5 Steps to Create Better Performance Reviews

5 Steps to Create Better Performance Reviews

Performance reviews serve an array of purposes, and among their most crucial aims is to facilitate constructive communication between managers and their team members. However, like any feedback process, crafting performance review comments necessitates precision to ensure that this invaluable guidance resonates positively with employees, offering them a well-defined path forward.

In addition to acknowledging employee strengths and achievements, effective performance review comments also provide valuable insights that employees can leverage for personal and professional growth.

Let’s explore strategies for composing performance review comments that not only recognize accomplishments but also inspire and guide employees toward continuous improvement. These insights can reignite the enthusiasm of employees who are eager to receive feedback and guidance to enhance their performance.

  1. Prioritize inclusiveness: In crafting insightful employee evaluations, managers should strive for a comprehensive overview of their team members' performance. Comprehensive performance review comments should encompass not only past achievements but also delve into the following aspects:
  • Employee strengths and notable accomplishments.
  • Areas for improvement and identified weaknesses.
  • Short and long-term career aspirations of the employees.
  • Opportunities for meaningful personal and professional growth.

To add depth and positivity into your comments, managers can consider the following inquiries:

  • What are the employee's standout skills?
  • How does the employee contribute to the team's success?
  • What noticeable improvements have they made since their last review?
  1. Cultivate positivity: According to Gallup research, employees who feel inspired to improve or experience positivity regarding their work performance after feedback from their manager are 3.9 times more likely to engage effectively. Given that employee engagement can drive overall performance, framing feedback in a positive light benefit both individuals and the company.

To enhance the reception and impact of performance appraisal comments, managers should strive to deliver feedback in a positive tone, even when offering constructive insights. Initiate the feedback session by highlighting the employee's strengths before addressing areas that could use improvement. Additionally, always encourage employees to share their perspective, fostering a constructive dialogue.

  1. Offer specific feedback with examples: To make your feedback more meaningful, provide specific examples that illustrate your observations. This contextualizes your feedback and underscores your attention to the employee's contributions to the team and workplace. This approach becomes particularly crucial when addressing areas where improvement is needed.

Managers should cite specific instances where the employee's work or actions did not meet performance standards. Remember that constructive feedback should always facilitate a two-way discussion, allowing employees to voice their perspective and collaborate on a path forward.

  1. Incorporate 360-degree feedback: Overreliance on a single individual's perspective can introduce bias into performance evaluations. To gain a more holistic understanding of an employee's abilities and provide detailed and unbiased feedback, incorporate input from various sources, including self-assessments, peer reviews, and manager assessments.

Leveraging 360-degree feedback serves several purposes:

  • Eliminates potential blind spots in a manager's assessment.
  • Gathers balanced insights from colleagues who interact closely with the employee.
  • Enhances working relationships and teamwork.


  1. Link constructive feedback with developmental suggestions: A well-conducted performance review serves as a valuable tool for employee growth. Team members not only learn about their strengths and areas for improvement but also leave with actionable strategies for improvement. The key here is to present solutions, not just problems. However, this doesn't mean that managers must provide all the answers.

After conducting reviews, managers should engage in follow-up conversations with their direct reports to help them formulate achievable and measurable professional development goals based on the feedback received. This approach fosters accountability and ensures that feedback remains a continuous focus throughout the year.

Encourage employees to use goal-setting frameworks such as objectives and key results (OKRs), SMART goals, or your organization's preferred internal structure. Additionally, prompt managers to regularly check in with their employees to monitor goal progress and offer continuous feedback throughout the review cycle.