It’s review time, and many managers find themselves putting them off until the last minute. Reviews don’t have to be scary, they serve an important purpose: motivating great team members and lackluster employees alike to hit a higher level of performance while weeding out those who are not doing their job. Instead of fleeing the country, take advantage of this opportunity. In the long run, it’s worth it.

Four-step performance reviews

Use this four-step process to conduct performance reviews that help your employees and your business.

  1. Be positive and open with employees, minimizing negatives and playing up the positives. Tell them to be prepared with questions of their own, and turn the review into the ultimate coaching opportunity.
  2. Prepare for a general talk about overall performance, and use broad statements as a framework for the detailed sections of the review. This is an excellent time to hear each employee’s thoughts on the store’s operations.
  3. Tell employees how you can help them achieve their career goals, and let them know you are invested in their success.
  4. Conclude the review with a look toward the future. Have a conversation about every individual’s aspirations and goals, and establish a follow-up strategy setting expectations and accountability.

Points to bring up in performance reviews

Typical reviews go over key points of an employee’s performance, including:

  • Quality/accuracy of work
  • Quantity of work/sales
  • Dependability
  • Attendance/punctuality
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Compliance with company procedures
  • Progress made toward professional goals
  • Problem-solving skills

Often, businesses use a numbered system to rate employee performance. If that’s the case at your company, fill out evaluation forms based on documented data, such as sales figures, attendance and customer surveys.

Example of a written performance review

There is usually a place for written comments in a performance review. Keep these professional, and avoid letting personal feelings play a role. After all, your written comments are not only a reflection on the employee, but also on your abilities as a team leader.

This is a sample review for an employee of a department store who works in sales.

Samuel exceeds expectations in the role of a sales associate. He adapts to change easily, works well under pressure with a positive attitude and is detail-oriented. Samuel goes beyond the call of duty by seeking out and following up on additional responsibilities, and contributes frequently to department meetings.

Samuel is an active listener, manages his time efficiently, demonstrates professionalism and is always conscientious about the quality of his work. Although Samuel works well independently, he would benefit from additional team-building skills.

If implemented correctly, the employee review is an excellent way to motivate your team and boost your bottom line. In the example above, Samuel is praised and coached simultaneously when his manager acknowledges he is a great worker who could use a little help to become a stronger team player. The language is professional and reflects the parts of the four-step performance review detailed above.

Stop dreading performance reviews and instead, make the most of them. Done properly, they will improve employee performance and make your business more successful.