It’s December. Time for Annual Performance Reviews?

Everyone fears the unknown, dislikes criticism, and is reluctant to change. That’s why performance reviews can become living nightmares for some people.

However, employee performance reviews are crucial for both the employer and employee to move to the next level.

Here are some tips for making the most of annual performance reviews.

performance review tips

7 tips for more effective employee performance reviews

1.    Be prepared

It’s time to locate your previous review and your KPI files. Both you and your manager need a starting point and these documents will be crucial in determining your current performance and your future goals.

2.    Make a list of your accomplishments, in addition to pointing out the areas where you need help

You might think your manager knows every single detail of what you’re doing but the truth is he might have twenty other employees to manage and your accomplishments can get mixed up with theirs. You also need to assess the areas which you want to improve.

3.    Be open, not defensive

When facing criticism, listen to whatever your manager has to say to you first. Let the words sink in and digest them thoroughly before offering any explanation. Apologise for the drawback if you have to and discuss for solutions together.

4.    Focus on the problem, not the person

If you are the manager conducting the review, always remember to focus on the issues or the performance itself, not the person. If you are the employee, remember that you are not your work, and just because you make mistakes doesn’t mean you are a failure.

5.    Be honest

It’s so easy to cross the line from relating your accomplishments to bluffing about your success, as well as sugarcoating a negative situation to cover your mistakes. However, you will not get anything out of this, nor will your employer. Honesty is the key for future improvement.

6.    Set SMART goals

Performance reviews don’t only focus on the past, they also set the scene for the future. Be sure to ask your manager about his expectations for your work, as well as giving your own input on what you want to achieve next year. Set goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

7.    Discuss non-performance issues

Non-performance issues such as work attitude, relationships with other colleagues and company culture are important factors to ensure performance effectiveness. Are you getting enough support from your colleagues? Are you passionate about the work you are doing? Do you feel empowered? If the answer is no, does your boss know about this?


When it comes to the day of the review, don’t fret. Attend with the mindset of improving yourself and exceeding your potential. Remember, this review isn’t set up to make you fail. Rather, it’s there to help you achieve your goals.

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