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6 Steps to Prepare You for Performance Review Season

The arrival of the new Financial Year welcomes the opportunity to set new goals for your organisation. What better place to start than by reflecting on the previous year by conducting performance reviews!
Performance reviews are a helpful way to receive and give feedback as well as evaluate the organisation from all aspects of the business. It also promotes healthy communication and overall facilitates an effective work environment.


‘An organisation, no matter how well designed, is only as good as the people who live and work in it’

– Dee Hock.

Here are our steps to deliver your best performance reviews yet:

1. Set out clear goals and expectations in advance

Performance reviews are not the place for you to state expectations or organisational goals for the first time. These need to be agreed upon from the start, at the beginning of the year, discuss the individual’s goals and your expectations for the following year. This gives you the ability to hold them accountable at the end of the year and in the next review. Additionally, this is also an excellent opportunity to listen to your employees; ask questions about their career and personal ambitions to understand their outlook on their role better.

2. Share the performance review format

To effectively undertake performance reviews, you should share the performance review format prior to the discussion. This eliminates the risk of surprise and confusion at the end of the review period. It also allows for transparency and promotes communication regarding how your organisation will assess performance.

3. Prepare for the Discussion

Preparing for the discussion is extremely important in the month before the review. You should compile your notes and results for each employee and begin to gather quantitative measures of employee performance. A 360-degree review is a reliable tool which utilises employee self-assessment, peer reviews, as well as superior and subordinate feedback.

4. Lay the groundwork

In the lead up to the performance review, ask your employees to write down some things that they have achieved in the last year that they are proud of. This will put a positive outlook on the events leading up to the evaluation and will allow for a balanced performance review.

5. Set a tone

Avoid the ‘feedback sandwich!’ That is compliments, criticism, more compliments.
Picking a side tends to motivate people who are already doing well in their role. For your marginal workers, avoid ‘sugar-coating’ the news. Performance reviews are an excellent opportunity to identify development opportunities and encourage improvement. Remember, you are not doing yourself, or your employees, any favours by lying about their performance.

6. Constructively coach

Providing the opportunity for the employee to express themselves is extremely important. Ask the employee how they feel things are going. For all performers, frame the feedback in the model of ‘stop, start, continue’. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are they currently doing that is not working?
  • What they are doing that is highly effective?
  • What actions should they stop to be more productive?

Overall, if you are specific in your feedback, avoid generalisations and provide direction for the future, both the employee and you will benefit from the performance review.

Interested in developing an effective performance review? Contact us for more information on how we can help your organisation.

By Gabrielle Foster


Delivering an Effective Performance Review 2011. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

A First-Time Manager’s Guide to Performance Reviews 2019. The Muse. Retrieved from


About the author

TMS Consulting