Home Digital Transformation and Digital Adoption What is an Employee Performance Review?
Digital Transformation and Digital Adoption

What is an Employee Performance Review?

What is an Employee Performance Review?


It’s a word that drives leaders into action, looking to make changes around their organization. After all, nobody wants to unnecessarily blow their budget or work at a below-average capacity – not when there’s another option. 

To improve, all they need to do is identify the problem and come up with a sufficient way to address it. 

For some, that simply involves introducing automation software to take over repetitive admin tasks. For others, it entails an extensive review of current business processes. 

Regardless of your personal favored approach, there’s one strategy that promises numerous advantages to an underperforming workforce… employee performance reviews. 

Performance reviews for employees are important to your organisation's learning and development.

The Definition of Employee Performance Review

An employee performance review is when a manager, or another member of the leadership team, evaluates an individual team member’s output in a 1:1 with that person. 

It looks to reward and acknowledge them for what they’ve done well, while also highlighting where they can improve. 

To encourage them further, you can finish your meeting by setting goals that give your employee a clear direction to work toward. This way, they can gain as much valuable insight as you do from their time with you.

Why Are Employee Performance Reviews Important For Your Business?

Employee performance reviews don’t just consist of the label that’s on the tin. There are so many more advantages to them than what might be initially obvious. 

Conducting one gives you the chance to:

  1. Track the output of your staff members.
  2. Measure the strengths and weaknesses of your team. 
  3. Provide valuable knowledge that informs employee actions.
  4. Boost confidence levels.
  5. Pinpoint where you could be providing more support. 

That’s a lot, right? There’s more.

Reviewing employee performances can push individuals to increase their efforts at work, motivating them to attend more employee training sessions or move up the ranks of a career ladder – with a clear path ahead of them. 

This can increase productivity across the board and give you access to a stronger, more engaged workforce (thereby increasing talent retention).

The 5 Steps of an Employee Performance Review

To keep things fair between your staff, it’s important that you follow a specific structure when you are conducting an employee performance review. 

This way, any requests you make don’t seem like an attack against a specific someone. This will only lead to pain, upset, and frustration.

Step 1. Think about Strengths and Weaknesses

Firstly, you want to consider the positives and the negatives of what your employee has been doing for you in the last year. When have they gone above and beyond? When could they have done more? Do a SWOT analysis and see if your staff member agrees. They might also have more to add.

Step 2. Plan Upcoming and Major Goals

What targets do you have approaching? Where would you like to be in a year’s time? A successful employee performance review would always set SMART goals for the short-term and the long-run. Try to create a career trajectory that your staff member can follow in order to hone their skills.

Step 3. Benchmark Employee Performance 

Once you’ve established where you want your employee to be, you can work together to figure out where they are. It might be, for example, that they need to become more proficient in doing a specific task – cutting down the amount of time spent on it or increasing the quality of work. 

Step 4. Ask Questions and Answer Queries

It might not be immediately obvious to your employee what you want them to do in order to achieve their goals. If you have differing views about the progress they’ve made over the last year, this would be a good time to facilitate questions, listen to their concerns, and prepare to provide interactive support where needed.

Step 5. Create a Progress Plan

From the notes and observations you made during the employee performance review, draw up a plan with a target timeline. This visual resource will give your staff member an obvious schedule to work towards, encouraging them to seize control of the opportunities coming their way to accelerate your employee development.

What is an Employee Performance Review? – FAQs

As you’ll be able to guess, employee performance reviews are a useful tool in thousands of businesses across the world – no matter their industry. 

Aiming to sit down with your team members on an individual basis at least once a year should put you in a really strong position to encourage staff to continue building their skills. 

If you still aren’t sure about whether or not to implement employee performance reviews in your workplace, perhaps these FAQs can help.

  • What is an employee performance review?

It’s a meeting where a leader and one of their team members look back at the previous year and identify strengths and weaknesses, with the goal of making suggestions and improvements.  

  • How do you write a good employee performance review?

It can feel intimidating to be the staff member being reviewed, so be sure to mention the positives as well as the improvements. This will balance out your feedback and make it fair. 

  • What should I write in an employee performance review?

Always reflect on whether or not a staff member is where you want them to be, in terms of skill level and/or career progression. Then, give ideas on how they can continue to advance in the workplace.

  • What are the benefits of an employee performance review?

It gives your team a clear direction to follow and makes it very obvious what you’d like to see for them. It can build relationships, boost morale, and motivate previously underperforming workers.

Be sure to conduct employee performance reviews to eradicate wastage in your business.

How to Conduct Employee Performance Reviews 

Years ago, an employee performance review would be an intimidating process. Today, leadership dynamics have changed

Not only are teams more familiar with the people in charge of their organization, but they are actively friends with them. 

As a result, managers prefer self-evaluation. Through this, employees can track their year’s progress and receive in unbiased feedback. 

The only issue? This is an extensive task that often has to be done digitally. 

Unless you want employee performance reviews to be a lengthy and time-consuming process, your team will need a system that gathers data and informs relevant changes. 


  1. Trackstar
  2. Small Improvements
  3. Reviewsnap
  4. AssessTEAM
  5. PerformYard

All of these employee performance review software platforms will cater to your needs… as long as you provide the appropriate level to use them.

Provide Software Training through Userlane’s DAPs

Userlane’s Digital Adoption Platforms can speed up software onboarding processes. 

Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to gathering a collection of actionable HR insights that allow you to reach goals

These can then be used to inform your team of their personal progress and contribute towards your overall review of employee performance.

Request a demonstration to learn more.

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About the author:
The Userlane team brings you digital adoption insights, product updates, and plenty of onboarding and engagement advice for user-centric businesses.