Ah, the performance review.

It’s an opportunity for a supervisor to meet with an employee and discuss job performance, policies, expectations and room for improvement.

At their best, performance reviews are productive, inspiring employees to achieve their goals and support an organization’s priorities. At their worst, they can devolve into tit-for-tat arguments that actually do more harm than good.

You want to avoid the worst. You want to be the kind of manager who delivers performance reviews that are honest, based on facts and designed to bring out the best in your employees.

It’s important to remember that employees can only meet or exceed expectations if they know what is expected of them in the first place. Make sure you create and provide written documents that inform employees of company policies, practices, procedures and evaluation metrics. These should be shared with employees when they are hired and again before their reviews.

Here’s a sample performance review document  and phrases to include to help get you started.

Sample performance review

This form details employee traits associated with job success. The purpose of the evaluation is to recognize high-quality employee performance and provide direction for improvement when necessary.

This form will be completed by the employee's direct supervisor and shared with the employee in advance of the performance review. At the end of the form, the supervisor will record whether or not the employee has met expectations. If an employee does not meet expectations, action will be taken to improve performance.

Personal skills

  • Employee demonstrates skills necessary to perform job-related tasks.
  • Employee reports to work on time.
  • Employee is rarely absent.
  • Employee manages time effectively.
  • Employee exhibits sound judgment in making decisions.

Interpersonal relationships

  • Employee supports an enthusiastic attitude toward colleagues and customers.
  • Employee is courteous, well-mannered and polite.
  • Employee works well with others to create a positive atmosphere for colleagues and customers.
  • Employee does not engage in gossip.

Personal characteristics

  • Employee communicates effectively with all individuals.
  • Employee is open to positive and constructive feedback designed to improve performance.
  • Employee can be relied upon to complete all aspects of the job with little supervision.
  • Employee is well-equipped to handle the daily pressures of the job.
  • Employee displays motivation to overcome job-related obstacles.
  • Employee has the ability to quickly understand new information and situations, and respond in an appropriate manner.
  • Employee is organized and efficient.

Adherence to policies and procedures

  • Employee is knowledgeable of company policies and procedures.
  • Employee consistently adheres to company policies and procedures.
  • Employee is knowledgeable of all applicable local, state and federal policies and procedures.
  • Employee consistently adheres to all applicable local, state and federal policies and procedures.
  • Employee uses, cleans and maintains equipment properly.
  • Employee completes all required records accurately and maintains records as directed by supervisor and company policy.
  • Employee complies with sanitation procedures and practices at all times.
  • Employee complies with company dress/uniform policy and wears protective devices whenever required to do so.

Employee strengths:

Employee opportunities for improvement:

Supervisor comments:

Employee signature and date:

Supervisor signature and date: