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It's good practice for businesses to evaluate and manage employee performance.
But what's the best way to do it?
Many choose to use performance reviews as part of regular appraisals. Here's how to draft one of these documents so that it's tailored to your company's needs and how to use it effectively.
What is a performance review?
A performance review is a way of formally assessing how staff are performing in their jobs. Generally speaking, it's an open discussion between employees and their managers that provides feedback on an employee's work so far and sets goals for the future, all with an aim to improve overall performance. It also gives employees the chance to voice any concerns they might have about their work or the company.
A well-written performance review template can help to structure these meetings to ensure they are effective in providing feedback and setting performance goals.
Download this template at Lawpath
When should I use a performance review?
A performance review document is typically used during an appraisal. How often these appraisals take place depends completely on your organisation and method of performance management. While some companies may choose to appraise an employee quarterly, others may prefer it to be a yearly or bi-annual event.
Once completed with the relevant information, a performance review document should be filed away and referred to at the next appraisal.
Performance review vs performance management
While the terms performance review and performance management tend to be used interchangeably, they are subtly different things.
Performance management refers to a process of monitoring that takes place throughout the year. It's an umbrella term that encompasses a performance review along with other activities that allow managers to set objectives with employees and offer development and training.
A performance review, on the other hand, is a document that can be used as part of yearly, quarterly or other regular appraisals.
What does a performance review include and not include?
While performance reviews are unique to each business, there are a few things to include and not include to make the process worthwhile.
What's included in a performance review?
- A review of an employee's prior performance, including a discussion of their strengths and weaknesses.
- Constructive criticism and advice for improvement.
- Goals to achieve before the next appraisal.
- Address any concerns or complaints an employee may have.
What's not included in a performance review?
- Vague praises that don't refer to specific achievements.
- Generalisations that could apply to anyone working in the company.
How effective is a performance review?
The effectiveness of a performance review depends entirely on how you conduct them. A performance review template will give you guidance and structure as to how to conduct the appraisal, which can help to improve the success of your performance management.
Do I need a lawyer for a performance review?
No, this is a casual document and does not require a lawyer to write. It's a good idea to check out a performance review example or template online to get some inspiration for your own.
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How do I write a performance review?
A performance review can be as straightforward or as complicated as you like. At the very least it should include:
- Employee's name and position in the company
- Reviewer's name and position in the company
- Date that the appraisal is taking place
- Date of the last appraisal
Along with this, the performance review should address any qualities, characteristics or responsibilities that the company deems integral to the role and a place to assess the employee's ability to meet them. Some examples include:
- Quality of work
- Client relations
- Technical skills
- Ability to meet goals
A section of the performance review should reference an employee's professional goals. This gives the reviewer and the employee a chance to:
- Reflect on any goals set in the last appraisal,
- Set goals for the next review period.
Where to get free legal documents and templates like a performance review
Using a performance review example is a great starting point when it comes to writing up your own working document. Here are a few places to find one.
- Lawpath. An online legal resource featuring plenty of free templates. You can browse their performance review template for free, but you'll need to pay to download and edit it.
- Fair Work. An Australian government website with information and advice about rights and rules in the workplace.
- LegalVision. Users can access unlimited legal templates for a monthly membership fee.
- Wonder.Legal. Browse through hundreds of legal templates on Wonder Legal and download templates for a one-time fee.
How to hold a performance review during a pandemic?
As millions of us are working from home due to COVID-19, performance reviews are more important now than they have ever been.
Organising a remote appraisal isn't as difficult as it once was thanks to video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Team. A well-written performance review template will help you to structure these online meetings and make them worth both yours and your employee's time.
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