Webinar: Build Your 2023 Performance Review Playbook With HR Experts

How To Document Employee Performance Reviews

Akshit Dangi

We all know the drill, don’t we? With the power of performance reviews, it’s rather easy to help your people put their efforts in the right direction while progressing further on their career paths. Not only that, but you can also create a high-performance culture that would be grounded in sharing of feedback and growing the organization as a whole.

But performance reviews are no informal conversations. There’s a whole set of data and insights from every review of every individual that can inform a ton on your workplace’s health and performance. Not only that, but the same data can also help make useful talent decisions and plan your organization’s succession.

Keeping that in mind, it is imperative that organizations have a proper mechanism or tool in place to store and record all this valuable information. So, how do you do that? How do you document employee performance reviews at your workplace? Read on to find out.

Documenting employee performance reviews the right way

1. Prepare for the employee performance review

Before we jump straight into documenting your people’s performance reviews, we must first do some ground work—get on the same page and understand how you should prepare and conduct these reviews.

2. Set your goals

It all begins by establishing the goals for the review period. A top-down approach should be followed where goals are cascaded while being well-aligned with the organization’s vision and overall objectives.

Here, you need to ensure that the goals are well thought out, align with your people’s personal development goals, and are easy to follow up on.

3. Collect the data

In the next step, you need to brush some cobwebs off your entire cycle’s work and derive useful data and insights from it. There’s a high chance that the data may be undocumented, and that’s okay. Try your best and identify previously faced roadblocks, what worked, what didn’t work, and the ways in which the performance could have been improved. Once that is done, it’s time to schedule a review with your team member.

4. Schedule your reviews

To schedule a review with your team member, discuss and establish a date with them that lies the closest to the end of a review period. That way, any new developments would also be accounted for and both you and your team member would be less stressed out when finally sitting down for the review.

Conducting the employee performance review

1. Set the tone

There’s a concept in performance reviews that many managers struggle with—it’s called “the feedback sandwich”. It’s used to describe a situation where criticism is padded by compliments on both sides. This can sometimes dull the effectiveness of your feedback, as your star performers may feel demoralised and your low performers may feel falsely praised for their work.

To counter this, try and establish a tone beforehand, that is, you should make sure to only evaluating work well done, and if the output and efforts are not all there, then make sure not to sugarcoat it. Keep it real with your team member, and they’ll take away a lot more from your feedback.

2. Communicate the expectations

No performance review begins when you finally sit down with your team member to discuss their work—it begins long before that.

Both you and your team member should have a clear and distinct understanding of what level of performance and output is to be expected of them and on what basis would they be evaluated. Whether it be qualitative, quantitative, or a mix of both, ensure that the expectations are well communicated beforehand.

3. Evaluate the performance

Once it finally gets down to evaluating the performance of your people, begin by drawing comparisons between the expected performance and the performance of your team member. If the expectations are well met or exceeded, praise the individual’s performance and ask them if they are looking for more challenging work or would they prefer continuing with the current set of tasks.

However, if the performance hasn’t met the expectations, work together with the individual to determine why that happened—it may be an unrealistic goal, some roadblocks that were identified all too late, or some personal issues on your and the individual’s end.

The main focus here is to understand what reasons for low performance have a high chance of repeating themselves in the future. Of course, do not forget to praise the individual if the efforts were there and they worked hard to ensure the completion of their tasks—you simply need to make sure that they are well aware of the roadblocks that came in their way.

4. Develop a plan of action

Finally, you need to discuss and create a plan of action that both you and your team member can start following from the next review cycle.

The action items should be made as an effort to overcome the previously identified roadblocks and problems that occurred in the previous cycle. Not to mention, the items should be easy to follow up on during check-ins or 1:1s, and realistic enough for your team member to seamlessly follow. With that, you’re essentially done with your performance reviews. Now, it’s time to document the review and all the takeaways from it.

Here's a quick look at how you can document your team's performance reviews on Mesh:

Documenting the employee performance review

1. Identify key areas that you want to document from the review

When documenting the information derived from your performance reviews, you need to be aware of the things that are required to be recorded and stored. To that end, make sure of including and highlighting:

  • the performance indicators that can provide a clear image of your team member’s progress against each key result and goal,
  • the key achievements of your team members,
  • all roadblocks that were encountered throughout the cycle.

2. Provide feedback and remarks

Once you’ve documented all of the above mentioned information. The next step is to provide the final feedback to your team members based on the conclusions drawn from the review process. Here, you just need to make sure not to include your personal judgements in the remarks or feedback as it can hamper its interpretation and objectivity.

3. Dive deep into the details

In an employee performance review document, you need to include specific examples and instances that demonstrates your team member’s strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvements. This would help tie the feedback to specific instances where behavior was either desirable or undesirable and avoid tying it to the overall character of your team member.

4. Add supporting reviews

The next thing to do is to focus on including other reviews that you and your team member may have participated in during the review cycle. These usually include your talent reviews and 360-degree performance reviews. The reason behind doing so is to provide a more comprehensive view

5. Offer visibility

Lastly, to ensure that the information included in the document is accurate and to provide a detailed review from the review cycle, share the performance review document with your team members. Along with this, store the document in a centralized location for easy access to anyone concerned.

Summing up

With all that done, you are finally through with documenting your employee performance review. Now, while documenting the performance review of every team member may seem like an arduous task, remember that these are the quintessential data points for you to refer to when evaluating your team. 

Not only can they provide you with some much-needed context and information for each member of your team, but also help you incorporate their growth and development into the organizational growth and performance. Let’s be honest—there’s no better feeling than doing that and seeing the desired results come to life, are we right or are we right?

By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.