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5 Tips for an Effective Employee Review Program


An effective employee review process can be essential to a successful human capital management program. The foundation of a well-run review program lies in clear job guidelines and aligned expectations for every position, collecting ongoing performance data, and creating feedback loops that allow employees to continually improve their work.

Here are five best practices for designing and implementing an employee review program:

1. Communicate Expectations for Success

Each employee and manager should share an understanding of what success means for their position. While every job has components that are inherently subjective, make sure the majority of the position’s responsibilities are specific and measurable. For example, a sales representative may have a quarterly quota or a contracts specialist may have a clearance rate that must be met monthly. The clearer your expectations for success, the easier it is for employees to achieve their goals and for management to assess performance.

2. Keep Ongoing Performance Logs

Annual reviews often create pressure on managers and employees to remember accomplishments from the last 12 months. Avoid recollection issues by encouraging managers and employees alike to keep detailed notes throughout the year on what was accomplished or challenges that arose. This way, both sides can point to specific examples during the performance review. For example, if you're complimenting an account manager for being great with difficult clients, acknowledge specific scenarios that went well and why their work shined.

3. Schedule Carefully

The review cycle has many components, which may include the program kickoff, self- and manager-assessment due dates, meetings to review performance, and meetings to discuss any changes in compensation. Keep everyone on track by developing a clear schedule that's communicated to all participating managers and employees.

4. Solicit Broad Feedback

Today, performance reviews are often a conversation between manager and employee, with employees usually having the chance to evaluate their performance through self-assessments. Many companies find it helpful to solicit feedback even more widely by asking for input from co-workers, direct reports, and even clients and vendors. Gathering more feedback allows for a more holistic picture of an employee's impact on the business and helps pinpoint areas of excellence as well as opportunities for improvement.

5. Take Advantage of Technology

Leading HCM software can make it easier to conduct performance reviews. An integrated HR platform often provides templates based on best practices for structuring reviews. Templates can be emailed to participants or filled out online, and manager responses, self-assessments, and "360"-style input can be consolidated for easy review. An HR platform can also help with scheduling; consider programming the system to send email reminders of key dates to employees and managers.

Running a successful employee assessment program takes lots of effort and planning. But with the right planning and HR technology, you can create significant returns on your investment by more effectively developing employees and fostering great performance.


This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.