10 Great Ideas for Conducting a Positive Performance Review

How to conduct a performance review: 1. Be specific about what the employee did well 2. Give constructive feedback on areas that need improvement 3. Offer to help the employee improve in those areas 4. Provide a timeline for when you expect to see improvements 1. Define the purpose of the performance review 2. Conduct a self-review to identify strengths and weaknesses 3. Identify goals for improvement 4. Set specific objectives for the next quarter 5. Create an action plan with measurable outcomes

Performance reviews are often seen as a dreaded aspect of the work-life that most people don’t look forward to. As a result, many managers feel compelled to conduct negative performance reviews to get through the process quickly. While it is necessary to make constructive negative comments about your employee performance, the primary goal of a review should be positive reinforcement.

What is a Performance Review?

Performance review is a formal process of assessment that occurs periodically with a manager to evaluate the employee’s work performance, development progress, including identifying their strengths and areas that need improvement to meet specified work-related goals.

How to Conduct a Positive Performance Review

A positive performance review is not just about providing a positive assessment of what the employee has done well. It is also about giving constructive criticism, with possible solutions and support to help employees improve their skills, develop themselves professionally, and achieve future goals.

Here are 10 Ideas of how to conduct a positive review that will generally work effectively:

1. Conduct A Preliminary Evaluation

Before scheduling the meeting, schedule time to think about what you want to discuss in your review and how you will present it.

Conduct a tactical assessment of an employee’s strengths and weaknesses to be fair to them by providing clear input on what they need to improve on.

By planning, performing a preliminary evaluation, and setting goals together, you will create a set of data-driven performance objectives.

This approach will help reduce arbitrary ratings and allow both parties to separate opinions from facts during reviews.

2. Create an Agenda

Take some time before your review session and create the agenda or an outline for discussing things like company growth, compensation progress, current projects, training opportunities.

And personal development for future career decisions such as operational or managerial positions where next steps are needed.

Read: How to Manage Workload Effectively with Conflicting Deadlines

3. Set the Tone for the Meeting

First impressions are important so, always be sure to arrive with a smile on your face. Introduce yourself to the employee.

Set the tone for a productive meeting by starting with an informal greeting. Make eye contact, shake hands, and even share a few words about your weekend.

You can even invite them to sit down. It will let your employee know that you are ready to talk and listen and set the tone for an open discussion. In other words, this will create a positive and friendly atmosphere.

4. Provide an Opportunity for a Positive Dialogue

For a performance review to be most effective, it should be conducted using a positive focus while identifying potential areas of improvement with an employee.

Focusing on wrongs is not helpful because employees typically know what they need to work on. So, one benefit of focusing on strengths is that it directs the feedback more constructively.

It is easier for an employee to open up about any problems they might have will give you insight into their performance struggles that you may not be able to get elsewhere. 

5. Create a Set of Clear Objectives

Create a set of performance objectives to measure the behaviors and qualities you expect from the employee during their employment.

Prioritize these objectives to measure what is most important in terms of job function. The list should be mutually agreed upon by you and your employee.

Don’t forget to look through past reviews and see if any objective can be eliminated or added depending on changed priorities. But think of performance reviews as a way of guiding employees on what you want them to accomplish.

6. Set Measurable but Stretching Goals

You want the review to lay out a plan that will help your employee work more for better achievements in the future. So, when setting a set of performance objectives during employee reviews, there are several important reasons.

Having specific and measurable goals that an employee can strive towards help them visualize and plan what they need to do.

Setting the goals also helps maintain clear expectations — making sure you and your employee are on the same page.

Be sure the goals you assign are challenging but achievable so that they motivate your staff rather than demotivate them.

Read also: What Are the SMART Criteria for Goal Setting? 

7. Give Positive and Negative Feedback

A Positive Performance Review should include both positive and negative feedback. Feedback should be actionable, clear and concise, and supportive rather than merely telling someone is doing something wrong.

Most employees expect to hear from managers only when things are going wrong, so a good performance review will also provide positive feedback.

Constructive criticism may be preferable over something like praise because it can help your employee learn new skills and improve. Also, ask your employees what improvements they notice at work that could potentially lead them to improve.

8. Be Honest in your Critique

To conduct positive performance reviews, remember to be honest in your assessment. If there are areas where improvement is needed, try to use more respectful words by telling them what they should work on and how to do it effectively — while also expressing confidence in their abilities.

A little kindness goes a long way. It takes a lot of courage for people to have their work critiqued, so be sensitive about that tension.

9. Deep Dive into Your Employee Performance

At the evaluation stage, take a deep dive into the work performed by your staff member. Review projects, job responsibilities, or external and internal customer feedback.

Conduct post-interviews with team members or clients who have dealt extensively with your employee to gain greater insight into their personality traits or communication styles. Once you feel comfortable, come up with a rating scale for your assessments.

Be professional and keep it simple by making sure to quantify performance scores in terms of points accrued during a given month, not percentages or subjective assessments like “good” or “average.”

Also read: What Skills and Qualities Do Employers Look for?

10. Be Supportive and Helpful

You want to give your employees performance reviews that are helpful, so a little bit of effort on your part will go a long way.

At the beginning of the review meeting, make sure you thank them for their time and reinforce the values you share. If they are following your instructions, then they are following the message well.

When they leave the performance review meeting, thank them and follow up in writing. It will reinforce what you discussed and ensure that they have understood everything.


In concluding a successful and positive performance review, you should be certain you have evaluated the general performance of your employee. Also, ensure that you have talked about their individual goals.

Have the employees submit an improvement plan – Independent of whatever was discussed at the review, ask your team members for their own ideas about different improvements that would help them succeed.

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