of being blindsided is less. Moreover, it is easier to talk about targets and expectations and refer to specific past projects without compelling employees to job their memory.

When employees receive feedback frequently, they will learn what kind of improvements the company is looking for and be able to show quicker results. An employee performance review should recap the continuous feedback an employee has received rather than introduce only new data.

2. Don’t Forget to Prepare in Advance

As an employer, you do not want an employee review to be a waste of time. Hence, preparing ahead of time and paying particular attention to what each employee has been doing since the last meeting is vital.

You need to assess their performance and quality of work and keep tabs on their progress. Keep some notes in handy that will allow you to compare performances. If you feel that the employee is capable of more, check in with their mental health.

3. Don’t Wait Forever to Tell an Employee About a Bonus or Pay Raise

Most managers will start the employee review by criticizing an employee’s performance over the past few months and discussing targets that need to be reached before the next meeting. Then, by the end of the session, the manager should tell the employee they are up for a bonus or pay increase.

Increments and promotions should be addressed differently and ideally in a separate meeting. An employee review should only focus on performance, future goals, and any feedback they might have that would help them achieve their targets.

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4. Don’t Compare Employees

Keep in mind that every employee has their own strengths and weaknesses. Regardless of what the company culture is, no employee is created equal. It is vital to eliminate all biases when measuring an employee’s performance so that the employer does not compare one employee’s strengths to another’s.

Employers should help staff achieve their goals and target over time. Instead of creating a toxic culture within the company and turning employees against each other, managers should be trained to encourage growth. Provide learning resources and make sure that both parties adjust expectations accordingly.


Employers are responsible for the growth of their employees. It is crucial to train staff members, managers, or HR so that they know what to do during an employee review and how to provide constructive feedback to help employees feel empowered and loyal to the company. If you need any help with organizing training sessions, get in touch with Simply Biotech.


This post is made available for informational purposes only to provide a general understanding of the topics discussed herein. It is not intended to provide specific business, legal, or professional advice and should not be relied on as such. Simply Biotech is not liable or responsible for any damage or loss arising from any reliance placed on such materials.