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Blog Human Resources

How to Write a Performance Review That Inspires Growth (With Examples & Templates)

By Jessie Strongitharm , Jan 18, 2023

performance review

Newsflash: employee performance reviews don’t have to be stressful, tedious or boring. Once you learn how to write reviews that are inspiring, impactful and actionable, these goal-setting sessions are a great opportunity to realign and re-energize your team. 

So if you’re looking for tips to write effective performance reviews that motivate employees to reach their highest potential, look no further. In this article, I’ll show you how to write performance reviews that inspire meaningful growth, plus tons of examples and customizable performance review templates to get you started.

Click to jump ahead: 

What is a performance review.

  • What is the purpose of writing a performance review
  • How to write a performance review 

How to write a negative performance review

  • Performance review FAQ

A performance review, also known as a performance appraisal or evaluation, is a formal assessment of an employee’s contributions within a certain time period. During an employee performance review, managers or team leads will evaluate an employee’s work, provide constructive feedback, identify strengths/weaknesses and help set goals. 

The review process typically involve filling in a document to keep record of the assessment and any expectations communicated, like so:

Template for Employee Performance Review

Employee performance reviews also give staff the opportunity to ask questions and share feedback with managers. 

The time and scope of the review process can vary depending on the company, company size and their goals for conducting the review. They may take place monthly, quarterly…

how to make a performance review

…annually, or at some other frequency decided upon by leadership. 

Prefer watching instead? Check out this video for a summary of our article  21 Engaging Performance Review Examples [+ Tips From an HR Manager]   for best practices, templates and more.

Return to Table of Contents

What is the purpose of a performance review?

Performance reviews are key for aligning team members and cultivating the continued success of a company. As a talent management tool , these formal processes give managers the opportunity to

  • reflect on an individual’s performance and achievements
  • communicate expectations
  • increase employee engagement
  • course-correct and find solutions for any issues
  • provide reinforcement and assurance

On the administration side of things, performance reviews are used to… 

  • offer employees advice on how they can improve
  • decide bonuses or raises
  • identify opportunities for internal promotions 
  • justify letting employees go in the future

Light Year End Employee Report Template

But remember: these reviews aren’t just a chance for managers to relay observations. When conducted effectively, they offer a space for conversation, consideration and collaboration from  both parties.

Employees should ask questions and share feedback with their manager. Filling out a self-evaluation may be part of the review process too. 

how to make a performance review

(Psst! If you like any of the templates you’ve seen so far, know that you can 100% customize their content to work for your evaluation needs. Just click the template and sign up for free to get started. Select any text box to change the words or the font — i.e. your brand font — or any other visual asset on the page.)

All in all, the more people are on the same page, the better the team alignment and output will be.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: with all these positive outcomes, how come performance reviews are so…scary?

Meme about performance reviews with Jim from the Office that reads "LORD BEER ME STRENGTH".

Well, it all depends on the kind of feedback you provide. In fact, research shows traditional methods for giving feedback are received so poorly that one-third of employees’ performance actually gets worse! 

That’s why knowing how to write a performance review with impact, and one that pushes people to meaningfully improve, is so important.  

What to include in a performance review

While performance reviews may touch on a number of topics, virtually all involve assessing an employee’s…

  • Areas of strength 
  • Areas of improvement or development
  • Contributions (or opportunities for contributing) to the team and company culture
  • Alignment with a company’s core values or goals, as demonstrated through their actions 

Here’s a customizable performance evaluation template that provides some examples.

how to make a performance review

As you can see, common things taken into consideration include an employee’s communication, teamwork, punctuality, reliability, quality of work, work ethic and goal completions. During a performance review, everything from day-to-day behavior to big project outcomes are up for discussion.

Self-assessments can include space for the employee to comment on all the above. You may also want to ask what kinds of personal development goals they have, or learning areas they may be interested in. This is key for showing staff that you value them as people. 

Ready to write a performance review that truly paves the way for more good to come? Let’s get to it.

How to Write a Good Performance Review (+ Examples & Templates That Motivate) 

No matter whether this is your first time or your fiftieth, here are eight tips and performance review examples that’ll guide you through the process and empower your team.

Organize your thoughts and streamline the process 

Before you even begin to consider holding a formal review, it’s crucial you have a system in place to help you organize your approach. This helps you call up specific examples from their past performance and evaluate all actions that took place over the review period easily. That way, you don’t fall victim to recency bias — in other words, considering an employee’s recent behavior only.

Performance Evaluation Form

Employee evaluation forms are a key piece of your performance management system . In addition to saving you time, these forms ensure everyone receives the same evaluation.

Without them, you may fall into an inconsistent method of evaluation, which isn’t exactly fair to your team. 

how to make a performance review

What’s more, these visual documents allow employees to reference everything said during a review. And when it comes time for promotions or firings, you have a track record to look back on.

(Psst! Once again, feel free to customize any of the templates you see to suit your own needs. It’s super easy!) 

Be honest, objective and empathetic

In order to build trust and respect with the employee — not to mention, maximizing their potential for growth — being honest, objective, and empathetic during the performance review is essential.

First, honesty is key in order to provide employees with an accurate assessment of their performance . All communications should be made in good faith, and staff shouldn’t have to feel like they need to read between the lines to understand what your feedback really means. 

Similarly, you should aim to be as objective as possible . If you don’t qualify statements with tangible examples, it’ll give the impression you either failed to pay attention, or worse, based your observations on personal opinion. 

This is where correct documentation comes into play!

Use performance checklists whenever possible prior to your review. A well thought-out list is your secret weapon for evaluating employees objectively and thinking critically about areas they can improve. The employee checklist templates below can easily be adjusted to reflect critical improvements and action steps. 

Leadership Readiness Checklist Template

Treat these documents as an important part of your performance management systems for keeping employees engaged and motivated. 

how to make a performance review

Finally, it’s vital to be empathetic and open to conversation when delivering feedback. Only then will you get the full picture and insights into what might hindering their performance, so you can both find solutions that work.

Use specific examples to back up your points

Providing specific examples and observations you’ve made is integral to a productive performance review process. 

While the overarching theme of their work performance may seem clear to you, the only way you’ll be able to clearly demonstrate where employees hit or missed the mark is by providing concrete evidence. So do your very best to give employees an accurate representation of their performance by pointing out specific instances. 

(Hint: this is why organizing your thoughts is so important!) For added assurance, relay these instances in an editable performance review document that employee can reference easily, like the example below. (If you need more room, just use Venngage’s intuitive visual editor to apply changes in a flash).

how to make a performance review

By using specific examples, you provide them with a more tangible understanding of how their performance has been, rather than just general statements which might be hard for them to comprehend and correct. 

Additionally, concrete examples serve as a reference point for their future performance, as well as a means of measuring progress made. Ultimately, they allow the employee to have a better understanding of their performance and provide them with the motivation to do better in the future.

Choose your language carefully

When writing or communicating your observations during a performance review, it’s crucial you choose your words wisely. 

Of course, honesty is key. But you also want to frame the conversation so that employees feel inspired to improve. A Gallup survey found employees who feel inspired to do better after receiving feedback were nearly four times more engaged than employees who felt negatively.

Here are some best practices to follow while writing or delivering a performance review:

  • Use action verbs to clearly articulate the behavior demonstrated: check out this appraisal action verbs list for inspiration. 
  • Use specific examples to back up your assessments : discussed in #3.
  • Don’t speak in absolutes , i.e. “He’s always late” or “She’s never a team player”: even if the behavior is repetitive, these statements demonstrate a black and white way of thinking about something (or someone!) and rarely reflect the truth. 
  • Focus on solutions, not problems: when bringing up undesirable behavior, do your best to specify a path forward — you may want to create an action or development plan to delineate these steps clearly. 

As far as the last point goes, you can easily edit this template to record your plan effectively and set everything into action. Simply edit the sections and text content to create your ideal document.

A purple monochromatic performance review template.

Looking for concrete examples of what to write or say?

Here are a few adapted from the articles 13+ Constructive Performance Appraisal Examples & Phrases to Simplify Review Season and 21 Engaging Performance Review Examples [+ Tips From an HR Manager] :

  • Highly organized and excellent at time management — responds to all communications in a timely manner (within 24 hours). 
  • Collaborative with others and available to assist when needed.
  • Maintains a culture of transparency and encourages knowledge-sharing across all teams in the department .
  • Consistently provides reports the training and resources needed to meet their goals .
  • Talented at thinking outside of the box and finding creative solutions to blockers .
  • Actions constructive criticism and strives to improve performance .
  • Not afraid to ask questions to clarify or resolve issues before they become major problems.
  • Develops innovative solutions to problems and works proactively to avoid future issues .

Needs improvement

  • Struggles to adapt to change and embrace new technology or processes .
  • Struggles to deliver work on time .
  • Shows a pattern of failing to communicate or ask for assistance when it’s needed .
  • Hesitant to cooperate with requests from other departments .
  • Shows bias when addressing team, openly favoring some employees over others. 
  • Fosters disconnect by consistently communicating different messages to different reports .
  • Excels when working alone, but has trouble working collaboratively with a team .

Pair critical feedback with positive observations

A phrase that’s always stuck with me is, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”.

Now look, I know no one is in the business of catching flies. But the gist is: you get better results by treating people with kindness and respect than you do with condescension or disregard .

The same applies for performance reviews — it’s best to bolster any less-than-favorable observations with positive comments or constructive solutions.

Not only will team members feel their existing strengths are appreciated and remain open to your critiques, but they’re more likely to see the review as an opportunity to improve, rather than a stain on their tenure.

how to write a performance review

This editable template contains a few examples of ways you can frame these observations in your writing. Note the focus on solutions rather than problems!

Another way to action this advice is to comment something positive before giving a critique. For example, “ Jennay consistently produces high-quality work, however she often struggles to deliver work on time .” 

Then, follow up with ideas to mitigate this issue.

Encourage employee input at every level

The most valuable and productive performance reviews foster open dialogue between the employee and manager. And when it comes to writing them specifically, getting employees to fill out a self-assessment prior to the review is smart. By providing a robust employee evaluation form that poses thoughtful questions, you’ll tease out nuggets of important info and get a better understanding of their perspective — before you’ve even talked. 

Below is one such example:

annual performance review template

As you can see, these forms provide employees the opportunity to reflect and share their thoughts on their responsibilities, goals, and any aspects of their role or environment they may be struggling with. It also prepares them for the review process at large. 

At Venngage, we ask our employees to fill out a self-assessment about their favorite projects and moments of discouragement, team contributions and requests for support. Employees then assess how well they’ve embodied Venngage’s core values out of five, and whether they’ve achieved their goals.

employee performance review template with quadrant

We also ask them to place themselves on a matrix, so everyone can visualize their growth as time goes on. Edit the template above to try this out with your team! All in all, we’ve found self-assessments are instrumental. They help employees know exactly what to expect from the performance review process, and encourage them to be proactive in figuring out how they can improve.

Visualize performance with a skills/values matrix

As mentioned, our own performance reviews involve placing an employee on a matrix. This is an incredibly effective way of visualizing progress, streamlining the performance review and making any development goals stick. 

how to make a performance review

As an evaluation tool, both parties can plot where they think the employee ranks for certain core values or skills. Since each quadrant corresponds with key learnings, you can find worthwhile discussion points and paths forward.

Read this post on performance analysis quadrants to learn more .

Here’s another take on a performance matrix that could work for your team. You could use one for each core competency and skill. Or, give your employee a bird’s eye view by creating a matrix that encapsulates their wholesale performance. 

Healthcare Performance Training Development Venn Diagram Template

End on a positive note

Last but not least, it’s a good idea to wrap things up in a way where mutual respect is apparent. 

Even if the review was more critical than complementary, use your final moments as an opportunity to set action plans into motion that address areas for improvement. And no matter their behavior and output, be sure to express good feelings about their future prospects at the company. 

Green Employee Quarterly Performance Review Template

Now with all that said, you might be looking for some advice specific to less-than-favorable performance reviews…

As a lead, it’s your job to deliver performance reviews that are both honest and constructive — no matter what kind of feedback you’re delivering. For a negative performance review this is especially important. 

Consider it a chance to show your own managerial strengths as someone who can drive change and inspire others. 

Performance Review

Begin on a positive note before providing any constructive feedback. Be sure to note a few things they’ve done well in the time period, so they’re more receptive to what you have to say. 

Afterwards, you may start identifying areas in which the employee has underperformed (e.g. missed deadlines, mistakes, poor communication). Provide specific examples that support your points so they know exactly what behavior you’re referring to. 

Make sure to provide clear and actionable feedback on how the employee can improve, and leave room to hear what they have to say. This will give you a better understanding of their mindset, and any blockers you may not have known about.

Offering support and resources can help them make progress too — it’s one way you can end a difficult conversation on a positive note. Here’s an HR infographic template with some ideas:

Fixing employees habits process infographic

Above all else, remember to remain professional and courteous throughout the review. Focus on facts rather than personal opinions, and provide action steps rather than accusations. 

Instead of saying “You make careless mistakes constantly and everyone is frustrated”, try: “I encourage you to take some extra time once you’re done to review your work. This will help speed up our processes and make things much more efficient.” 

The bottom line: just because you’re giving a negative review doesn’t mean you have to deliver the news negatively. 

Performance review FAQ 

What should you say during a performance review.

When conducting a performance review, it’s important to give honest, fair and constructive feedback. Do your best to provide positive reinforcement for good behavior and use constructive criticism when explaining areas in which the employee can improve.

It’s also important to discuss the employee’s goals and the progress they have made towards those goals, and provide specific examples of how the employee has contributed to the success of the team or organization. Finally, make sure to provide clear and achievable steps the employee can do to improve in the future.

How do you start a performance review?

Before beginning a performance review, ensure the employee is comfortable and ready to engage in a productive, two-way conversation. Then, outline the purpose of the review, its format and how it will be conducted (providing a time range and setting expectations in advance is always helpful). 

It’s a good idea to outline the goals and objectives of the review, and how they relate to the employee’s career development. Finally, give them a chance to ask any questions prior.

Motivate meaningful progress with an effective performance review 

Conducting performance reviews can be a daunting task. But hopefully with the examples, tips and best practices I’ve outlined, you can feel confident writing performance reviews that leave employees determined — not disheartened. 

Venngage’s customizable performance review templates and intuitive visual editor make it a breeze to streamline the entire process. With these tools, you can organize, document and deliver motivational performance reviews that inspire employees to reach their goals. Start writing reviews that empower today!

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13 Performance Review Tips That Actually Improve Performance

Employee performance reviews are prone to criticism and ineffective at motivating performance. Learn our 13 tips for effective employee performance reviews to create a bigger performance conversation strategy and drive success. 

13 Employee Performance Review Tips That Actually Improve Performance

employee performance review

Table of Contents

Know the elements of an effective performance review.

Understand why performance reviews are important.

Sync performance criteria, employee goals, and progress.

Make time and space for performance reviews.

Gather employee data and examples.

Prepare notes and agenda.

Align on expectations for your employees.

Reflect on the past but focus on the future.

Ask the right performance review questions.

Choose your phrases carefully.

Be an active listener.

Wrap up the conversation with agreed upon next steps.

Keep the conversation going.

13 Employee Performance Review Tips That Actually Improve Performance

The employee performance review has received a lot of criticism in recent years. Traditional employee appraisal processes have been causing headaches for both managers and employees. And most employees believe performance reviews are not effective at driving performance.

There’s still a place for the annual performance review. But success-driven organizations know it must be part of a bigger performance conversation strategy. 

Regardless of whether you’re conducting an annual review, a quarterly review, or a monthly performance check-in, performance conversations can be difficult . Managers should try to create positive experiences that motivate employees and drive high performance.

But creating that kind of experience is easier said than done.

performance review templates

Understanding performance reviews

Before we dive into the tactical side of performance reviews, it’s important to understand what a performance review is and why it is important. This will give you the foundation you need to start using performance reviews more effectively in your organization.

1. Know the elements of an effective performance review.

Performance reviews give employees and managers a chance to discuss how employees are doing and how they can do better, together.

Done right, they can engage and motivate employees to maximize and align their efforts. Done wrong, they can send employees down a disengagement spiral—and even decrease performance. How do you choose the right performance appraisal method ? Below are a few important elements to consider.

Performance reviews should happen frequently.

If you want to cultivate employee success, you must branch beyond the traditional, annual review. So much can change in your organization or with your employees in one year. It’s important to stay aligned and to keep communication going during those changes.

We recommend quarterly or monthly performance conversations, paired with a year-end review of general themes, notes, progress, and next steps. This allows managers and employees to stay on the same page about goals, progress, and performance. It also helps:

  • Employees understand exactly where they stand and what to do to improve
  • Managers provide real-time coaching and help overcome obstacles
  • Organizations benefit from a constant flow of data on individual and team performance

Many organizations are turned off by a quarterly or monthly performance review cadence because it feels like a hefty time commitment. But if you’re having frequent conversations, they don’t need to be long, robust, or comprehensive to be effective.

Performance reviews should be two-way conversations.

Not only should performance conversations happen more frequently—they should also be more engaging. Managers and employees should equally contribute to the conversation, and employees should be just as invested in the preparation as managers.

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for all performance discussions, every conversation should promote trust, reduce anxiety, create clarity, and showcase alignment. And these conversations don't have to be just about performance. They can address:

  • Career growth and development
  • Engagement challenges
  • Alignment to organizational goals
  • Changes or key messages from senior leadership
  • Peer feedback
  • Customer feedback

The Big Book of 350 One-on-One Meeting Questions

Performance reviews should be future-focused.

Traditionally, performance reviews have centered around the past—how the year went, what went well, and what didn’t go well. Employees can’t change the past, so it’s pretty disengaging to be evaluated on situations they have no power to shape.

But employees do have the power to change what happens in the future—and this is where the bulk of your performance conversations should focus. It’s good to reflect on the past, but managers and employees should also spend time looking forward.

Performance reviews should be transparent.

Performance reviews can be anxiety-inducing—and one of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to bring employees into the process early and involve them in the preparation and planning. Managers should work with each employee to create a clear, shared, and collaborative agenda with main points of discussion. Both parties should know exactly what to expect—there shouldn’t be any surprises!

Performance reviews should be objective.

Today we have access to mountains of data. There’s no excuse for subjective performance reviews anymore. Managers should come prepared with data from a variety of sources such as recent recognition, 360 degree feedback, talent review ratings, one-on-one notes, goal progress, and more.

Every statement made should be fueled by data—not by the manager’s personal opinion.

To recap, here are some key differences between traditional performance reviews and modern performance reviews.

Back to top >>>

2. Understand why the performance review is important.

The performance review has taken a lot of flak over the past several years. Many have touted the idea that performance appraisals don't work . But the reality is, performance conversations are a crucial part of the engagement and retention of employees.

Why are performance conversations important? Because they have a big impact on the success of your employees, teams, and organization as a whole.

How Performance Reviews Impact Employee Success

Discussing performance can be very stressful. It’s tough for managers to give feedback and even harder for employees to receive it. How organizations handle these conversations plays a huge role in an employee’s engagement and overall experience.

Performance conversations are perfect opportunities to make or break trust. An open, honest, and regular dialogue helps to build trust among employees, managers, and the organization at large. Employees want to know—and deserve to know—exactly where they stand in terms of performance.

Ongoing performance conversations can boost employee success by:

  • Helping employees identify their needs, desires, and challenges
  • Cluing managers in on obstacles and decisions before they impact performance
  • Opening up opportunities to discuss feedback, celebrate recognition, and reinforce alignment

How Performance Reviews Impact Team Success

Performance conversations help managers evaluate team performance by giving them a clear picture of how each team member is performing. They’ll know where the team is strong, where the team needs help or development, how to adjust goals, and the team’s potential to impact larger goals.

How Performance Reviews Impact Organizational Success

If employees aren’t aligned and on a clear path to their own success, organizations will have difficulty achieving important goals and objectives. Performance conversations allow managers to connect employees to the bigger mission and goals of the organization.

They also give organizations the data they need to make important people decisions related to: compensation, promotions, development, role changes, exits, and more.

How to prepare for a performance review

Managers should approach any performance conversation with thoughtful preparation and lots of data and examples. In this section, we’ll discuss how to prepare for a performance review by:

  • Syncing performance review criteria, employee goals, and goal progress
  • Gathering employee data and examples
  • Preparing your notes and agenda
  • Finding the right time and place for the performance review meeting
  • Setting expectations for employees

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3. Sync performance criteria, employee goals, and progress.

Managers and employees should have a clear understanding of what constitutes good or poor performance—and this starts with organizations clearly communicating performance criteria. Effective performance criteria should help managers and employees:

  • Measure impact
  • Define success
  • Prove that performance plans are working
  • Determine where to go next

Performance criteria and ratings can be difficult to address and digest. Managers should act as interpreters of that data by adding qualitative context (such as goal progress or 360 feedback) to performance. They should approach performance reviews with a coaching mindset, highlighting and distilling information to make it easier for their employees to consume. Managers can also provide emotional support by not letting employees dwell on the negative—and instead focusing on what employees are doing well and uncovering opportunities to course correct. Each performance conversation is an opportunity to build trust by helping employees understand where they are, allowing them to share, and providing guidance on where they need to go.

4. Make time and space for performance reviews.

Increasing the frequency of performance conversations in your organization might take some convincing—but the more often that you meet, the more effective your conversations and performance will be .

Finding time is difficult. And getting in the right mental and emotional state can be even harder. But making performance reviews a priority means that employees will feel heard, managers will coach more effectively, and the organization will reap the results.

The environment you choose for your performance conversations has a big impact on the overall vibe of the discussion. With your workspace in mind, think about what message you will be sending based on the location, time, noise, and comfort level of your meeting space.

Here are a few elements to consider when making time and space for your performance review:

  • Will your meeting take place inside or outside?
  • Will it be a closed- or open-door meeting?
  • Are you able to take the meeting offsite or will you stay in the office?
  • Can other people see your meeting in action?
  • How much time are you allotting to these conversations? 30 minutes? 1 hour?
  • Is the best opportunity to meet before, during, or after work hours?
  • Can you meet over lunchtime, or is it better to meet during regular office hours?
  • How much time are you allocating to each agenda item?
  • Is this a good time for you? For your employee?
  • Are your meetings conducive to loud and public, or more quiet and private spaces?
  • What other environmental factors are you dealing with in terms of noise?
  • Can other people see or hear your meeting in action?
  • What distractions are present during the meeting?

Visual/Comfort

  • Are you sitting in big, comfy recliners or traditional office chairs? Or are you standing?
  • Do you have access to alternative scenery, like the outdoors or an art space/mural?
  • Are you surrounded by papers and pens to look at or a clean desk?
  • Are you eating or drinking while meeting?

These elements are important, but ensuring managers allocate plenty of time and capacity for these conversations is another challenge.

Take a page out of Fossil Group’s book, and see how they found the time and space to impact performance at every level of the organization.

5. Gather employee data and examples.

Performance conversations used to be based on subjective manager opinions. But in today’s data-driven world, that shouldn’t be the case.

Managers should approach performance conversations with rich employee data from a variety of sources. This data should help guide the conversation and build a more meaningful relationship between manager and employee. Bring data and examples from:

  • Engagement survey responses
  • Notes from 1-on-1 meetings
  • Examples of recognition
  • Recent feedback from pulse surveys
  • Talent review ratings
  • Previous performance conversations
  • Hiring documents
  • Strengths and work style tests
  • Input and 360 degree feedback from other managers or colleagues

All of these are great ways to shed light on a variety of different aspects of an employee’s performance. The more data you can provide to add context to any difficult or even positive discussions, the more real your conversations will be. By leveraging performance criteria, an employee’s opinion of perceived fairness of performance review results will be all the more authentic instead of leaving a bitter taste in their mouth.

6. Prepare notes and agenda.

No one enjoys walking into a meeting blindly. Performance conversations are no exception. In order to give managers and employees the best opportunity to have a meaningful conversation about performance, both parties should work together to prepare a shared agenda and notes with key talking points.

This will relieve some of the anxiety around the conversation and will give employees a chance to contribute their thoughts and prepare for the meeting. It also allows employees to adjust the agenda to fit their needs. When employees are encouraged to bring topics they want to discuss, managers can focus on actively listening rather than lecturing.

Your meeting agenda should also include the time and location in which you are meeting, as well as any ancillary information to support the conversation.

7. Align on expectations for your employees.

Performance conversations are sometimes difficult. When employees aren’t achieving goals or objectives, these meetings can help determine why and how to help an employee improve. Start off on the right foot by aligning on expectations for the meeting itself. Here are a few tips:

  • First, an employee should know their role in preparing for the meeting. They should review the agenda, add topics they’d like to cover, and know where and when the meeting will take place.
  • Second, employees should know what to bring to the meeting and what information might be referenced or pulled into the discussion from the manager’s side.
  • Finally, employees should have a clear idea of what their responsibilities will be after the meeting and how their manager plans to help them succeed.

Above all, managers and employees should have a shared understanding of what good performance looks like. When necessary, managers should provide clarity around each employee's role and how the organization perceives their contributions. By aligning expectations with your organization’s established performance criteria, your employees won’t feel misguided or alarmed when their review begins.

How to conduct a performance review

The third step to executing an effective performance conversation is conducting the performance review meeting itself. This section will overview:

  • Why it’s important to review past performance and focus on future success
  • Asking the right questions
  • Choosing the right phrases
  • Being a good listener
  • Ending the conversation with agreed upon next steps

8. Reflect on the past but focus on the future.

Traditional performance reviews focus on past behavior and performance. While acknowledging past performance is important, if that’s the only thing you talk about in a performance review, you’re not going to drive future performance.

Performance conversations should give employees an opportunity to address and correct performance in real-time and continuously see how their work aligns with organizational goals.

Future-focused performance reviews also align with employee wishes for more feedback and development opportunities. Employees want immediate feedback so they can improve performance on-the-go, rather than waiting for their annual performance review. They also want to know you care about their future—whether that’s with your organization or not.

9. Ask the right performance review questions.

Asking (and inviting) the right performance review questions is critical. The right questions help keep you focused on the topics that are important to your employees’ and organization’s success.

Pro Tip : Use a performance review template that invites honest, genuine feedback and uncovers actionable ways to improve performance.

Here are a few good questions to ask in a performance review:

  • What accomplishment(s) from the last quarter are you most proud of?
  • What goals do you have for the next quarter?
  • What development goals would you like to set for the next 6 months?
  • What obstacles are standing in your way?
  • What impact has your performance had on the team? The organization?
  • How can I improve as your manager?

Managers who approach performance conversations with an evaluation mindset may make employees feel like they’re on trial. Ask these questions to shift your mindset from judge to coach. And always encourage employees to ask questions of you. By coaching your employees and inviting them to contribute to the conversation, you can work together to help them achieve their goals.

10. Choose your phrases carefully.

Your words carry a lot of power. They can be motivating to your employees or completely deflate their work and value. When meeting with your employees you’ll want to be thoughtful, considerate, and take the time to prepare.

While there are many ways you could approach a performance conversation, what not to say in a performance review is just, if not equally, as important as what to say.

Here are a few tips for choosing effective performance review phrases:

  • Use specific language
  • Use measurement-oriented language
  • Use powerful action words
  • Stay positive and constructive
  • Focus on solving problems
  • Focus on opportunities for growth
  • Focus on the individual and avoid bias
  • Treat good performance with respect

11. Be an active listener.

Performance conversations should be two-way, so make sure you’re facilitating a dialogue and actually listening. Listening to your employees helps you learn and understand rather than simply give someone equal talking time. Ask follow-up questions to help you dig deeper and paint a fuller picture.

Using emotional intelligence , you can tap into your and others’ emotions. Seek to understand how the other person may be feeling, and work to keep your emotions in check if needed.

Finally, participating in the conversation isn’t always about sharing your point of view. After an employee shares their feedback, repeat back what you heard. This gives you the opportunity to check that you accurately understood what the other person said. If you’re spending your listening time preparing your response, then you’re not actually listening to the other person.

12. Wrap up the conversation with agreed upon next steps.

A performance conversation shouldn’t end when the meeting is over. After the conversation concludes managers and employees should review notes, define next steps, and follow up with shared comments and feedback. Without these items, performance conversations feel unresolved. If you want your review to actually improve performance, creating an action plan is vital.

How to follow up after a performance review

The final step to executing an effective review is the employee performance follow-up . After the meeting ends, employees will need continued support to achieve the goals you’ve created together. Keeping the conversation going and maintaining an open-door policy will ensure your employees feel supported and set up for success.

13. Keep the conversation going.

Performance conversations should happen regularly. When your meeting concludes, put the next performance conversation on the calendar. Better yet, schedule a series of conversations throughout the year. Whether these meetings occur quarterly or monthly, setting a regular cadence shows you are invested in your employees’ continued growth and development.

Even if your organization hasn’t made the switch to more regular conversations, it can be helpful for managers to establish an open-door policy with employees so that they feel comfortable discussing their performance all year long. Pairing this policy with 1-on-1 meetings and pulse checks throughout an employee’s lifecycle is a good way to move toward a continuous performance conversation model .

Bonus Tip! Find the right performance review software to make reviews easier.

Searching for a way to motivate and align your teams’ performance? Find a tool to help do the heavy lifting. Look for performance review software that features:

  • Easy-to-use tools that make regular performance conversations simple and effective
  • Collaboration and transparency with a shared agenda template that is built together
  • Ability to converse and take notes within 1-on-1s
  • Ability to pull in important data like goal progress and feedback
  • Best practice templates
  • Custom template creation to fit your culture and team

Effective performance conversations are an essential part of your performance management strategy. Your performance management software should help you get there.

Navigate your next employee performance review without breaking a sweat! Our Performance Review Checklist will help you effectively prepare for, facilitate, and follow-up on your performance conversations.

Published January 4, 2021 | Written By Jocelyn Stange

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Work Life is Atlassian’s flagship publication dedicated to unleashing the potential of every team through real-life advice, inspiring stories, and thoughtful perspectives from leaders around the world.

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Person completing a performance review in 2022

6 tips to make the most of your performance review

Your performance reviews should feel like an opportunity, not an obligation. Here’s how to make the most of the process.

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A team-wide trip to the dentist or the DMV would probably be met with more enthusiasm than the email that reminds you it’s time for your performance review at work. 

The performance review process can trigger a lot of anxiety and dread for both employees and managers — not to mention it’s yet another task to add to your seemingly never-ending to-do list. 

But when these conversations are approached with care and intention, performance reviews aren’t just an obligation — they’re an opportunity to forge deeper relationships, reflect on contributions, and set yourself (and your entire team) up for even more success moving forward. 

If that feels like a faraway finish line, we’re sharing some performance review best practices to help you transform this process from harrowing to helpful. 

6 tips for writing a self-review (with examples)

A thorough performance review process will likely  include at least two types of evaluations:

  • Self-review: You complete a questionnaire to reflect on and rate your own performance
  • Manager review: Your direct manager completes a questionnaire to rate your performance

Some organizations also collect feedback from other people you work closely with (called 360-degree feedback ) to bring in different perspectives and round out the process.

The whole thing can be daunting, but the self review in particular feels like a tightrope walk. Should you sing your own praises, or lean into humility? It’s a difficult balance. Plus, most people struggle to make honest and accurate judgments of their own skills in the first place. 

Here are some tips for writing a performance review for yourself, examples to guide you, and some other helpful reminders as you navigate the process.

1. Gather evidence that charts your path forward

How to advocate for yourself at work

How to advocate for yourself at work

Don’t assume your manager remembers every single one of your wins and contributions. They probably don’t, especially when remote or hybrid work might mean they have less visibility into what you’re doing day-to-day. Plus, research shows that humans tend to overestimate how much other people notice and retain our achievements. 

That’s exactly why you’re completing a self-assessment — so you can shine the spotlight on all of the top-notch work you’ve done. But, chances are, even you don’t remember everything that’s worth calling attention to. 

Start preparing early by digging up evidence and examples of what you’ve done since your last review. Take a peek back at your goals and OKRs , dig through old emails and to-do lists, comb through your completed tasks in your project management software, and look back on your previous reviews. You may even want to solicit some feedback from people you work closely with.

Doing so provides a helpful refresher on everything that’s happened over the past few months, which is solid supporting evidence to have when it’s time to actually complete your self review.

2. Provide plenty of examples

Your self-assessment is way more impactful when you don’t just answer the questions but also provide tangible examples to back those answers up. Try to include an example wherever you can. 

The groundwork you laid in the first step will be helpful with this, as you’re already armed with a long list of accomplishments that you can use as supporting evidence. Going the extra mile to connect your answers to the “real world” like this helps you and your manager understand what you did — as well as how you did it and why it mattered.

Performance review example

Question: What achievement are you most proud of from the past six months?  Answer: Spearheading our weekly “Ask the Expert” webinar series that launched in April. This project required me to flex my project management skills, focus on relationship-building, and work cross-functionally with the marketing, sales, and development teams. Four months into the series, we’ve grown our live webinar attendance by 55%, increased our email audience by 23%, and have come a long way in establishing ourselves as a thought leader in the industry — a company goal I was thrilled to be able to contribute to. 

3. Be honest about the good and the bad

One of the tough parts about performance reviews is that it feels like you’re petitioning to keep your own job. It’s tempting to think you should gloss over any of your challenges or missteps for fear of undermining your own credibility and value.

In reality, though, your self review isn’t just about applauding your own performance — it’s also about getting the support and resources you need to do your best work. And you can’t do that if you’re not honest about what you’re struggling with. 

There will inevitably be questions on your self review focused on your weaknesses or roadblocks, such as:

  • What goals from your last review (if any) did you not accomplish? 
  • What skill would you like to develop over the next review period? 
  • Do you think your work from the past [time period] reflects your strongest efforts? 

Answering these types of questions can be really tough. You want to be honest about any of your challenges or shortcomings, resisting the urge to sugarcoat them. However, after you plainly answer the question (this is another good spot to include an example, if you have one), dedicate the second portion of your answer to explaining:

  • What you’re already doing to address that improvement area
  • How your manager or your company can best support you on that journey

This loops your supervisor in on areas where you could be struggling and need some extra support, while also demonstrating highly desirable soft skills like honesty, accountability, self-awareness , and a growth mindset . 

Question: What’s one skill you would like to develop over the next six months?  Answer: Public speaking. Being asked to deliver our department presentation at the latest company all-hands meeting made me realize that public speaking — especially in front of large crowds — makes me nervous. I’ve already connected with a few colleagues who are top-notch public speakers to get their tips and advice, but I’d appreciate more chances to practice this skill in team meetings or other smaller, lower-pressure sessions.  

4. Focus on your future goals

Your performance review is just as much about where you want to go as it is about where you’ve already been. And with most employers recognizing that professional development is crucial for retaining employees , think of your self review as a chance to make a case for your career goals and the kind of work you’d like to do more of moving forward.

Clearly outline what you’d like to achieve and return to your list of achievements to provide some evidence for why you’re ready to expand in those directions. And again, come prepared with some suggestions for how your company can best support you. 

Question: Do you have any skills that you think aren’t being utilized in your current position Answer: I’d like to play a bigger role in guiding strategy on customer-facing software updates. Through daily support interactions with our customers, I have in-depth knowledge of their expectations and preferences. I’d welcome the opportunity to start working cross-functionally with the product team by sitting in on their weekly meetings.

5. Frame your suggestions positively

A non-threatening guide to giving your manager feedback

A non-threatening guide to giving your manager feedback

While the bulk of your performance review is dedicated to, well, your performance , most managers also take this conversation as a chance to solicit feedback from employees .

But that can feel more nerve-racking than anything for some people. Won’t providing constructive criticism put your boss in a bad mood? Is it in your best interest to paste on a smile and pretend that everything is perfect?

Rremember that this is a key opportunity to make a case for changes that you’d like to see happen. Don’t let it pass you by.  

In a piece for Harvard Business Review , Dr. Bret Sanner and Karoline Evans offer two strategies for providing suggestions in a way that’s positive (and doesn’t put your manager on the defensive):

  • Do: “[Idea] will help our team get work done even more efficiently.”
  • Don’t: “[Idea] means we won’t struggle with such slow progress and bottlenecks.”
  • Do: “Our team is already excelling at [goal] and [idea] will help us do even better.”
  • Don’t: “[Idea] will help us fix [problem].”

Question: What can your manager do to support you in reaching your goals?  Answer: It’d be helpful to be given a task, project, or goal without prescriptive directions for getting it done. For example, explain the problem that needs to be solved without offering any solutions or ideas right away. That gives me the chance to be creative, take ownership, and determine the best way forward, while also freeing up leadership time and resources for other priorities. 

6. Dedicate adequate time to the process

We get it — your performance review often feels like an inconvenience and a disruption to your normal work. You just want to get through it, turn it in, and get back to the other stuff that needs your attention.

But that hurried approach usually means you’ll do a sloppy and incomplete job. So here’s one of the most important performance review best practices to keep in mind: reserve enough time to get it done.

When you get the reminder that the review process is coming up, start collecting your evidence even before you have your self-assessment paperwork. When it comes to actually filling in your self-review, set aside at least a couple of hours to thoughtfully answer the questions and thoroughly review them before submitting. To make the most of your review, it’s far better to be comprehensive than quick.

For managers: 5 employee performance review best practices 

If you’re a manager yourself, you not only have the responsibility of filling out your own self-review — you have to complete a review for each of your direct reports too. 

Performance reviews comprise more than just a pile of paperwork (though there’s a lot of that too). They can set the tone for your employee/manager relationship for the next year. To make sure you’re using this time productively and constructively, use the following tactics. 

1. Provide information and resources ahead of time

When you complete an employee’s written review, submit it to them ahead of time. That gives them the space they need to process your comments, come up with questions, and approach their review like a conversation rather than an inspection. 

2. Focus on output, not hours

The working world (and, as a result, productivity metrics ) have changed as flexibility continues to be a priority. Recognize people for what they contribute, not their hours on the clock. After all, if an employee managed to deliver strong outcomes while working fewer hours, that’s a win for you. 

3. Emphasize qualitative achievements

Targets are great, but don’t forget to also pay attention to soft skills and less tangible qualities. Does a team member maintain strong and positive relationships with their peers? Are they the first one to volunteer to help out with a challenge? Those contributions deserve praise too. 

4. Clarify future goals

How to write SMART goals

How to write SMART goals

Employees should leave their reviews understanding what they’ve done as well as what they need to do next. Yet, only 14% of employees say their performance reviews actually inspire them to improve. Collaborate with employees to establish objectives for the next few months (use the SMART goal framework for added clarity), document them, and then store them somewhere accessible, like Confluence . 

5. Address the tough topics

Ideally, you frequently have candid conversations with your team, whether it’s a quarterly check-in or a weekly one-on-one. Even so, their performance review is often a fitting time to address loftier concerns like burnout , workloads, team conflicts , or even questions about the company’s future. Give employees an open opportunity to voice their worries so they can move forward with some reassurance — or, at the very least, some clarity. 

Performance reviews: Look back and move forward

Let’s be honest — you’ll probably never be overcome with excitement when you receive the nudge that your performance review is coming up. No matter how many times you’ve been through it, the process will carry a certain intimidation factor.

Fortunately, whether you need to do a self review, employee review, or both, a little bit of preparation can help you navigate this time with a little more composure and confidence.

Advice, stories, and expertise about work life today.

Status.net

How to Write an Effective Performance Review (Essential Steps)

By Status.net Editorial Team on April 14, 2023 — 8 minutes to read

The Importance of Employee Performance Reviews

Employee performance reviews play a crucial role in your organization’s growth and success. By conducting regular evaluations, you can acknowledge your team members’ hard work, provide constructive feedback, and help them improve their skills and performance.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your employees allows you to allocate resources more effectively. You can identify areas where training or support is needed, so that your team members have the opportunity to develop their skills and contribute more to the organization.

Performance reviews also serve to increase employee motivation and engagement. By discussing accomplishments and setting achievable goals, you not only provide a sense of purpose for your employees but also create an environment where they feel valued and recognized.

How to Conduct an Effective Employee Performance Review

Preparing for an effective employee performance review begins with setting clear goals and expectations. Here are some tips to help you conduct a successful review:

1. Plan ahead: Schedule the performance review well in advance to give both you and your employee enough time to prepare. Allow ample time for reflection and self-assessment on both sides.

2. Review past performance: Look back at your employee’s past performance and discuss their strengths and areas for improvement. Consider using a mix of quantitative data (numbers, targets, and percentages) and qualitative information (feedback from peers and managers) to paint a clear picture of their progress.

3. Be specific: When providing feedback, use specific examples to illustrate your points. Avoid vague statements or generic praise. This will help your employee understand how their actions impact the team and the company.

4. Listen actively: During the review, make sure to provide ample opportunity for your employee to express their thoughts and concerns. Practice active listening by truly engaging with their feedback and asking follow-up questions. (Learn more: Active Listening: Techniques, Examples, Tips)

5. Set achievable goals: Work with your employee to set realistic, measurable goals for the future. Ensure that these objectives align with the company’s overall vision and values.

6. Provide ongoing support: Performance reviews shouldn’t be the only time you discuss your employee’s progress. Maintain open communication throughout the year and offer guidance and support as needed.

30 Employee Feedback Examples (Positive & Negative) How to Give Effective Feedback (and Avoid Mistakes)

26 Example Paragraphs for Performance Reviews [Positive & Negative Feedback] 2000+ Performance Review Phrases: The Complete List (Performance Feedback Examples)

Employee Evaluation Example [Guide for Managers] How to Write an Employee Evaluation [Examples]

What Skills and Competencies Should a Review Assess

When conducting a performance review, it’s essential to assess skills and competencies across various aspects of an employee’s job. Here’s a breakdown of skills and competencies you should consider evaluating during a performance review:

  • Technical skills: Assess your employee’s job-specific knowledge and expertise. For example, their proficiency in software programs, tools, or equipment relevant to their role.
  • Communication skills: Evaluate how effectively your employee communicates with colleagues, managers, and clients. This includes both written and verbal communication.
  • Teamwork and collaboration: Consider how well your employee works with others and contributes to team goals. Their ability to collaborate, lend support, and solve conflicts are key aspects to assess.
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking: Assess your employee’s ability to analyze situations, identify issues, and develop effective solutions to overcome challenges.
  • Time management and organization: Evaluate how well your employee manages their workload, prioritizes tasks, and meets deadlines.
  • Leadership and management skills: For those in leadership roles, assess their ability to guide, motivate, and direct their team to reach goals and grow professionally.
  • Adaptability and flexibility: Consider your employee’s ability to cope with change, learn new skills, or adjust to shifting priorities in the workplace.

Full list: 28 Essential Areas of Improvement for Employees

How to Measure Employee’s Performance

Measuring your employee’s performance is crucial in providing valuable feedback and identifying areas for improvement. Here are some suggestions for doing so effectively:

1. Set clear expectations: Clearly outline the goals and responsibilities for each employee’s position. This helps both you and your employee understand what is expected and can serve as a benchmark for measuring performance.

2. Use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Identify relevant KPIs for each role, such as sales targets, customer satisfaction scores, or project completion rates. Track these metrics throughout the evaluation period to better assess your employee’s progress and achievements.

3. Observe and document: Regularly observe your employee’s behavior on the job and take note of their strengths and weaknesses. Jot down specific examples of both to support your evaluation and provide a clearer picture of their performance.

4. Get feedback from others: Include input from colleagues, clients, or other team members who work closely with your employee. While remaining anonymous, their insights can provide valuable context and a more objective understanding of your employee’s performance.

5. Consider self-assessment: Encourage your employee to evaluate their performance as well. Discuss their self-assessment during the review process to understand their perspective and compare it with your observations.

Learn more: How to Measure Quantity Of Work for Performance Reviews (Full Guide)

How to Give Feedback: Job Knowledge Performance Review

Reasons to Use Performance Management Software

Performance management software can be a game-changer for your performance review process. By streamlining the process and providing accurate data, it allows you to make more informed decisions for your employees. Here are some ways the software can help:

  • Goal Setting: The software allows you to set clear, measurable goals for your employees. This makes it easier for you to track their progress and offers a structured way to evaluate their performance.
  • Real-time Feedback: With performance management software, you can easily provide instant feedback to your employees. This can improve communication and ensures that your team is aware of their strengths and areas to improve.

In addition to these main features, many tools also provide additional benefits such as:

  • Analytics: Gain insights into your team’s performance with powerful analytics. This not only helps you understand individual performance but also identifies trends and patterns in your teams.
  • Integration: Performance management software often integrates with other tools you may be using, such as project management or HR systems. This ensures a seamless flow of information and streamlined processes.
  • Employee Development: By tracking performance, identifying areas for improvement, and setting goals, the software can support your employees’ growth and development within your organization.

How to Implement Performance Management Software

Choosing the right performance management software for your organization is an essential step in improving employee performance reviews. Follow these tips for a smooth implementation:

1. Evaluate your needs: Before selecting a software, assess your organization’s unique needs and requirements. Consider factors such as company size, industry, and desired features.

2. Research available software: Perform research on various performance management software options available in the market. Look for features that align with your organization’s needs and goals.

3. Request for demos or trials: Reach out to software vendors and request demos or trials to evaluate which tool best suits your organization’s performance management process.

4. Train your team: Once you have selected a software, ensure that your team is properly trained on how to use it effectively. This may involve conducting workshops, tutorials, or webinars.

5. Set up clear goals and KPIs: Work with your team to identify goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) that the software will help you track and monitor. This will ensure consistency and clarity in evaluating performance.

6. Regularly evaluate and adjust: Check in regularly to assess how the software is working for your organization. Solicit feedback from employees and managers to make necessary adjustments and improvements.

Tips for Writing Effective Performance Review Comments

  • Start with a positive comment: Begin the review with a positive comment about the employee’s performance. This sets a positive tone for the rest of the review.
  • Be specific: Use specific examples to illustrate your points. This will help the employee understand exactly what they did well and what they need to improve on.
  • Use action-oriented language: Use action-oriented language to describe the employee’s performance. For example, instead of saying “you did a good job,” say “you consistently met your goals and exceeded expectations.”
  • Provide constructive feedback: If there are areas where the employee needs to improve, provide constructive feedback. Be specific about what they need to do differently and provide resources or support to help them improve.
  • End on a positive note: End the review on a positive note, emphasizing the employee’s strengths and potential for growth. This will help motivate the employee to continue to improve.

What to Avoid When Writing Performance Review Comments

  • Avoid vague or general comments: Avoid using vague or general comments that don’t provide specific examples or feedback. This can leave the employee confused about what they need to do to improve.
  • Avoid focusing only on weaknesses: While it’s important to provide feedback on areas where the employee needs to improve, don’t focus solely on their weaknesses. Be sure to also highlight their strengths and achievements.
  • Avoid personal attacks: Avoid making personal attacks or criticisms of the employee’s character or personality. Stick to discussing their performance on the job.
  • Avoid making promises you can’t keep: Avoid making promises to the employee that you can’t keep, such as promising a promotion or raise without the authority to do so.
  • Avoid being inconsistent: Be consistent in your evaluation of the employee’s performance. Don’t give different feedback to different employees for the same performance.

Performance Review Examples

1. Balanced Scorecard: This approach combines objective indicators of success, such as sales numbers, with subjective measures, like teamwork and communication. You can score these items on a 1-10 scale and provide an overall assessment. Consider using a table format:

2. Goal-Based Evaluation: This method ties performance to the goals and objectives you and your employee established at the start of the evaluation period. Present each goal and discuss the outcomes:

  • Goal 1: Increase monthly sales by 10% – Achieved
  • Goal 2: Attend two industry conferences – Partially Achieved

3. Self-Assessment Template: Encourage your employees to self-evaluate before your meeting. Provide them with a simple template that includes questions about accomplishments, challenges, and objectives for the future:

  • What were your biggest accomplishments this year?
  • What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?
  • What are your goals for the upcoming year?
  • How To Write a Manager Performance Review? (with Examples)
  • How to Write an Employee Evaluation [Examples]
  • Job Knowledge Performance Review Phrases (Examples)
  • 100 Performance Review Phrases for Job Knowledge, Judgment, Listening Skills
  • Employee Evaluation Example [Guide for Managers]
  • 169 Leadership Performance Review Examples for Management Style, Planning, Supervision

Workplace training

11 minute read

28 Performance Review Summary Examples - Phrases & Expert Tips

Kat Boogaard

Kat Boogaard

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You’re pretty sure that your direct reports dread the performance review process. You get it — it’s nerve-racking to sit there and be evaluated and critiqued.

But here’s the thing. You might be the manager, but you get nervous too. Dishing out constructive criticism is tough, and you want to make sure you’re delivering valuable feedback in the most effective way possible.

Take some comfort in the fact that you aren’t alone. A whopping 96 percent of managers are dissatisfied with their organization’s performance management practices (which includes performance reviews). 

Yikes! Needless to say, there’s some room for improvement when it comes to performance reviews.

While there are undoubtedly some company-wide rules you need to abide by, the good news is that you have quite a bit of control over your employees’ performance assessment experience. 

In this guide, we’ll share some examples (tips and phrases) to make sure your performance conversations and evaluations are productive, rather than anxiety-inducing wastes of time. 

What is a performance review?

A performance review (also called a performance evaluation or a performance appraisal) is a formal conversation where a manager will offer feedback to an employee. 

During this appraisal, a manager will discuss the employee’s recent achievements, how they’re fulfilling their responsibilities, their progress toward goals, and areas of improvement — with the objective of helping that employee perform even better moving forward. 

Effective performance reviews are intentional, scheduled conversations and not sporadic, random chats. These conversations typically happen every six months or every year. 

What are the benefits of performance reviews?

Your employees might not cartwheel into their appraisal interview, and nerves are normal on both ends. 

Performance review examples - nerves

  • Performance: Your employees will struggle to perform at their best level if they don’t get honest feedback about how they can do better. When you deliver feedback effectively, you can get the best work out of your direct reports. One study found that 72 percent of respondents thought their performance would improve if their managers would provide more corrective feedback.  
  • Engagement: Employees want feedback. In fact, one study found that nearly 34 percent of full-time employees said they’d prefer to receive more feedback from their supervisors. While the employee evaluation interview shouldn’t be the only time you’re offering feedback, it’s a great opportunity to show them that you’re invested in their growth and success.  
  • Retention: It makes sense that satisfied employees stick around longer. Data from Gallup shows that frequent, strengths-based feedback can reduce turnover by nearly 15 percent .  
  • Career Development: A performance review is a chance for managers and direct reports to connect about career goals, and how the company can support employees in pursuing those ambitions. When 48 percent of employees say they’d leave their jobs in favor of new learning opportunities, these conversations are important. They make your employees feel supported and encouraged, as well as allow you to collaboratively hash out action items to pursue their career goals. 
One of the best ways to support career development is to provide your employees with access to plenty of learning opportunities. 

Want to boost your team's success?

Learn why training and development matters (and how to do it right)!

What to say

When done right, your performance reviews offer plenty of advantages for both you and your staff. But, uhh...how do you do them right? 

Performance review examples - how to do it right

You should insert relevant details to provide specific, helpful, and meaningful feedback to your employees. You’ll need to expand beyond these templates, but they’ll help you get the conversation started — and sometimes that’s the hardest part.

🏅Performance review comments about leadership

If your employee is meeting expectations… 

1. "You stepped up to the plate to lead [team/project] to [result]."

2. "Your team has exceeded their goal to [objective] by [metric]."

3. "You took ownership when [problem/challenge] could’ve [undesirable result]. You turned things around to [desirable result]."

4. "Your team provided positive feedback about your ability to [responsibility] and [responsibility]."

5. "You’re always willing to speak up and contribute fresh ideas in team meetings. Your suggestion to [action] helped us [result]."

If your employee needs improvement… 

6. "Your team could benefit from more [responsibility/quality]."

7. "Over the next [time period], I’d like to see you step up and lead [project/task/objective]."

Effective performance reviews are intentional, scheduled conversations and not sporadic, random chats.

🤝Performance review comments about teamwork and collaboration 

If your employee is meeting expectations…

8. "You did an excellent job collaborating with [person/department] to [result]."

9. "You stepped in to help [person/department] when [problem]."

10. "You bring [valuable skill/trait] to our team, and your contributions don’t go unnoticed." 

Phrases to use if your employee needs improvement…

11. "I’ve noticed you struggle to collaborate when [situation]."

12. "You tend to be [closed-minded/critical/disengaged/etc.] when presented with opinions that are different from your own, like when [specific example]." 

performance review examples

📞Performance review comments about communication

13. "You did a great job of keeping all of the necessary stakeholders in the loop when [situation]."

14. "I’ve noticed that you’re particularly skilled at [specific communication competency]."

15. "You’re never afraid to ask thoughtful questions, like you did when [situation]."

16. "Our entire team benefits from your ability to [specific communication competency], which was especially helpful when [situation]."

17. "I think your messages would be better received if you focused on [area of improvement]."

18. "You tend to [communication habit or pet peeve] which can [negative result]." 

Provide specific, helpful, and meaningful feedback when conducting employee performance reviews.

🕵️Performance review comments about problem solving

19. "You’re persistent about solving problems, and you were able to [unique solution] when we struggled to [problem]."

20. "[Specific project] made it evident that you consider numerous solutions before choosing a way forward."

21. "You treat problems as learning opportunities, which has empowered our entire team to [positive result]."

If your employee needs improvement…

22. "When presented with an unexpected roadblock, I’d like to see you [area of improvement]."

23. "You could benefit from [necessary problem-solving competency] before [result]." 

The objective of a performance review is to help the employee perform even better moving forward. 

🪴Performance review comments about growth and development

24. "In our previous review, we set a goal of [specific goal] and you surpassed that objective by [metric]."

25. "I’ve seen you stretch yourself in new ways this past [timeframe], like when you [task or achievement] and [task or achievement]."

26. "You’ve expanded [skillset], as demonstrated when [situation]." 

27. "I think it would serve you well to step outside of your comfort zone by [actionable task, goal, or expectation]."

28. "In the next [timeframe], I want to see you refine a new skill, such as [new skill]." 

6 more tips for top-notch performance reviews

Knowing how to get a performance conversation started is a huge piece of the puzzle. But, while the above templates and phrases are helpful, they won’t make for a successful review session on their own.

Here are six more tips to equip your employees with meaningful feedback and actually empower them to improve. 

1. Collect peer feedback

Honest criticisms and recognition from a manager is important. But, to truly give employees a holistic view of how they’re doing, collect feedback (this can be done anonymously) from an employee’s peers as well. As Gartner research shows , peer feedback can boost performance.

2. Avoid ganging up

Delivering peer feedback leads to a more well-rounded review, but be mindful of your language to avoid seeming like the entire team is ganging up on that employee. Phrases like, “Everybody says that…” or “The team has noticed…” can make your employee feel singled out.

Performance review examples - ganging up

3. Provide specific examples

You’ll notice that a lot of the templates and phrases above include spots where you should lean on specific examples. Those anecdotes will help support your point. Something like, “You stepped up to cover Sasha’s responsibilities when she needed to be out for a family emergency,” carries a lot more impact than a generic statement like, “You’re always willing to help team members.”

4. Don’t skip the positives

When the goal of the discussion is to help employees improve, it’s easy to place way too much emphasis on constructive criticism. But, employees also want to hear what they’re doing well. That’s why many of the phrases above help you deliver positive feedback to your direct reports. When only 26 percent of workers feel highly valued, keep in mind that they need to hear the good stuff too. 

5. Remember to listen

Performance reviews should be a conversation — not your chance to dole out directions and criticisms to your employees without pausing. Make sure you ask questions about how they feel about their performance, what things they think they need to work on, and what goals they’d like to set moving forward. Keep those lines of communication open, so your employees don’t become one of the 67 percent of employees who don’t feel heard during reviews. 

6. Check in frequently

Think a performance review is a good time to dump a bunch of feedback onto employees and send them on their way? Think again. The things you discuss during the appraisal shouldn’t be a surprise, as you should be providing constructive feedback to employees frequently. Make sure that you discuss performance regularly in your one-on-ones. That’s far more effective than overwhelming them with feedback once or twice per year. 

Stressed about performance reviews? Take a deep breath

Performance reviews inspire nerves for both sides — the employee and the manager. That’s perfectly normal.

Fortunately, things become at least a little bit easier once you get the conversation rolling, and this guide can help. Use some of the templated phrases we outlined here with your own direct reports, and you’ll open up an honest discussion that helps your employees do their best work.

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Kat Boogaard

Kat is a writer specializing in career, self-development, and productivity topics. When she escapes her computer, she enjoys reading, hiking, golfing, and dishing out tips for prospective freelancers on her website.

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What is a performance review?

What is involved in the performance review process, what should you include in an employee review, what are some effective phrases to include in an employee performance review, 10 tips for how to write a performance review, what is the future of performance management, performance reviews at work are evolving.

Performance reviews can motivate employees , boost employee engagement , and help meet organizational goals. But they only work when done effectively.

Many managers struggle with not knowing what to write or how to deliver their feedback in a constructive way .

Navigating a performance review is a challenge that requires sensitivity and preparation. Understanding the performance review process can help you conduct more effective performance reviews.

So let’s take a deep dive into a few areas around performance reviews: 

  • What performance reviews are
  • What to include in performance reviews
  • Ten tips for effective performance reviews
  • The future of performance management

An employee performance review is a process by which a manager gives an employee feedback on their work . The manager evaluates the employee's performance based on the expectations for their role. 

When done well, performance reviews can help employees understand: 

  • What is expected of them
  • What they’re doing well
  • How they can improve
  • How their work supports the company’s goals 

Managers can recognize high-performing employees and correct issues along the way. Performance reviews encourage growth and development and build employee engagement.

Performance reviews have evolved from annual reviews to an ongoing process. A manager and their direct report discuss their goals, performance, strengths, and weaknesses. 

This ongoing conversation helps the employee improve their performance and meet organizational goals .

A performance review may also be called a performance appraisal or evaluation. 

The performance review process is cyclical. It has three main phases:

  • Goal setting
  • Performance conversation

Let’s take a look at each stage in detail, as well as performance review examples of what each of these stages looks like.

man-woman-talking-performance-reviews

1. Goal setting

In the first step of the appraisal process, an employee has an opportunity to discuss goals with their manager. This usually happens at the beginning of the year. This conversation sets expectations for the year and helps the employee know what they are striving to achieve. 

2. Follow-up

Throughout the year, the manager and employee can meet regularly to discuss the employee's performance. 

They can explore whether the employee has met their goals and where they might need to improve. 

In some companies, these meetings take place with regularity, such as quarterly or monthly. The manager documents their feedback in writing. 

In other organizations, these discussions are more informal and do not require written documentation.

3. Performance conversation

The final step of the performance review is a formal discussion of how the employee performed throughout the year. 

The manager provides written feedback to the employee, and together they discuss how the employee performed. From this review conversation, they set new goals for the following year. 

Let’s take a closer look at how to write a good employee evaluation.

Effective employee reviews generally cover three things: 

  • The employee’s self-review
  • An assessment of how well the employee met goals
  • An evaluation of how they worked throughout the year

Let’s take a look at each in more detail.

1. Self-review

The employee’s self-evaluation helps the manager understand how the employee sees themselves. It also gives them an idea of what they are expecting to discuss. 

It gives the manager the information they need to set expectations and steer the conversation. You can consider using some performance review questions to help guide this evaluation. 

2. Assessment of progress on their goals

This part of the performance evaluation is the manager’s assessment of the employee's performance goals. 

Here, the manager describes how the employee performed well or how they did not meet expectations. 

Managers should always be specific and include examples. This will help the employee see specific instances related to their work. 

3. Evaluation of how they work

The performance review should include an evaluation of how the employee fulfilled their role.

These evaluations describe whether the employee worked in ways that support the company culture. It also helps the manager evaluate their core competencies.

man-woman-high-five-performance-reviews

The most useful feedback is clear, specific, and measurable. People managers should take care to offer feedback that is easy to interpret and actionable to address.

Effective performance reviews use clear and concise language. They describe how an employee’s performance compares to expectations. 

Reviews include key accomplishments and examples of both strengths and weaknesses . They should also include expectations and goals for the coming year. This will guide the employee’s performance.

Performance reviews should focus on observable and measurable performance. 

They include specific examples and next steps to take. In other words, employees should be clear about how they can make improvements. 

Managers should avoid vague statements or exaggerations. They should point out opportunities for learning and adjustment rather than focusing on failures.

Effective performance review phrases could include:

  • Improved production by X% by… 
  • Exceeded the original goal of X by X% through efforts to… 
  • Created a program that delivered X results, which were beyond our goal of Y… 
  • Continuously seeks to improve processes by… 
  • Effectively communicates status updates on important projects to key stakeholders… 
  • Has built strong working relationships with key partners, including… 
  • Initiates and executes innovative ideas such as… 
  • Makes a concerted effort to learn new skills and stay up-to-date on industry trends such as… 
  • Has made considerable progress offering solutions to problems, including… 
  • Goes above and beyond in their work. Examples include… 
  • Could be even more effective if… 
  • Can exceed goals next year by improving… 

These phrases are a start, and you can use them to create a performance review template. But they should be followed with relevant examples, numbers and data, and ideas for future improvement. 

According to research by Gallup, only 14% of employees agree that performance reviews motivate them to improve in their work. 

This is a challenge for managers, who need to find new and more effective ways to carry out performance reviews.

But you might be wondering how. Let’s take a look at 10 performance review tips to help you get started.

1. Set expectations and goals from the start

Managers should ensure employees are clear about what the company’s expectations are and what their goals are. Doing this from the outset makes the feedback process clearer. 

2. Gather relevant information

Managers should gather useful inputs, such as the employee’s self-review and goals, as well as helpful data and examples. 

This can include: 

  • Notes from one-on-one 
  • Feedback from other stakeholders
  • Examples of recognition
  • Relevant projects or other work products 

Documenting performance and gathering data throughout the year makes it easier to write reviews. 

3. Make the time

It can take time to write a thoughtful and helpful review. Managers should set the necessary time aside to ensure they have ample opportunity to be as thorough as possible. 

4. Keep the review objective

Managers should base their comments and feedback on observations and data and not opinions. 

5. Use a coaching mindset

It is important to approach the review as an opportunity to coach the employee. Offer feedback on strengths and key areas for improvement . Developing a mentor-mentee relationship with your employee can help make the performance review process more effective.

6. Use language carefully

Language matters. Managers should make sure their language is specific and measurement-oriented. They should use powerful action words. They should focus on the individual and avoid comparisons to others.

7. Include the positive

Performance reviews are an opportunity to reinforce great performance . Managers should take the time to capture what has gone well and how the employee has performed positively.

8. Share constructive criticism

At the same time, it’s important for managers to share constructive criticism in the review. 

Constructive criticism can provide employees with clarity on how they can improve in order to be even more effective. 

9. Avoid biases

When writing reviews, managers should take extra care to avoid key biases . 

  • The halo effect (seeing everything an employee does as positive)
  • The horn effect (seeing everything an employee does as negative)
  • The just-like-me bias (rating someone positively because you perceive them as similar to the manager) 

10. Prepare for the discussion

Beyond writing a review, managers should take time to prepare for the discussion. 

  • How will you share feedback?
  • What questions will you ask the employee? 
  • How will you structure the discussion? 

The performance review discussion is critical for clarifying expectations and shaping future performance. 

person-taking-notes-performance-reviews

Performance reviews have a long history within organizations and will continue to evolve in the future. 

There are four main trends to watch as performance reviews evolve:

  • Use of performance management software
  • Future focus 
  • Whether to do performance reviews at all

Let’s take a closer look at each trend.

1. Performance management software

Most organizations no longer rely on paper versions of reviews. Performance management software systems are now available to streamline the review process. 

Performance review software helps to: 

  • Guide the process
  • Support the manager in documenting helpful feedback 
  • Encourage the manager and employee to follow all the steps in the process 

These tools encourage collaboration and transparency in the performance review process. In the future, more organizations will leverage this type of software for their performance reviews. 

2. Frequency

Many organizations are rethinking the frequency with which reviews take place. 

We have long known that frequent feedback is more effective and helps to guide employee performance. Ongoing conversations help ensure that employees understand what to do to improve before too much time has passed. 

The traditional model of annual feedback is too infrequent. Many organizations have moved to weekly, monthly, or quarterly reviews. 

But companies will need to balance employees’ need for feedback with ensuring they are not creating too much work for managers. 

3. Future focus

Many companies are considering making their performance review process more future-focused. This is in contrast to traditional reviews that focus on past performance.

In a survey at Deloitte, more than 58% of the executives said their performance review system didn’t deliver the intended results because it focused too much on past behavior.

They found their traditional performance review process was no longer meeting their needs. Setting goals and receiving feedback annually didn’t give them the agility to meet emerging challenges.

So, Deloitte shifted the focus of their performance reviews to the future rather than the past.

They look at how the employee should plan to work and behaviors they expect to see. Many organizations are following this example by redesigning their performance review processes.

4. Whether or not to even have employee performance reviews

Employees like the predictability of knowing when they’ll receive feedback. However, performance reviews have come under fire in the last decade for many of the reasons covered here. 

That’s why some organizations have experimented with eliminating formal performance reviews altogether. They replace them with more informal conversations about performance. 

For some organizational cultures, the elimination of performance reviews has gone well. 

Managers have stepped up to offer more continual feedback , and they have foregone the formalities of the process.

Other companies have eliminated reviews but found that employees stopped receiving feedback. 

Managers need to continue to find ways to help employees understand what is expected of them. This requires ensuring they have feedback on how they’re performing.

This may take place as a traditional performance review process or as something completely different. 

Time will tell whether more organizations will eliminate performance reviews or simply find ways to make them more relevant.

The goal is for the performance review to be accurate, timely, and future-focused. Performance reviews can be the key to achieving operational excellence . 

Rather than spending too much time on the past, effective performance reviews focus on the employee's future actions.

The best managers set expectations, review priorities, give feedback, and provide guidance along the way. Whatever performance review process a company follows, managers need to be empowered and trained properly. 

The future of performance management promotes speed, agility, and constant learning. This is good for the employee and good for the company. 

If you need support adapting your performance review process, discover how BetterUp’s expert coaches can help you .

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Bethany Klynn, PhD

BetterUp Fellow Coach and PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

31 examples of problem solving performance review phrases

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  • 15 types of employee performance review ...

15 types of employee performance reviews (with templates and examples)

Team Asana contributor image

An employee performance review is a meeting between a manager and their employee to discuss how the team member is pacing toward organizational goals. Though simple in design, there are many ways to create a more effective process that brings your reviews to life. See the top 15 performance review templates to measure success and improve your review skills.

Measuring success is a key piece to leading an effective team. After all, you can’t improve until you know what skills you need to build. 

You can measure success in different ways—from peer reviews to self reviews and different performance evaluations in between. To figure out the right review style for your team, we’ve put together 15 employee performance review templates to measure job performance effectively.

What is a performance review?

An employee performance review is an evaluation where managers, peers, or other stakeholders assess a team member’s job performance over time. While the performance review process differs depending on the period you evaluate and who is leading the review, there are a few key pieces to a successful review. 

Your performance review process should include:

Employee strengths: Always include feedback and praise regarding the team member’s strengths, such as effective problem solving and communication skills. This offers insight into what the employee is doing well.

Employee weaknesses: It’s also valuable to discuss any weaknesses or areas of opportunity for the team member. Areas of focus could include the ability to work in a team setting or when and how to share ideas more effectively. This is an opportunity for the team member to gain insight into where they have room to improve.  

Rating system: To determine areas of improvement, your performance review should include a system to gauge each employee’s skill level in pre-set categories. A common example is rating employees based on standards such as: consistently exceeds expectations, often exceeds expectations, consistently meets expectations, needs development. You might use these ratings to evaluate the employee across different categories, like strategic mindset, communication skills, and team collaboration.

Review period: During the performance review process, you will measure an employee’s performance relative to a set period. Each organization does this slightly differently, but common periods include annually, bi-annually, or quarterly. 

Set goals: Clear SMART goals give employees a sense of where they can improve and what they should focus on in the future. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. This helps to clearly define performance expectations for your employees. 

Every performance review will have the above elements, but there are other considerations to keep in mind—such as individual skills—that can’t be easily measured. These skills could include your ability to brainstorm in a team setting or support team members for the good of the organization. 

How to give constructive feedback

Before you dive into the structure and style of various performance reviews, you must understand how to give constructive criticism effectively. Constructive criticism focuses on providing helpful feedback supported by specific examples. This gives team members the context they need to understand why they received the feedback they did.

To give effective feedback , be sure to do the following. 

Notify the employee before you meet

If you don't have a lot of experience giving feedback, it can be tempting to launch into a feedback session and get it over with as soon as possible. But in fact, the opposite is true. The more time you give your team member to prepare to receive the feedback, the more valuable the session will be. That’s because team members who are notified in advance can get into the right mindset to receive feedback openly without becoming defensive or passive. 

Be sure to let the employee know about the feedback session before you sit down for the official conversation. If possible, tell the employee what the feedback will be about. For example, you might say “During our quarterly performance review next week, I’d love for you to walk through your three proudest accomplishments from the last quarter and three things you want to focus on during the next quarter. Then, I’ll share the same thing. Together, we’ll come up with next steps and focus areas for you to dive into in the coming months.” This will give them time to prepare for the meeting and prep any relevant questions on their end.

Communicate in private

It’s easy for constructive feedback to accidentally turn into a negative experience if you share it in a group setting. No matter the type or style of performance review, make sure you’re communicating feedback in a private one-on-one setting. This ensures the employee doesn’t feel targeted in a group setting. 

If the type of performance review style you’re using includes feedback from more than one person—for example, peer reviews—it’s your responsibility as the team manager to aggregate that feedback and present it to your team member in private. Keeping the feedback session between you and your team member gives them a chance to process the feedback on their own time.

Offer actionable feedback

To ensure your feedback is constructive, always pair it with data-backed insights and actionable next steps. Doing so creates transparency around why the employee got a specific review based on their work. Offer specific feedback with details around what's been working well, what they can improve, and how to get there.

For example, imagine your team member has missed some important deadlines. You want to share that feedback with them so they can prioritize hitting their due dates in the coming months. In this example, it's significantly more valuable if you can include specific examples of due dates they missed. That way, you and your team members can refer to specific instances, work to figure out what went wrong, and then come up with concrete action items and processes they can implement in the future.

Document feedback in writing

Be sure to document constructive feedback in writing. You can do this in a feedback system or a tool like Asana . This way, you and the employee can look back on past performance and measure objectives accordingly.

This goes for positive as well as constructive feedback. Oftentimes, we overlook documenting positive feedback since, well, it’s positive. But keeping track of the team member’s major wins is a great way to increase team morale while reducing impostor syndrome and burnout .

Time-oriented employee review templates

Now that you have a few feedback best practices in your toolkit, let’s take a look at the first type of employee performance review: time-oriented review periods.

1. Annual performance review

Review frequency : Once a year. 

An annual performance review measures a team member’s accomplishments over a year’s time. Overall performance may focus on core competencies as well as individual goals relative to performance management. 

An annual review is a great way to analyze performance history over the course of a year. Be sure to write the performance review down in a shared space. Documenting work in a central source of truth allows you and your employee to review what they did over the course of the year. This creates transparency around expectations and milestones . 

2. Mid-year performance review

Review frequency : Twice a year. 

A mid-year performance review measures a team member’s accomplishments bi-annually. This is a great option for teams who want to create transparency around performance.

That’s because giving team members an opportunity to see where their performance lands every six months allows them to gauge their performance and implement changes where needed. On the other hand, positive performance also gives team members a sense of what they’re excelling at. 

3. Quarterly performance review

Review frequency : Four times a year. 

Take transparent communication one step further with a quarterly performance review. A quarterly performance review evaluates a team member’s success four times a year, and gives your employee a more consistent opportunity to turn weaknesses into strengths. 

Just as other performance review styles, it’s also important to focus as much time and energy on positives as you do on constructive feedback. Both encourage good performance.

Quarterly performance review

4. Year-end performance review

A year-end performance review measures a team member’s success against the financial success of the company. This review is commonly scheduled alongside the evaluation of long-term company goals and is used frequently for operations and marketing teams. This is because their work is closely aligned with financial revenue goals. 

While each company starts and ends their financial year on different timelines, it’s common for a year-end review to happen around the end of the calendar year.

5. 30-60-90 performance review

Review frequency : Once a month for the first three months of employment.

A 30-60-90 day performance review measures a new team member’s success. Often paired alongside a 30-60-90 day plan , this method reviews the new team member against job expectations after their first, second, and third months in the role. 

This review is a great way to give new team members a baseline of how they're meeting their role expectations. It also creates transparency around areas where they should focus more energy and time perfecting skills. Employee onboarding is tricky, and your team members may need to adjust their expectations, focus areas, and priorities as they learn more about the role. Without doing a 30-60-90 review, a new employee might not get a performance review for their first 6+ months working at a company—so they have very little understanding of how they're performing. 

As a manager, one of the most valuable things you can do for new team members is to provide multiple feedback sessions often to show that you're involved, engaged, and invested in your new team members' growth.

Team-oriented performance review templates

As a manager, you have a unique understanding of how your team member is performing in their role. But you can’t always see everything they’re doing. Employee performance review templates centered around team goals are a great way to gather feedback from other members of the team. Use these in combination with more traditional manager feedback to get a holistic review of an employee’s performance. 

6. Self evaluation review

Review frequency : Annually, bi-annually, or quarterly. 

A self-evaluation is where a team member evaluates their own performance. This gives you a better understanding of how each team member views their skills. It’s important to know that a self evaluation isn’t used to take work off your plate. Instead, it has its own benefits such as giving the team member a chance to communicate their viewpoint. 

Oftentimes you will then provide your employee feedback on the self-evaluation, using a physical or digital form. This creates balance between manager vs. employee viewpoints to ensure both are aligned. This is done during a one-on-one meeting where you’ll both chat about your feedback to perform a holistic performance review. 

7. Peer review

Review frequency : Annually or bi-annually.

Oftentimes, annual or biannual reviews will also have a peer review component. This gives peers an opportunity to answer questions and evaluate their coworkers—most commonly in written form. To use this feedback, collect the peer feedback, your feedback, and any self-review feedback during an annual or biannual review period. 

The main value of a peer review is giving team members an opportunity to see their value and areas of opportunity from other perspectives. Depending on the size of your team and your relationship with the team members, you may not have insight into everything each team member does. Peer reviews are an opportunity for team members to share that perspective with you, so you have a more holistic picture of the employee's performance.

8. Team performance review

A team performance review is where a group of individuals rate the performance of the team as a whole. Hearing multiple opinions from different individuals can help you understand the group’s needs, as well as identify where growth opportunities lie. This type of review is most valuable for managers. 

You can do this by asking each team member to fill out a self-assessment and answer questions about the team and the team’s goals. For example, you might ask:

How well did the team work together as a group?

Name one example of good team collaboration in the last period. 

Name one example where team collaboration was less effective in the last period.

How comfortable are you communicating feedback to your peers? What about your manager? 

What improvements could be made to enable better team collaboration?

Performance review templates

If none of the above performance review templates felt quite right, take a look at general employee performance review templates that work for most situations and teams. 

9. Simple performance review

A simple performance review focuses on performance phrases rather than numbers. This is because it’s crucial to give team members context about how they’re doing. Providing a rating without context can be confusing to team members and hinder their growth. 

A simple performance review helps keep expectations as clear as possible, without confusing the employee. Overall, it’s the best style when looking for a basic yet effective way to communicate performance.  

Center a performance review around goals and use examples to back up data. Without that, it can be challenging for team members to understand exactly how they can improve and meet expectations.

Simple performance review

10. Goal setting review

Review frequency : Annually or bi-annually. 

Goals setting reviews focus on a team member's expected objectives. These goals can focus on an employee's professional objectives and how they align with the company's long-term strategy. For example, as a team lead , your goal over the next quarter might be to streamline cross-functional communication. This aligns with the company’s goal to create greater transparency across all departments.

Goal setting reviews should follow the SMART goal acronym to ensure they are specific and measurable enough to evaluate. SMART stands for s pecific, m easurable, a chievable, r ealistic, and t ime-bound. 

11. 360 performance review

A 360 performance review measures an employee’s performance from the perspective of all relevant team members. This includes self-feedback, peer feedback, manager feedback, and employee feedback about the manager if applicable. 

This type of review is particularly useful for managers who want feedback from their direct reports. Use this review template if you want insight from the people you work closely with, regardless of how their role relates to yours.

12. Professional development review

A professional development review measures a team member’s personal goals. This is important when you’re looking to evaluate a team member’s career trajectory. It ensures they’re meeting their role’s needs and developing personal objectives such as growing their leadership skills. 

By connecting job and personal goals, the employee can better understand how their role is supporting their career development. For example, imagine your employee shared that they eventually want to grow in a leadership position. Part of their professional development plan is to identify areas where they can get involved in a more strategic role. During your professional development feedback session, you can review the concrete steps they took towards that goal and outline additional next steps they can work towards.

13. Performance improvement review

Review frequency : Only when an employee is underperforming.  

Before using a performance improvement review, make sure you have an improvement plan in place. It’s important to communicate the expected performance goals ahead of time so the individual has a chance to meet their expectations. Once objectives are clear, you can use a performance improvement review to measure the team member’s success against previously defined expectations.

An improvement review measures your team member’s success based on a previously established performance plan. Use an improvement plan to clearly define expectations on how an employee can work to meet those objectives. Put a performance plan into place when an individual is underperforming based on their job description. 

14. Compensation check-in

A compensation check-in is a review of a team member’s performance to evaluate the merit of a raise. This type of review doesn’t guarantee a promotion, but it can  help create transparency around the expectations associated with an annual raise.

To do this effectively, be sure to provide examples of work where the employee went above and beyond their job description. This will create transparency around performance and promotion trajectory. 

15. Excelling feedback review

Review frequency : Only when an employee is excelling in their role.  

On the opposite end of the spectrum, use an excelling feedback review to measure and detail an individual’s successes. This review template gives the employee additional context about how their excellent work has positively impacted the team or company. This is why it’s commonly used in unison with a compensation check-in.

Taking a moment to acknowledge this performance can help boost employee morale , giving you both a moment to reflect on what went well. 

Sample performance review example

Now that you understand the 15 most popular employee review templates, it’s time to craft one of your own. We created a sample performance review to give you an idea of what a general review template might look like. 

Employee name: Daniela Vargas

Review period: Q4

Date of review: January 1

Employee rating: Often exceeds expectations

Strengths: Daniela had an excellent quarter. She excelled in team collaboration by stepping up to help team members brainstorm solutions in order to meet deadlines. It’s clear that Daniela really cares about her work and her teammates and embodies Apollo Enterprises’ core values. 

Opportunity: While Daniela excelled in collaboration, I believe she could improve her thought leadership. There are opportunities for Daniela to learn new skills by attending workshops and keeping up with industry news which she can then bring back to the team. 

Learn one new industry skill a month in Q1. 

Lead two team meetings to share thought leadership by the end of Q2. 

Employee performance review example

While you can use this sample as a starting point for your own effective performance review process, remember to put your own team flare into it. 

Boost collaboration with performance review templates

A performance review is an excellent way to measure a team member’s performance. It offers transparency around expectations and serves as an opportunity to communicate honestly with your team. 

Making the process as transparent as possible is the best way to foster honest feedback and the desire to improve performance. Communication is at the center of an effective review process. 

From giving feedback with context to streamlining collaboration, Asana can help. Improve your communication not only during a performance review but every day with Asana’s team communication software. 

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  •  Guest Posts

150 Performance Review Examples and Phrases for Giving Effective Feedback

A performance review is an opportunity for your employees to grow. Discover 150 employee performance review examples to help you give constructive feedback.

examples for performance review phrases

Table of Contents

Employee performance reviews are crucial for all businesses. They let managers or supervisors assess their staff members' work and offer them insightful, constructive, and honest employee feedback on their:

  • Areas of improvement

Employee engagement is also largely dependent on performance reviews. Therefore, you should know the appropriate words or phrases or employee performance review examples to use during a performance evaluation.

Complicated and wordy messages can confuse both the reviewer and the reviewee and, thus, detract from clarity.

However, if you go about it appropriately, performance reviews can promote your employees' professional growth by reinforcing good habits, rectifying undesirable behaviors, and inspiring them to perform better.

Therefore, to help you comprehend better, we’ve curated a list of 150 performance review phrases. But before we go through the list, let's understand what a performance review is in brief.

What is a performance review?

Reviewing the performance of employees is a critical aspect of running a business. It helps to improve the efficiency and productivity of your employees. Effective performance reviews can also help employers accomplish the following:

  • Adequately distribute raises or pay increases
  • Assist team members in acquiring new skills
  • Outline the goals and expectations of the company

Based on the business capacity and size and the goals of the assessments, each company's review procedure may vary in frequency and complexity. The performance review assessments can be carried out either yearly or quarterly.

150 Useful performance review phrases

Below is a list of 150 performance review phrases and examples that you can use based on the position, function, or personality of the employee in question:

1. Teamwork

Here are 9 positive examples of performance review phrases for teamwork:

  • Willing to be counted on by their teammates and expect the same in return
  • Develops strong relationships in a professional setting with coworkers, superiors, and other staff members
  • Provides support to teammates on their tasks, even though they are not directly responsible for them or obliged to help
  • Exemplifies a culture of collaboration on a daily basis
  • Readily collaborates with their coworkers to accomplish the goal
  • Exceptionally adept at motivating team members to bring out their best effort.
  • Oversees the team's operations and delegates tasks to team members appropriately.
  • Built a highly motivated team that collaborates to commence and finish the task on or before the deadline
  • Always willing to assist teammates who are going through a tough time with their responsibilities

Here are 9 negative examples of performance review phrases for teamwork:

  • Seems more concerned about achieving their targets than helping anyone who might require some assistance
  • Struggles to acclimatize after transferring from a sector that is very autonomous to one that is team oriented
  • Although an expert, they tend not to provide professional guidance or assistance to those who may need
  • Struggles with completing assignments while collaborating with others
  • Doesn't care enough to inspire team members to perform at their highest level while working

2. Attendance

Here are 7 positive examples of performance review phrases for being attentive :

  • Replies to emails and attends calls of stakeholders on time
  • Attend conferences, workshops, and seminars on time at all times
  • Always arrive on time for work each day
  • Completed X years of flawless attendance
  • Consistently available even when their division's work schedule is unrelated to it
  • Follows the schedule and plan as accurately as attainable
  • Always shows up on time, sticks to the schedule, and takes lunch breaks as scheduled

Here are 6 negative examples of performance review phrases for being attentive:

  • Attends far too many personal phone calls on a daily basis
  • Routinely goes past their allotted lunch break, affecting their productivity
  • Does not adhere to the attendance requirements set forth by the organization
  • Shows up at work late on a regular basis
  • Consistently exceeds the allotted number of leaves
  • Must learn to arrive timely after scheduled leaves

3. Interpersonal skills

Here are 8 positive examples of performance review phrases for good interpersonal skills:

  • Has strong interpersonal skills and needs little to no instruction in communicating well with others
  • Possesses the ability to deal with sensitive circumstances promptly and efficiently
  • Can hear and effectively comprehend verbal and nonverbal indications from coworkers
  • Ensures that their teammates are comfortable with a decision made by a higher authority
  • Is an excellent team player who enjoys working with others
  • Possesses the ability to resolve team conflicts
  • Has the capability to collaborate with colleagues to resolve conflict in a respectful manner
  • Possesses the ability to communicate clearly with people from different cultures, places, etc.

Here are 5 negative examples of performance review phrases for good interpersonal skills:

  • Refuses to take constructive criticism from coworkers that can help them grow in the corporate world
  • Interacts with coworkers in an abrasive and unprofessional manner
  • Refuses to take any  initiative or incorporate constructive suggestions made by coworkers
  • Reacts defensively to constructive criticism
  • Appears uneasy when questioned during team meetings

4. Communication skills

Here are 7 positive examples of performance review phrases for good communication skills:

  • Adept at efficiently conveying complex messages and decisions
  • Routinely offers constructive criticism
  • Communicates complex subjects to the rest of the team in a transparent and understandable manner
  • Asks interesting and meaningful questions
  • Not afraid to answer when confronted with a difficult question
  • Is skilled at summarizing and conveying critical business decisions
  • Is open to hearing other people's opinions

Here are 7 negative examples of performance review phrases for  communication skills:

  • Stands out from their colleagues for having excellent employee communication skills
  • Repeatedly berates staff members
  • Has difficulty interacting effectively in teams
  • Instead of doing it themselves, ask other coworkers to convey bad news
  • Does not adequately notify supervisors of progress updates
  • Does not provide constructive feedback on new initiatives
  • Regularly engages in awkward conversations and occasionally becomes territorial

5. Achievement

Here are 8 positive examples of performance review phrases for achievement:

  • Sets realistic goals and actively works to meet them
  • Surpassed the benchmark by X%, outperforming other team members
  • Reduced the time it took to resolve complaints to 24 hours, which boosted customer retention by X%
  • Employed effective SEO strategies and increased the site's organic traffic by X%
  • Implemented a strategy that works well to optimize work processes
  • Working cooperatively with a team was improved by X%
  • Generated X% more revenues at the end of the last quarter compared to the previous one
  • Used automation tools to save the organization $1 million

Here are 6 negative examples of performance review phrases for achievement:

  • Last month's goal was missed by X%
  • Would benefit from reviewing their own failures and successes each quarter
  • Failure to meet commitments due to a lack of coordination
  • Would prosper from defining career goals
  • Finds it challenging to provide error-free work consistently
  • Improved social media interaction is essential to boost organic traffic

6. Innovation and creativity

Here are 7 positive examples of performance review phrases for innovation and creativity:

  • Frequently comes up with fresh, creative answers to handle difficult situations
  • Thinks creatively and unconventionally
  • Always encourage or assist teammates in coming up with innovative ideas
  • Their creative capabilities are a valuable contribution to the company
  • Has a strong imagination and routinely offers some of the most original ideas
  • Uses creative thinking to carry out a vision for the business
  • Consistently offers fresh ideas during meetings and when working on projects

Here are 7 negative examples of performance review phrases for innovation and creativity:

  • Could provide alternative strategies for resolving problems
  • Could take the initiative to work on new projects
  • Their problem-solving methods are typically inflexible and conventional
  • Prefers a traditional, cautious approach to problems rather than a creative one
  • Could perform better in places that require innovative solutions
  • Might use some creative thought
  • Too reluctant to take chances on coming up with creative solutions
  • Has a habit of rejecting projects that require creative thinking

7. Leadership

Here are 9 positive examples of performance review phrases for leadership:

  • Encourages team members to put in a good effort
  • Establishes a safe environment for team members to express their thoughts and perspectives
  • Recognizes the capabilities of teammates and effectively assigns work
  • Keeps team focused and engaged in work
  • Expresses sincere appreciation for a job well carried out
  • Actively hear what their coworkers are suggesting and respond appropriately to it
  • Is an excellent role model for others to emulate
  • Encourages the development of an understanding- and learning-centered corporate culture
  • Always ready to lend a hand to a teammate

Here are 7 negative examples of performance review phrases for leadership:

  • Ambiguous while deciding which objectives and tasks to accomplish
  • Seldom acknowledges a successfully completed task with praise or positive feedback
  • Regularly causes the team to fall behind with superfluous activities
  • Rejects team members' opinions or suggestions
  • Does not treat other staff members equally with respect
  • Always overanalyzes situations when a speedy resolution is demanded

8. Attitude

Here are 7 positive examples of performance review phrases for attitude:

  • Has a positive outlook that encourages their teammates to do better
  • Always optimistic in every situation
  • Quickly smiles and boosts morale in tense situations
  • Always cheer up coworkers
  • Does not allow difficult situations to dampen their spirit
  • Always comes to work with a cheerful demeanor
  • Keeps a persistent, optimistic attitude that motivates others
  • Helps others have a positive attitude toward challenges by sharing ideas and thoughts that are constructive
  • The way they behave shows how much they like their work
  • Fosters a culture of trust among staff members

Here are 7 negative examples of performance review phrases for attitude:

  • Has an attitude toward causing problems
  • Gets upset easily and shows a pessimistic attitude
  • Must learn to accept constructive feedback
  • Gets easily distracted or provoked by non-work topics
  • Behavior at work exhibits bipolar tendencies

9. Time management

Here are 9 positive examples of performance review phrases for time management:

  • Has the capacity to finish tasks, particularly those with tight deadlines
  • Shows an excellent capacity for coordinating several tasks and projects simultaneously
  • Efficiently utilizes free time
  • Effectively manages a variety of tasks and projects without requiring heavy supervision
  • Is adept at handling multiple tasks quickly and with precision
  • Manage their time quite well
  • Consistently fulfills all goals on time
  • Creates brief and time-saving presentations
  • Schedules meetings on time

Here are 5 negative examples of performance review phrases for time management:

  • Fails to meet deadlines despite being granted plenty of time to finish all assigned tasks
  • Has trouble coordinating multiple tasks and initiatives
  • Does not efficiently manage their work schedule time
  • Lacks the ability to efficiently prioritize tasks
  • Shows a tendency to let personal matters influence how well they function at work

10. Productivity

Here are 10 positive examples of performance review phrases for productivity:

  • Consistently surpasses performance benchmarks
  • Has incredibly high standards for productivity
  • Have a track record of delivering work at a high caliber
  • Constantly looking for ways to be more effective
  • Encourages people to perform efficiently at work by maintaining a positive attitude
  • Consistently goes above and beyond expectations and delivers the best result
  • Significantly contributes to the business's ongoing expansion
  • Places a high value on details, which is evident in their work
  • Shares their understanding of market trends and best practices with the team to assist them in achieving better results
  • Is a key contributor to the organization's success

Here are 5 negative examples of performance review phrases for productivity:

  • Requires to pay greater attention to the intricacies before turning in a project
  • Finishes the easier tasks first instead of prioritizing the urgent ones
  • Doesn't accomplish their work in accordance with the required productivity standards
  • Should engage in more training and development activities to advance their knowledge and abilities
  • Work performance and productivity have been below par lately

11. Accountability

Here are 5 positive examples of performance review phrases for accountability:

  • Accepts accountability for one's actions and contributions as a team member, as well as involvement in the organization's growth
  • Respects deadlines and takes responsibility for them
  • Acknowledges shortcomings and notifies colleagues when unable to uphold a commitment
  • Takes accountability for the part they play in project management
  • Unwilling to be complacent with errors and finds resolutions for them

Here are 3 negative examples of performance review phrases for accountability:

  • Must accept responsibility for meeting deadlines
  • Rejects responsibilities for fixing errors
  • Fails to communicate effectively regarding delayed deliverables

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions about employee performance review:

1. What is an employee performance review?

A thorough evaluation of an employee's performance over a specific period is known as an employee performance review. Managers examine an employee's overall performance, point out their merits and shortcomings, provide feedback, and assist them in setting goals during a performance review.

2. What should a performance evaluation of an employee contain?

In the majority of employee assessments, regardless of industry, these capabilities are evaluated:

  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Productivity

3 . What are some examples of good performance reviews for employees?

Examples of good performance reviews for employees are:

4. What are some of the areas of improvement for employees?

Some of the areas of improvement for employees are:

5. What are some examples of performance reviews concerning leadership?

Examples of performance reviews concerning leadership are:

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PEOPLE OPS PLAYBOOK

How to write a performance review.

how to make a performance review

The latest HR research shows that forward-thinking companies are moving away from top-down, annual performance reviews.

An annual job review just isn’t enough to give employees meaningful feedback. Moreover, organizations like Microsoft, Adobe, and Deloitte found that traditional performance ranking processes often led to bias — and that tying raises and dismissals to performance conversations shifted the focus away from development. (1)

This thinking is echoed by teams. According to a recent Leapsome study, a full one-third of employees are not satisfied with their company’s review process, especially if they only get an annual job review. Team members are asking for more regular, more effective ways of reviewing performance — and modern, people-first organizations need to listen. (2)

So how can we enable our leaders to run more flexible, frequent evaluation processes — and write performance reviews for employees based on their individual strengths, goals, and needs?

This guide will cover exactly what a great evaluation looks like — and give you clear steps on how to build a performance review process that gives teams the feedback they need to thrive. You can use it as a primer for your own review processes, or share it with managers and teams who need guidance and structure to write performance appraisals. 

1. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management , 2023

2. Leapsome Workforce Trends Report , 2023 ‍

💪 Performance reviews can be rewarding when done right Leapsome empowers you to deliver meaningful, effective reviews that develop your talent and boost feelings of belonging. 👉 Learn more

What is a performance review?

An employee performance review — also known as a performance evaluation or appraisal — is a structured assessment, in which managers provide feedback to individual employees on their work and contributions over a certain time period. 

During performance reviews, managers generally: 

  • Evaluate employee strengths and areas of growth, often tied to a competency framework
  • Share actionable steps for improvement
  • Ensure alignment with company goals
  • Communicate role, project, and team expectations
  • Celebrate efforts and achievements 

It’s important to understand the range of evaluation types — annual vs quarterly performance reviews will cover different things, and formal assessments take a very different approach to informal feedback. 

Here are the main differences. ‍

What is an annual review?

These are your traditional, formal yearly reviews at work. They assess employee performance over the full year and often determine promotions, compensation changes, and development plans. ‍

What is a quarterly performance review?

‍ These let managers give more timely input on performance at the end of each three-month period. They’re opportunities to recognize hard work, improvements, and development over the quarter, and a chance for early course-correcting if employees are off track. ‍

What is an informal performance review vs a formal performance review? ‍

An informal performance review is a discussion between an employee and their manager that doesn’t follow a strict performance review structure. In an informal review, the manager will discuss with the employee how they are doing in their role, provide general feedback, and maybe even set goals — but it is not a comprehensive evaluation of performance over a set period.

In contrast, a formal review is a structured, pre-scheduled meeting where the manager documents and evaluates the employee’s performance over a set period, often using pre-set criteria and key performance indicators (KPIs).

However, the difference between formal and informal reviews isn’t always clear cut. More and more companies are looking to make even structured review processes more flexible, informal, and continuous. Recent research on performance management trends shows that IBM now runs simpler, more frequent reviews, while Netflix eliminated bureaucratic, paperwork-led performance evaluations and introduced people-centered appraisals.

Regular performance check-ins can make development and improvement conversations flow naturally, all year round. ‍

Why performance feedback is important 

When run effectively, modern performance reviews :

  • Help employees reach their potential through learning and development
  • Improve employee engagement
  • Promote company culture
  • Identify and resolve issues early on
  • Set clear, achievable goals employees can get excited about
  • Show employees that managers are invested in their development
  • Encourage open, honest communication between managers and direct reports

The purpose of performance reviews is shifting away from a focus on pre-defined rankings and compensation decisions. Now, the overarching goal is to open up dialogues that center on understanding employee experiences to support growth and development. That’s why it’s important for managers to provide well-rounded feedback on performance, including reinforcing as well as constructive comments. 

Companies need to see reviews as a key part of their overarching employee engagement model that contributes to employee satisfaction and well-being. 

Here’s how Claude Silver , leading Chief People Officer/Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia, sees it:  

“We are in the middle of a revolution where we talk about such things as top-line growth, KPIs, and performance reviews in the same breath as psychological safety, mental/emotional health, wellness programs and so much more.

Let’s remember we are all motivated by similar things — growth, time, feeling safe, money, autonomy, achievement…” ‍

What does an effective performance review look like?

The revolution can’t come soon enough. Performance reviews still have a poor reputation among managers, employees, and people ops leaders. According to Gallup, only 14% of employees strongly agree that their appraisals motivate them to improve. Most complaints boil down to managers writing reviews without empathy or consideration for their report’s job description. In fact, only about 29% of employees feel the feedback they receive in reviews is accurate and fair. 

Textio language research found that women and BIPOC individuals are even more likely to receive low-quality and unactionable feedback than their white male counterparts. 

Best practice employee reviews require empathy as well as a genuine desire to help employees grow and develop in their careers. Reviews shouldn’t focus on punishing lower-performing employees and rewarding high-achievers. The best performance review process is one that meets every team member where they’re at and provides growth-centered individual goals and feedback.

A well-designed performance appraisal form helps with employee retention, motivation, and morale. 

Good reviews:

  • Use clear, concise, and empathetic language
  • Take the employee’s feelings and personality into consideration  
  • Focus on past and future performance
  • Include feedback opportunities for both the manager and the employee
  • Invite peers and other managers to take part in the process for well-rounded perspectives
  • Align with overall company values ‍
🚀 Deliver performance reviews that support employee engagement  Leapsome’s review tools let you celebrate your people and invest in their development. 👉 Learn more

Wann Sie dieses Playbook verwenden sollten

When to use this playbook.

This playbook aims to help managers write productive employee reviews that are transparent, fair, and growth-focused. People ops/HR professionals can also use this playbook to guide their people (especially first-time managers) on delivering great feedback via performance reviews.

Was Sie für dieses Playbook benötigen

What you’ll need for this playbook, a system of mutual growth and development.

A culture that supports growth and development shows employees how feedback can help them improve. Companies that support employee growth will take time to understand their people’s career goals and provide development and training resources to help them achieve those goals.

A transparent and fair environment 

A transparent environment helps employees trust that performance reviews will be used for their development, and not for punishment. It encourages reports to engage in the review process.

  • Consider implementing the practice of radical candor within your organization. This approach empowers employees and managers alike by encouraging them to balance empathy and clarity when giving constructive feedback in the workplace.

How to run this People Ops Playbook:

Wie sie dieses people ops playbook durchführen:.

Writing a performance review that’s transparent, fair, and growth-focused is a challenge — but it’s hugely important for employee morale, motivation, and engagement. Our playbook provides a framework that will help any leader rise to that challenge by making reviews meaningful. 

Use these six key steps and learn how to write a performance review based on performance insights and employee-centered feedback. ‍

🌟 Looking for best-practice performance review questions?  Drive meaningful conversations and growth with Leapsome’s free employee review question template.  👉 Download now

1. Review your report’s current job description

Start by integrating your employee’s job description into the performance review framework, to make sure you’re working from an accurate picture of their intended responsibilities. This helps to avoid incorrect or unfair assessments.

‍ It also gets everyone on the same page, drives transparency, reduces employee stress, and increases morale. ‍

2. Review past performance review data

Check past data like previous feedback and notes from 1:1 meetings to highlight where your report has improved, where they still need help, and where their performance is declining. This is not to punish them, but to follow their progress and provide support.

If this isn’t an employee’s first performance appraisal at your company, look at past reviews to gauge their overall performance, growth, and areas for improvement. Using a people management tool like Leapsome makes this step much easier. Also, documenting feedback is a great way to measure employee growth and performance for future reviews. Using a people enablement tool like Leapsome makes this step much easier, as you’ll have previous review reports, performance analytics, cross-team competency frameworks, and timelines at your fingertips. ‍

3. Reflect on the aim of employee reviews

Reflect on your reason for writing performance appraisals in the first place. Are you writing a performance review specifically to decide who to reward or promote — or to understand your employees’ holistic development and growth? Or is your goal to understand how each staff member contributes to your overall company objectives?

‍ Understanding the aim of evaluations will help you stay focused on providing a valuable experience to your employees while uncovering the best ways to improve the company . ‍

4. Discuss your aim with your report

Once you’re clear on your motivations, help your employees understand the why behind their appraisal. Be clear that a key focus here is their development.

Development-centric reviews encourage a growth mindset and enable your people to take ownership of their careers . Instead of having staff members become frustrated with not meeting certain standards, motivate them by:

  • Asking them how they want to grow and what they think they need to do to get there
  • Encouraging them to share their future goals
  • Investing in personalized learning paths ‍
  • Discussing and tracking their OKRs to support their ongoing development

And before you start your performance review, you may also want to clarify the following with your employees for full transparency: 

  • Who writes the reviews
  • Which areas they’ll be evaluated in
  • How they’ll be evaluated
  • What type of questions will be asked ‍

5. Write objectively

How can you phrase your performance reviews to convey feedback clearly and accurately?

  • Consider gathering feedback from the report’s peers and indirect manager to complement your own. This way, you avoid being their sole evaluator and have the chance to consider issues from various perspectives.
  • Rely on your observations and gather examples and tangible evidence.
  • Use performance checklists whenever possible. Using a list can help you evaluate the employee on a skill-by-skill basis and think critically about areas of improvement.  ‍
  • Get inspired with expert-backed performance review phrases that will help you decide what to write in performance evaluation processes. Learning from performance review best practices is a great way to take stock of your own approach and make sure you’re giving truly helpful feedback. ‍ ‍
💡 Read our playbook on how to give constructive feedback to learn more.

6. Send out & discuss the reviews

You can hand out documents or printed versions of performance reviews, but the most effective and time-saving method (which will also help you analyze results) is to use a performance management tool like Leapsome.

And if you’re carrying out your employee appraisal in person or via video conference, use your performance review document to guide your conversation. You can even send it out to your report in advance so they can take a closer look at their strengths and areas for improvement and prepare any relevant questions.

Screenshot of Leapsome's Performance Reviews dashboard showing analytics on key competencies for different team members‍

Why performance feedback is important: what a great performance review can achieve

A development-focused appraisal can guide your people in the right direction and show your commitment to their development. Some other benefits of an effective performance review include: 

  • Guiding employees as they grow and develop their skills . This helps improve their work performance, benefiting their career growth and the company’s overall success.
  • Encouraging managers to get to know their reports better . Understanding people’s strengths and areas for development helps guide managers on the tasks they assign to their team members and why. ‍
  • Helping employees understand organizational expectations and standards. Giving feedback on performance drives alignment and ensures employees and leaders are on the same page about individual objectives as well as company goals. ‍ ‍
  • Improving the working relationship and encouraging honest and transparent communication between employees discourages unhealthy competition. ‍ ‍
  • Making it easier for employees to ask for help , voice their opinions, and be confident about the value they bring to the company. ‍

You should not use employee reviews to…

  • Punish employees for poor performance . Identifying improvement potential doesn’t equal failure and it’s much better to use reviews for development, not judgment .
  • Only examine an employee’s most recent performance . Instead, focus your reviews for employees on their actions during the entire review period and identify trends between previous cycles to get a better picture of their development.
  • Offer one-off feedback. Alternatively, follow up on each job performance evaluation to keep the momentum going, offer next steps, and ensure the objectives you discussed aren’t forgotten. ‍ ‍
  • Rank employees against each other , which creates unhealthy competition and resentment between teammates. ‍
✨ Need more performance review help?  Our performance review cheat sheet will level up your process in just 2 minutes.

Skills to assess during a performance review

Skills and qualities you should pay attention to during employee reviews include:

  • Communication 
  • Ingenuity and creativity 
  • Self-confidence 
  • Kindness and respectfulness 
  • Adaptability
  • Eye for detail 
  • Responsibility 
  • Being process-driven
  • Time management
  • Productivity and quality of work
  • Attendance and engagement 
  • Punctuality 
  • Problem-solving
  • Leadership skills ‍

How to give a performance review: 9 key tips 

Giving a performance review that’s well-thought-out and actionable strengthens your team. Thoughtful, detailed feedback on employee performance provides a valuable opportunity not only to evaluate the past but to support each team member’s long-term potential.

Here are our top nine tips on how to give an employee review that builds trust, sparks development, and keeps your talent energized and engaged. ‍

1. Turn the review process into an open conversation

Performance reviews should be a dialogue as opposed to a lecture. That way, you can continuously clarify your understanding of issues, discuss improvement opportunities, and showcase your commitment to your report’s professional development . This creates a culture of transparency and trust and turns an otherwise intimidating process into a collaborative one. 

Some questions that invite discussion include:

  • Have I understood this situation correctly? 
  • What do you think about what I’ve just shared?
  • Do you think my assessment of this situation is fair?
  • Could you help me understand this issue more clearly?
  • This is how I view the current circumstances. What are your thoughts?
  • What do you think about that?
  • What do you think you can do to improve in this area?
  • How can we best support you?

And remember: be empathetic when writing reviews. We’re all human and make mistakes. ‍

2. Ask employees to write self-assessments

A photograph of a person sitting behind a desk, working on their laptop.

Completing self-assessments ensures your reviews are collaborative rather than top-down. They can give you a better understanding of your reports’ perspective and help you empathize with them. Finally, they make your people feel more engaged, confident, and empowered within their roles. 

Here are a few other ways to make sure employees are actively involved in their performance reviews:

  • Encourage them to include specific examples of their strengths and areas for improvement. ‍
  • Offer them a chance to reflect on past performance and proud moments. ‍
  • Ask them to share future development goals. ‍
  • Consider running a 360° review and asking employees to recommend coworkers who can give different perspectives on their work ‍
🚀 Need help with performance reviews that involve multiple stakeholders?  Check out our playbook on how to run a 360° review that makes an impact. 😉

3. Disclose if reviews affect salary raises & layoffs

Good performance reviews help your people feel both supported and challenged. But in many organizations, evaluations are part of the criteria for salary and promotion assessments, which gives them an almost reproachful nature.  

And since decoupling employee evaluation and compensation isn’t always realistic, it’s important to communicate their link and its effect on your people. This fosters transparency and psychological safety.  

In your review, use your compensation plan as a guide to talk about any relevant salary raises, salary increments , professional growth opportunities, or layoffs. ‍

4. Run performance reviews frequently

Holding performance review meetings only once or twice a year creates unnecessary stress for your employees and blocks them from making continuous improvements . 

We recommend conducting monthly or quarterly evaluations to build a dynamic feedback culture and mitigate issues before they become tricky to resolve. This way, you can better understand your people, boost engagement, and clarify individual and company goals. ‍

5. Start with areas for improvement

Don’t save constructive feedback for the end of your appraisals. Talking about areas of growth right after highlighting strengths distracts employees from their wins . Instead, begin performance reviews by describing the issues that need to be addressed. Detail the situation and its impact, and present your perspective while listening to your team member’s side of the story.

Remember, for many people, constructive feedback still carries a negative — or even accusatory — connotation, instead of encouraging growth. So, if possible, get it out of the way first.

And always conclude your reviews on a positive note by showing your report you recognize and appreciate their contributions to the team and wider organization. ‍

6. Give specific examples

Feedback is only meaningful and actionable when followed by examples that outline the “what,” “when,” and “where” of the situation . Vague feedback is not only ineffective, but can also be perceived as judgmental and biased. As such, it’s more likely to make the recipient feel defensive instead of helping them improve. 

So, mention examples of when the team member did something well and when they didn’t — and don’t forget to provide context. Saying, “I feel sometimes you invest too much time scheduling meetings on less important topics,” isn’t precise enough. Specify instances where this happened to make it clear that your feedback isn’t a personal attack. ‍

⭐ Interested in reading more feedback and performance review examples? Our guide to 27 employee feedback examples & the right way to use them has got you covered.

7. Keep your biases in check

Be aware that by conducting a review, you’re effectively judging someone. And judgments are vulnerable to biases because humans are innately biased . A biased review is an incorrect assessment of someone’s performance and helps no one .

To help reduce your bias, do a bias reduction exercise before writing a review to prime your cognitive system and stay alert. ‍

💡 Check out our step-by-step playbook on how to avoid bias in performance reviews to learn more.

8. Choose your words with care

Avoid accusatory language, generalizations, and “you” statements when reflecting on your report’s assessment period. Instead, give specific examples of what did or didn’t go well.

And be mindful that no matter how accurate your comments are and how much context you provide, your assessment of another person’s work still reflects your opinion . So be honest about that fact and use sentences like “I feel that…” and “I think that…” to show empathy and open up a conversation. ‍

9. Tie feedback to actionable tips

Sharing areas for improvement without providing next steps and key takeaways will leave employees feeling lost and unmotivated. So, when sharing constructive feedback, always make actionable recommendations.

Constructive feedback is a way to foster trust, ownership, and collaboration between employees. 

  • Destructive feedback looks like this: “You should fix your data analysis.” ‍
  • ‍ Constructive feedback looks like this: “Have you tried to visualize the data to see if there are gaps in your analysis? You can use Google Charts for that. And a pie chart may be better to visualize than a line chart.” ‍
🤝 Need support?  Leapsome’s AI-powered review tools seamlessly transform manager feedback into constructive comments and a clear action plan. 👉 Explore more

Screenshot of Leapsome's AI-powered performance review sumamries and action plans

Follow-up: what to do after writing reviews for employees

After writing a review for an employee, you’ll need to schedule a meeting to ensure your feedback is received as it was intended and to create a joint action plan. ‍

Have a development talk with your report

Schedule a time to go through the review. Communicate clearly, be empathetic, and let your report know you’re available to answer questions — during and after the development talk. If you feel it’s needed, remind them their work is not a reflection of their worth and can be improved.

You should also use this time to create a development plan for and with your employee to guide their growth. It’s a good idea to prepare for this talk by researching courses and other learning resources to recommend to your report. You can also use a tool like Leapsome to set up individualized learning paths — and take advantage of our learning marketplace with gold-standard employee development and legal compliance courses by Ethena and lawpilots . ‍

Document employee reviews 

Document reviews in a centralized place (like a people management tool). This way, writing future reviews, tracking progress, and creating a learning plan for your report will be much easier. ‍

Share regular feedback

Don’t only share feedback during reviews. Continuous feedback makes you more than a manager, turning you into a coach for your reports. Also, when you give feedback on an ongoing basis, your constructive comments won’t catch employees by surprise. ‍

💡“People want to know on an ongoing basis, ‘Am I doing right? Am I moving in the right direction? Do you think I am progressing?’ Nobody’s going to wait for an annual cycle to get that feedback.” Pierre Nanterme, former CEO of Accenture

Deliver impactful, growth-oriented performance reviews with Leapsome

Screenshot of Leapsome's integrated employee enablement tools including reviews, surveys, goals, learning and compensation modules

Leapsome’s review tools let organizations empower their managers to deliver meaningful employee evaluations that inspire their people. Automated feedback cycle reminders support your leaders in giving regular reviews. They’ll be able to easily access crucial context for each performance assessment, with integrated feedback records, role-based competency frameworks , past evaluations, meetings , goals , and learning tools.

Managers can then use expert-backed templates and AI-powered features to turn rough thoughts into nuanced, actionable review comments — and watch their employees thrive. 

Take a look at the video below to see how you can empower managers to run great performance reviews.

🤝 Make your review process as unique as your people  With Leapsome, it only takes a few clicks to create customized reviews tailored to specific role and competency frameworks, performance insights, past feedback, and development goals.  👉 Book a demo ‍ ‍ ‍

Frequently Asked Questions

Are employee performance reviews confidential.

Employees should have a right to the confidentiality of their employee reviews. Results should be kept between the manager and the report; however, managers may want to discuss it with people ops/HR or their own manager if they have concerns. This may be necessary, but should be done respectfully.

What questions should I ask in an employee review?

Download our free template with best-practice questions for employee reviews .

What are the main mistakes with employee performance reviews?

  • Rating quantity over quality because quantity is easier to measure (this is called expediency bias );
  • Not having a firm objective in place before reviewing employees;
  • Not giving actionable feedback;
  • Focusing only on weaknesses;
  • Overwhelming the reviewee with too much information.

How often should employees get a performance review?

Besides running biannual 360° performance reviews for all employees, we recommend that you support new hires with structured feedback during their probation period (e.g., at 2 and 5 months for a 6-month probation period).

Should employee reviews be anonymous?

Performance appraisal feedback can be anonymous, but allowing for non-anonymous feedback gives people the chance to follow up.

Who should write an employee review?

Having only one respondent can lead to poor judgment. For a more accurate measure of employee performance, we recommend a holistic approach where peers, managers, and customers/partners review the same person. Some companies don’t include external contributors.

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Home Blog Business How to Write and Present a Performance Review

How to Write and Present a Performance Review

Performance Review Cover Slide PowerPoint Templates

The performance review, as a crucial part of performance management, is one of the dreaded exercises of both managers and team members. However, it doesn’t have to be an intimidating, negative situation. In fact, a manager performance review tip by Harvard Business Review is to pointedly keep the conversation positive. By focusing on successes and opportunities for growth, managers can turn the employee performance review into a constructive experience that benefits everyone in the end.

What is Performance Management

Before we approach performance review examples, it’s necessary to establish some definitions to make sure we’re on the same page.

According to UC Berkeley’s Guide to Managing Human Resources, “Performance management is an ongoing process of communication between a supervisor and an employee that occurs throughout the year, in support of accomplishing the strategic objectives of the organization.”

Notice that performance management is more than a performance annual review. The performance evaluation is one component found in many performance management frameworks. In fact, UC Berkeley goes on to specify that the process “includes clarifying expectations, setting objectives, identifying goals, providing feedback, and reviewing results.”

By the time managers sit down for the performance review process, they will ideally have already been participating in this ongoing communication method. It will lead to much more valuable results than only engaging in the feedback part of the process.

Performance Management Systems PowerPoint Templates

Types of Performance Management Frameworks

Following are three examples of common performance management frameworks.

The Arm­strong Per­for­mance Man­age­ment Cycle

Michael Armstrong , former Chief Examiner of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, established a performance management framework that many human resources professionals abide by. The Armstrong Performance Management Cycle is a continuous process of improving performance. This is achieved by establishing individual and team goals, working towards the goals, evaluating progress, and developing skills. As seen in the name of this management framework, this process repeats constantly throughout a team or individual’s career at the organization.

Armstrong Performance Management Cycle PowerPoint Diagram

Agile Con­tin­u­ous Per­for­mance Management

Another performance management framework example is the agile continuous performance management. What makes the agile performance management system valuable is it’s focus on being continual and holistic. Feedback, which is called “check-ins” under this framework, is given frequently, making it feel more natural for all involved. With ongoing, positive performance management, managers and employees can develop authentic workplace relationships based on the performance improvement and transparency.

Agile Continuous Performance Management Cycle PowerPoint Diagram

International Labor Organization’s Revised Performance Management Framework

The International Labor Organization’s system for managing performance aims to be a flexible process that can be applied to individuals or teams in many different fields and industries. It is also a continuous, comprehensive performance management framework. This cycle is divided into four parts, each focusing on dialogue and constructive feedback. One of the unique features of this management system is the inclusion of feedback from employee to leader.

ILO's Performance Management Framework PowerPoint Template

What is a Performance Review?

The component featured in essentially all performance management frameworks is the giving of feedback. This usually presents itself in the form of a performance review. Other names for the performance review are performance evaluation or performance assessment. As opposed to informal or casual feedback, the performance review is a formal appraisal of an employee and their work during an established time period.

While there are dozens of employee review templates out there, most evaluate overall performance, an employee’s strengths and weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. Many managers and HR professionals use this regularly scheduled evaluation to set goals, as well.

Performance review templates will vary based on who is assessing whom. Common types of performance reviews include the traditional assessment where a manager evaluates an employee’s performance, the self assessment, team assessment, and leader assessment. Different performance management frameworks will involve a combination of these four.

Types of Performance Reviews PowerPoint Diagram

Employee Assessment

This top-down performance review is usually performed by a direct manager or HR manager. This evaluation is useful for establishing the value of an employee with examples of their performance to back it up. Often the employee assessment is conducted together with a self assessment.

Self Assessment

The self assessment component of a performance review is a helpful opportunity for individuals to reflect upon themselves with regards to their strengths and weaknesses. In order to turn the self assessment into a productive introspection, employees should also consider what they think they can do to improve and grow.

When conducted alongside an employee assessment, answers can be compared to see if managers and employees are on the same page. Any discrepancies can be analyzed and addressed, in order to strengthen the working relationship and understanding of the situation.

Team Assessment

A team assessment differs from an individual employee assessment in that it’s an opportunity to make sure team members are aligned and working well together, as well as progressing towards the team goals.

Leader Assessment

As mentioned in the International Labor Organization’s performance management framework, leader assessments can provide valuable feedback as well. During this assessment team members and employees evaluate their own managers, as well as potentially their manager’s superiors. This is often conducted anonymously, to ensure employees can be honest with their feedback without fear of retaliation.

Key Elements of a Performance Review

Depending on the performance management framework, reviews will have different key elements, but there are elements that all methods share, according to Harvard Business Review and Hubspot .

  • Evaluate if job requirements are being met
  • Compare strengths and weaknesses
  • Highlight areas of improvement
  • Evaluate if previously defined goals were met
  • Recommend actionable goals
  • Welcome employee input

How to Write a Performance Review

We recommend managers use a performance review template to help guide them through each step. Evaluation templates help managers know what to say in a performance review. They provide structure to the review, which makes the process consistent. Employee performance templates also make the review process scalable throughout the team or organization.

Performance Review Writing Process PowerPoint Template

Prior to Writing the Performance Review

Harvard Business Review recommends reviewers set expectations early, prior to the official feedback. This involves informing the employee that they will be reviewing them soon, asking the employee for their self assessment, and evaluating employee career aspirations.

When Writing the Performance Review

When sitting down to write the performance review, managers should have supporting documentation to help them direct their evaluation. For example, comparing employee performance and characteristics to the organization’s specified values can help guide the evaluation. Additionally, managers can compare employee performance to the actual description of requirements for their role. This helps keep evaluations realistic and on-track. Finally, it’s a good idea to compare current performance to that of previous employee performance reviews. This gives the manager a bigger picture into employee growth, as well as what achievable goals are.

When writing a performance review, managers can also consult with others, including coworkers, other managers, and subordinates of the employee under review. This is called 360-degree feedback and can help give a manager ideas of what to write.

360 Degree Feedback PowerPoint Template

As far as the career aspirations we recommend requesting from the employee prior to the evaluation, this is useful for framing the review. Not every employee has very high aspirations. The evaluation should align both the organization’s expectations of the employee and their own aspirations.

Delivering the Performance Review

HBR also recommends presenting the performance review to the individual about an hour before their meeting to discuss it. This lets the employee move past any potential emotional responses and prepare rational responses. This will lead to a much more constructive discussion and allow for a more positive plan forward.

Whenever possible, hold the performance review presentation face-to-face to avoid misunderstandings. While a performance review PPT or pdf is beneficial for organizing and visualizing the evaluation, presenting them in person will lead to a richer discussion and more realistic action plans.

For high-performing employees, HR experts recommend focusing on the things they are doing well. After discussing examples of achievements and strengths, the manager can ask the employee their feelings about how things are going. This naturally leads into a conversation about opportunities for growth and improvement.

When delivering feedback to marginal employees, they shouldn’t sugar-coat criticisms or provide meaningless compliments. Instead, reviewers should be straightforward and clear with their message. Discuss what isn’t working, what is working, and what actions need to be adopted to improve. When giving advice for improving, managers should be as specific as possible and provide examples.

How to Present a Performance Review

Here are the most important slides to include in a performance review presentation. Following this performance review example structure will help managers lessen the discomfort of presenting a performance review, by following a clear presentation guide.

Slide 1: Cover Slide

Establish who is reviewing, who is being reviewed, and the date of the performance review. Note that this information is also important since the performance review presentation will probably become part of an ongoing performance documentation.

Slide 2: Table of Contents

Part of the discomfort of performance reviews is the concept of the unknown. For an employee, it’s speculating on what their manager is going to say in the performance review. A clear table of contents will hopefully help ground the employee by showing them clearly what they can expect from the presentation, and in what order.

Slide 3: Evaluate if job requirements are being met

In this PPT slide, the reviewer should compare, side-by-side the job requirements and the actual job performance of their subordinate. This requirement versus performance comparison helps the evaluation stay objective. Provide examples of when the requirements are or are not being successfully met, whenever possible.

Job Requirements vs Performance PowerPoint Presentation

Slide 4: Strengths

When presenting employee strengths, be as specific as possible. Explain why this strength matters, an example of when this strength was evident, and what impacts this strength has had. In the presentation, add a list of strengths with or without a short description and/or example, in case the performance review is presented without the accompanying meeting.

SWOT Analysis Strengths Performance Review PowerPoint Template

If the manager previously asked for a self assessment, add a comparison here between the reviewer’s opinion of the employee strengths and their employee’s opinion.

Slide 5: Achievements

List any specific achievements the employee has made during the performance period.

Performance Review Achievements PowerPoint Template

Slide 6: Highlight areas of improvement

This is another way to frame weaknesses. When presenting areas of improvement, consider what the employee needs to improve, why these areas are necessary to address, how the manager can help the employee improve, and what specific steps are needed to improve. Be specific and provide examples whenever possible.

This is another good slide where managers can compare their evaluation of areas of improvement with the answers employees provided in their self assessment. You can combine these slides with other performance improvement plan templates for PowerPoint and Google Slides.

Starfish Retrospective Model for Areas of Improvements

Slide 7: Evaluate if previously defined goals were met

If this isn’t the first performance review a manager has conducted for an individual, then there will be previously defined goals from former evaluations. On this slide, list the previous goals and add a brief evaluation for each. This will help decide what goals should be checked off, maintained, or adjusted for the next evaluation period, which will be presented in the next slide.

Slide 8: Recommend actionable goals

When presenting goals, we recommend using the SMART formula. SMART goals stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. This method of creating goals helps ensure the goal will be achieved as expected.

The goals established in this performance review will most likely be evaluated during the next performance review. As such, the “time-based” aspect of the goal should take this into account.

how to make a performance review

Slide 9: Welcome employee input

Close the performance review presentation by giving the employee space to talk.

By following this performance review template, reviewers can make sure their evaluation is more than just a meaningless task checked off the list. When done well, the performance review sets the mood for the whole next period, giving both managers and employees a clear guide towards moving forward and achieving their goals more successfully. As far as the tendency for employee evaluations to be uncomfortable situations, follow the advice in this article, practice, and you’ll soon find the valuable potential of a well-presented performance review.

how to make a performance review

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How to Write a Self-Performance Review (With Examples)

employee completing a self-evaluation

Morgane Lança

Who can honestly say they can’t wait to complete their self-assessment? Identifying and detailing our shortcomings can be a nightmare. Plus, nobody wants to pat themselves too much on the back for a job well done – at least not on the record, and definitely not in front of their manager.

If you’re not adequately prepared for them, self-performance reviews can be a horrendous prospect. However, 65% of employees say they want more clearly defined goals and tasks . And when conducted effectively, self-evaluations are the best way to do just that! 

Here is an overview of what self-performance reviews entail, how they can benefit both employees and organizations and how you can conduct and write the best self-performance assessment.

What is a self-evaluation?

As their name suggests, self-evaluations consist in a reflection on one’s work and performance and are a crucial part of performance management processes. They allow employees to think about their work in the past year or the past few months and consider how it contributes to organizational success.

This evaluation method is a great way to identify strengths and areas of improvement . Self-performance reviews also help managers see how their coworkers perceive themselves and their team and how they wish to grow professionally in the future.

Benefits of employee self-evaluations

There are great benefits linked to implementing effective self-assessments in your performance management process:

  • Setting focused goals : When combined with regular performance appraisals, self-reviews help set performance objectives that are focused on growth opportunities and areas of improvement.
  • Increasing goal alignment : Individual objectives should be aligned with team and business goals to support organizational success and create a cohesive work environment.
  • Improving communication between manager and employee : Self-assessments ensure that performance reviews become two-way conversations and that the employee’s voice is heard during the meeting. It also fosters transparency between managers and employees.
  • Preparing for the performance review : Completing a self-evaluation before the formal performance appraisal helps employees get in the right mindset and start reflecting on all the aspects of their own performance while preparing comments and goals they want to share with their manager.
  • Encouraging appreciation of your own work : On top of identifying shortcomings, self-evaluations encourage employees to celebrate their accomplishments and contributions to the team and the organization.
  • Promoting self-awareness : Self-awareness is an essential soft skill for productive workers, and self-evaluations help build a sense of self-appreciation and performance ownership and encourage self-improvement.
  • Avoiding performance review bias : Involving employees in the process prevents potential biases and one-way conversations. Implementing 360-degree feedback strategies is a great way to ensure that performance appraisals are fair and effective.

Tips to conduct effective self-performance reviews

The following tips apply to both managers and employees – in that case, managers need to encourage these practical approaches, and employees need to adopt them to improve self-evaluation processes throughout the entire organization.

1) Rely on facts, not on impressions

Although intuition and hunches can be great ways to notice productivity issues and address them during one-on-one meetings with your employees, you should, most importantly, encourage them to rely on facts.

Have they reached significant milestones this year? Do they feel like they have reached their maximum potential? What have been their biggest successes and their biggest struggles? 

You should encourage them to share their personal experiences and follow the completion of their goals throughout the year to ensure they have a solid idea of where they are in terms of performance.

For impactful self-reviews, employees can share the completion status of their OKRs, instances where there were significant contributors to a crucial project, or skills they acquired recently. Of course, they also need to underline their shortcomings and struggles and think about ways they could solve these issues.

2) Don’t assume that less is more

Don’t be afraid to say too much or overshare: self-evaluations are the perfect moment to convey your feelings and share your frustrations (respectfully and mindfully, of course). Managers should encourage their team members to detail each of their answers and leave them enough space and time to do so.

Performance reviews are rarely black or white, and a few words cannot encompass the complexity of an employee’s daily work. Instead, you should take the necessary time to focus on your performance and effectively convey how you evaluate it.

3) Find balance between the good and the not-so-good

Your self-evaluation should not be too laudatory, nor should it be excessively self-deprecating. Even if you think that you have had a spotless professional record this year, take the time to consider how you could improve your workflow and learn new things. If you feel unproductive and have not reached your full potential, try to find contributions you can be proud of and concrete ways to improve in the future.

Of course, the questions asked on the self-review form need to encourage appreciation and self-improvement , and managers should remind employees to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses.

How to write a self-assessment

1) take the time to complete the evaluation.

You shouldn’t rush the process; instead, take the necessary steps and time to complete the evaluation carefully. Depending on the frequency of performance reviews in your company, you only get to reflect on your performance once or twice a year. Make the most of this opportunity by writing your self-review in a peaceful room without interruption.

Experts say you should take at least two to three hours to complete your self-assessment.

You can start writing down your answers and return to them the next day if you need more time to put your thoughts into words.

2) Use your own voice and words

You can draw inspiration from examples and templates. Still, your personality and your true feelings should transpire in the self-evaluation so that it is clear that you have taken the time to think about your performance. This approach will help your manager understand your specific needs and preferences. Your tone should be professional but convey your personal feelings and experience.

3) Think about how you truly feel

Self-reviews should be rooted in honesty and transparency. You should express your true feelings and give honest feedback. This exercise requires time and dedication.

Although your feelings do matter, don’t convey them in a brash or thoughtless way. You are more likely to be heard and understood if you express yourself in a composed and articulated manner.

4) Consider the feedback you have received

Performance reviews are only helpful if built on ongoing feedback shared throughout the year. If you have received constructive feedback , see if you have effectively acted on it and improved your work accordingly. Your self-review is also the perfect opportunity to evaluate if you have received enough feedback or would like to receive it differently.

If applicable, you can also review the peer feedback you received before the performance appraisal meeting and think about how teamwork and communication could be improved. Feedback on managerial practices is also crucial for a culture of feedback that benefits the entire team and the organization.

5) Know your worth

During a self-evaluation, you should appreciate your contributions and realize that you are part of a whole, and participate in organizational success on a day-to-day basis.

All in all, you should highlight the positive aspects of your performance and not only focus on the negatives. List all your accomplishments and contributions – even tiny ones if they make you particularly proud – and mention them during the meeting.

When writing your self-assessment, remember that no one likes to hear self-deprecating comments…

6) Reflect on your mistakes

But nobody likes a bragger, either.

Remember that the main objective here is to find ways to optimize your work practices and become the best version of yourself. If you notice opportunities to learn from past mistakes or difficulties, you can devise ways to improve yourself.

Of course, your manager will have valuable insight to share on supporting your growth, but self-reviews allow you to have a say in your own employee performance management .

7) Identify achievable goals and future projects you want to work on

Although it is unfortunately often overlooked in performance appraisals, this is a fundamental question: what do you enjoy the most about your day-to-day work ?

Most of the time, we are more efficient when working on projects we love. Of course, your job cannot be only made up of your favorite tasks, but if they align with team and business goals, now is the time to express that you want to participate in these projects.

Your self-evaluation should also focus on skills you want to improve or acquire or career growth opportunities you would like to pursue in the future. If you want to be more involved in team projects or learn to use a software solution, feel free to express this wish in your evaluation.

8) Prepare for the actual performance review meeting

Now that you have reflected on your strengths, your areas of improvement, your feelings and the goals you want to achieve, and that you have put it all on paper (or not, since we don’t recommend conducting a performance review process on paper documents!), you are ready for your formal performance review.

Remember to prepare in advance for the appraisal. It can be helpful to write down notes and comments to ensure you effectively convey what you want to share during the meeting. You can also have your list of objectives and the main points of your self-review to refresh your memory and keep track of what you have to discuss.

The performance meeting should be conducted transparently and respectfully on both sides, so be mindful of what you say – and, more importantly, how you say it.

Examples of Employee Self-assessment Phrases

If you struggle to find the right words to express yourself in your self-evaluation, here are concrete examples of self-assessment responses to get inspired.

Job Performance and Individual Goals

It stands to reason that a self-performance review will focus on your performance goals! Here are answers you can use to talk about your objectives and their completion:

“My results have improved by 20% over the course of the evaluation period. My goals were set at a 10% increase, so I feel really proud of this achievement.”

“This project I completed will improve our employer brand and increase potential customer interest.”

“I have worked hard towards achieving my performance goals and managed to reach most of them over the course of the evaluation period.”

“I have acted on the feedback I have received and came up with creative solutions to manage a challenging project.”

“I failed to reach this specific goal we had set. I was short on time and faced challenges when using the necessary resources and tools to complete this goal.”

Teamwork and Collaboration Skills

Teamwork is undoubtedly one of the most important components of productivity and motivation. Here is how you can comment on team spirit and collaboration in your self-evaluation process:

“I work well with my team members and strive to meet our collective goals by creating a collaborative environment.”

“I helped my coworkers on their projects when they needed my help and contributed to team success.”

“I actively participate in team discussions and try to support my colleagues while maintaining a positive attitude.”

“I handle conflicts professionally, have good relationships with my team and am open to feedback from colleagues.”

“I lacked opportunities to work with my team members but would love to do so in the future.”

Time and Project Management Skills

Time management skills are crucial to reach your best level of productivity. You also need to be able to prioritize tasks and projects when needed:

“I prioritize tasks effectively to meet deadlines and deliver results on time.”

“I manage my workload efficiently and remain productive even in high-pressure situations.”

“I keep my workspace, schedule and files organized to be more efficient on a daily basis.”

“I know how to be flexible in my schedule and to prioritize tasks when necessary.”

“It can be difficult for me to manage my time and my projects and I would like to get a tool to help me improve in this aspect.”

Significant Contributions

In this section, you should highlight your successes and the achievements that made you proud. Time to pat yourself on the back with these examples of phrases!

“The project I completed helped us increase our productivity and results exceeded expectations.”

“I developed a new skill that will support my daily work and help me grow professionally.”

“I actively participate in communication channels and work chats that streamline work processes and build team spirit.”

“I helped organize team-building activities that benefited the entire company.”

“I provide high-quality work and have strengthened my technical skills.”

Career and Professional Development

Self-evaluations often ask you to reflect on your career and envision your future in the organization. Here are some examples of phrases you can use to talk about your professional growth:

“I have greatly improved my communication skills, and would like to develop other soft skills in the future.”

“I demonstrated leadership skills during the review period and think I could explore this skill further.”

“I am ready to take on new projects in this field as I am confident in my ability to successfully complete them.”

“I would like to be provided more training and learning opportunities in this field to improve the quality and effectiveness of my work.”

“I am ready to move forward in my career and would like to discuss it during my performance appraisal meeting.”

See? Self-reviews can be that easy – and that useful for employees and organizations .

When implemented and conducted transparently, they support recognition, individual growth and business success. They are also crucial for an influential culture of feedback and modern performance management processes such as 360-degree appraisals.

Want to conduct your self-assessments directly on a user-friendly platform?

Discover Folks HR's flexible performance management software!

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The Future of Strategic Measurement: Enhancing KPIs With AI

Findings from the mit smr - bcg artificial intelligence and business strategy global executive study and research project, february 12, 2024, by: michael schrage, david kiron, françois candelon, shervin khodabandeh, and michael chu, introduction.

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Legacy key performance indicators (KPIs) increasingly fail to deliver the information and insights leaders need to succeed. They fall short in tracking progress, aligning people and processes, prioritizing resources, and advancing accountability. These failures both undermine operational efficiencies and compromise the pursuit of strategic objectives and outcomes. Sophisticated organizations worldwide recognize that their KPIs need to be measurably smarter and more capable. They consequently invest in algorithmic innovations to make their performance metrics more intelligent, adaptive, and predictive. Smart KPIs powered by artificial intelligence (AI) become sources — not merely measures — of strategic differentiation and value creation.

Based on a global survey of more than 3,000 managers and interviews with 17 executives, we find AI being used to fundamentally redefine performance as well as enhance it. We see organizations using algorithms to challenge and improve enterprise assumptions around performance, profitability, and growth. Companies that revise their KPIs with AI are three times more likely to see greater financial benefit than those that do not. Smarter KPIs lead to better outcomes.

Online furniture retailer Wayfair, for example, used AI to reexamine the fundamentals behind its lost-sales KPI. “We used to think that if you lost the sale on a particular product, like a sofa, it was a loss to the company,” says CTO Fiona Tan. “But we started looking at the data and realized that 50% to 60% of the time, when we lost a sale, it was because the customer bought something else in the same product category.”

This insight led Wayfair to reengineer its lost-sales KPI into a more valuable metric. Whereas the company previously calculated item-based lost sales in response to price changes, it now also calculates category-based retention of sales in response to price changes. With the new, more accurate KPI, Wayfair is able to make more effective furniture recommendations that incorporate customer preferences — from price points to shipment times — when suggesting next-best offers. Logistically, the operations team aligned product placement decisions with distribution center and warehouse constraints to improve both customer and employee experiences. A smarter KPI measurably improved outcomes for everybody.

This example is no outlier. Our research finds organizations across industries using AI to revisit their KPI fundamentals and discover latent or undervalued performance features. By identifying, redefining, and communicating smarter metrics — their strategic measurement system — leaders increase their company’s ability to optimize desired outcomes. 1

Smart KPIs can do more than just unearth sources of value and differentiation that would otherwise go undetected or underexploited. They can also prevent the undesirable outcomes that can result from a failure to regularly reexamine assumptions underlying legacy KPIs. The 2008 global economic crisis, for example, was triggered in part by banks’ dependence on a then widely used metric, value at risk, which measures potential portfolio losses in normal market conditions at a single point in time. Financial institutions did not adjust this measure as riskier subprime mortgages and credit default swaps became a larger part of their portfolios. Guided by a metric that severely underestimated potential losses — in some cases, by orders of magnitude — many financial institutions went bankrupt or suffered significant losses.

Executives who recognize the power and potential of AI-enabled KPIs acknowledge that their current KPI design and review practices are anachronistic. More and more companies are rising to this challenge by embedding governance processes and functions to oversee KPI development. KPI governance mechanisms that maintain detailed, accurate, and relevant performance data over time ensure that KPI quality is explicitly considered during their design and not an afterthought. Schneider Electric, for example, is making significant financial and nonfinancial investments in learning how to improve not only performance against established metrics but the performance metrics themselves. Accountability for performance on KPIs is increasingly insufficient; companies need accountability for the performance of KPIs, too.

Our global survey reveals that 60% of managers believe that they need to improve their KPIs, but only one-third (34%) are using AI to create new KPIs. Strikingly, 9 out of 10 managers within that 34% agree or strongly agree that their KPIs have been improved by AI. (See Figures 1 and 2.) While it is still early days for most organizations, the benefits of enhancing KPIs with AI are becoming clearer to more and more companies.

Improving KPIs Is a Leadership Priority

While more than half of the leaders we surveyed are focused on improving the quality of their KPIs, only approximately one-third use AI to generate new KPIs.

Donut Charts: 60% of respondents assert that their organizations are striving to improve the quality of their KPIs for decision-making; 34% of organizations are using AI to create new KPIs

The far-reaching implications of these findings are difficult to overstate. Companies that algorithmically improve their KPIs are reconsidering the purpose of performance measurement, the function of KPIs, and the strategic value of metrics. Our research demonstrates that these reconsiderations frequently lead to new processes for transforming both KPI design and how organizational behaviors align with strategic outcomes. Strengthening strategic alignment is both an objective and an outcome of smart KPIs.

Creating New KPIs With AI

Of the 34% of organizations surveyed that use AI to create new KPIs, 90% see improvements.

Donut chart: 34% of organizations use AI to create new KPIs; 90% of those organizations see their KPIs improve

These algorithmic imperatives put a provocative twist on the oft quoted phrase “what gets measured gets managed.” Thanks to AI, what organizations learn to measure, they must also learn to manage — and how they measure matters as much as what they measure. As better instrumentation, better data, and better algorithms change the measurement process, opportunities for strategic differentiation and value creation improve as well. This report synthesizes and expands upon key findings from the four articles in our yearlong collaborative research series on enhancing KPIs with AI. 2 We discuss a nascent but growing effort to create smarter and more valuable KPIs and offer evidence-based management takeaways for developing and using next-generation KPIs to drive better performance. We also detail specific steps managers can take to begin realizing the benefits of smarter KPIs.

Developing Smarter KPIs

Organizations typically use KPIs as benchmarks to evaluate progress on a wide range of business objectives, such as sales growth, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency. Data-gathering techniques and analytics are subsequently used to measure progress against these metrics. This approach prioritizes what KPIs measure rather than how KPIs are measured.

Today, however, shifting economic conditions, evolving consumer expectations, and digital transformation efforts create a mandate for organizations to reconsider — on an ongoing basis —what key performance means and how to measure it. Managers acknowledge the need for change: 6 out of 10 survey respondents agree that improving their KPIs (in terms of what gets measured and how it gets measured), not just improving performance, is critical for effective decision-making. Every executive we interviewed explicitly declared that improving KPIs with AI is an enterprise interest, and it is an immediate priority for several.

There are many paths to improving KPIs. Low-cost approaches that rely on human judgment, intuition, and experience can deliver incremental changes with incremental insights into performance. In contrast, AI-enhanced KPIs can deliver significantly more detailed and accurate insights into current and future performance. For companies deploying such — smart — KPIs, the organizational costs are outweighed by business benefits spanning increased efficiency, better alignment, and improved financial outcomes.

Three Types of Smart KPIs

We see three ways that AI-enriched KPIs improve on legacy metrics that simply track performance. Smart KPIs better describe ongoing and past performance, more effectively anticipate future performance, and make more useful recommendations to promote outcomes. These three types of smart KPIs (descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive) map to a well-known distinction between descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics.

The idea of prescriptive KPIs might be unfamiliar, but executive dashboards that color-code KPIs already provide a simple call to action: Red indicates that performance is down, and green means that performance meets or exceeds expectations. Smart KPIs go further: They can make more detailed recommendations about next steps leaders should take in response to these signals and diagnose implications for other KPIs. (See Figure 3.)

Enriched with AI, smart KPIs offer several advantages over traditional KPIs.

Three Types of Smart KPIs

Improving Existing KPIs With AI

Goodhart’s law declares that when a metric becomes a target, it ceases to be a good metric. But targeting metrics themselves for improvement is both consistent with Goodhart’s caution and an essential ingredient for sustainable operational success. Continual KPI improvement becomes a target in its own right.

Media conglomerate CBS offers a compelling example of this sensibility and approach. One executive began exploring whether AI could discern performance drivers that executives couldn’t identify through intuition and experience alone. 3 In the interest of predicting which programs would become hits, the executive gave her AI teams 50 years of KPIs and consumer research data to determine whether the company had the right KPIs for predicting the success of TV pilots.

The team used AI to confirm the merits of existing KPIs and identified additional ones that helped refine how the company assesses pilots. “We got better by going through this AI exercise,” she noted. “The analysis changed what we were looking for and helped improve our performance.”

Intentionally using algorithms to revisit and review key performance parameters leads to improved performance. For Tokopedia, one of Indonesia’s largest marketplaces, merchant reliability is core to maintaining strong customer relationships. The organization sells 1.8 billion products per day through 14 million merchants — more than 85% of which are new entrepreneurs, says CTO Herman Widjaja. While merchants have good products to sell, not all of them manage their stock efficiently, which in turn negatively impacts fulfillment, customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, the volume of transactions taking place on the platform. To address this issue, the company began synthesizing and analyzing millions of merchant and customer data points.

Its algorithmic analysis of the data led to a scoring system that enhanced the company’s KPI for merchant quality. The system has improved both customer service (by connecting customers to those merchants most likely to deliver a quality product) and marketplace effectiveness (by identifying and helping low-scoring merchants improve their own operations). The scoring system benefits all parties: the customers, the merchants, and Tokopedia itself. With it, the company has been able to create a more credible, effective marketplace.

Enhancing KPIs With AI at Maersk

Maersk, the Danish transportation, shipping, and logistics company, used AI to reassess and redefine how it measures throughput and the productivity of its network of 65 assets in ports, transportation, and warehouses worldwide. Front-line managers had to decide whether key performance was best defined by loading and unloading ships or trucks as quickly as possible or by managing the loading process so that the transportation could reliably depart as scheduled. To reach a decision, the company used AI-driven models to represent each approach and assess its effects across the value chain. These models concluded that reliable departures that used less loading equipment would preempt bottlenecks both at transshipment points and during connections between different modes of transport, such as road and rail. With AI, Maersk prioritized the right KPI, overcoming a human bias to maximize speed. This approach led to more efficient, aligned performance across the enterprise and, in turn, increased customer satisfaction with reliable deliveries.

Creating New KPIs

Identifying strategic and operational KPIs is a common function of human leadership teams. Yet our research confirms that AI — not only humans — can propose and even design new and novel KPIs to guide executive decision-making. We heard story after story of leaders turning to algorithms to source key performance metrics that are not only strategically and operationally valuable but, in some cases, derived from data patterns too complicated for humans to discern. Our survey data affirms that companies using AI to create new KPIs see a broad range of business benefits compared with those companies that don’t use the technology to create new KPIs. (See Figure 4.) Organizations using AI to create new KPIs (34% of all respondents) are more likely to realize benefits around alignment, collaboration, efficacy, financial benefit, and efficiency.

The Appendix section describes an experiment we conducted with ChatGPT that resulted in several novel, and potentially useful, KPIs.

Benefits From AI-Adjusted KPIs

Organizations that create new KPIs using AI are more likely to see stronger alignment, increased collaboration, more accurate forecasts, and more efficiency than organizations that do not create new KPIs using AI.

5x Incentive structure is in line with objectives; 3x Increased collaboration between employees; 3x More effective at predicting future performance; 3x Greater financial benefit; 2x Greater efficiency

Avinash Kaushik, chief strategy officer at digital marketing agency Croud, was formerly the senior director of global strategic analytics at Google, where machine learning helped his team discover a new measure of performance. In one situation, he recalls, the technology giant had made a substantial but underperforming marketing investment in a primary digital channel. “We had no idea what was wrong with us,” Kaushik recalls. “We knew we were failing; we just didn’t know why, and we’d exhausted all the questions we could ask.” Google’s wealth of talent, analytic resources, and data access weren’t enough to crack the code.

Kaushik’s team developed an algorithm using a machine learning model called a classification tree to identify connections and correlations they had missed. “Because we didn’t even know what questions to ask, this kind of unsupervised machine learning algorithm was a really good approach,” he says. “We let the algorithm find the patterns.”

What the algorithm found surprised Kaushik’s team: KPIs they had thought were the most essential to optimize weren’t. The most influential metrics, their order of importance, and their optimal ranges of operation were a revelation. A surprising measure was the percentage of impressions in which a person viewed and heard a full ad. If the percentage was below a certain benchmark, the marketing campaign was doomed to fail; if higher, the campaign had a chance at success. Not six months after implementing the algorithm’s recommendations, desired performance increased 30 points — “an insane performance improvement,” Kaushik says.

KPI Governance at Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric’s chief governance officer and secretary general, Hervé Coureil, acknowledges that harnessing data to unearth and generate new KPIs can be costly and time-consuming. But, he contends, it’s strategically necessary. “We want our KPIs to evolve over time because we don’t want to drive our business on legacy or vanity metrics,” he says. To ensure that KPIs develop in accord with changing objectives and new measurement capabilities, Coureil cosponsored a performance management office (PMO) within the company’s data team to oversee performance standards. “We looked at performance measurement as one of our transformation drivers,” he says. The PMO helped top management evolve its portfolio of KPIs and align them with the company’s various operating units. It also pushed the businesses to become more data-driven and analytically aware of the links between performance improvements, improved metrics, and enhanced outcomes.

Our research finds growing demand for new, AI-driven KPIs. At Region Halland Health System in Sweden, for example, researchers created and trained an algorithm based on data from death certificates, government records, and electronic records to better predict sudden cardiac death (SCD) in the year after an electrocardiogram (ECG) is performed. SCD afflicts 300,000 people in the U.S., and millions globally, every year. 4

“The algorithm became quite good at predicting who’s going to succumb to sudden cardiac death in the year after an ECG is taken,” says Dr. Ziad Obermeyer, a physician and professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who helped train the algorithm. “Every time someone gets an ECG, it generates a risk score that measures the probability the individual will die from sudden cardiac arrest.” That ECG score can function like a key performance indicator: With the score in hand, a doctor might observe how a patient’s SCD risk profile changes after they’re prescribed a medication, such as a beta blocker or an ACE inhibitor.

While using AI to discover effective predictive indicators for SCD remains a work in progress, researchers are already excited about its potential to create early indicators for other diseases. “Having the ability to turn these very complicated biological signals into indicators is very powerful,” Obermeyer says. “I think that’s going to be something we’ll see a lot more of, not just for sudden cardiac death but for diabetic complications and all sorts of other preventable, high-stakes conditions.”

Establishing New Relationships Among KPIs

Because performance drivers interact in complex ways, you don’t just need better KPIs: You need a better understanding of how KPIs are related to each other. We see executives, analysts, and data science teams collaborating to identify interdependencies and establish new relationships among KPIs. These relationships may reveal tacit or subtle links between, say, employee productivity and customer engagement, profit margins and market share, or quality manufacturing output and return on assets.

Pernod Ricard, a $10 billion global spirits company, uses AI to describe and deepen the connection between two of its most important KPIs: profit margins and market share. In the past, these KPIs were siloed, each with its own set of measures. The finance function focused on profitability, while sales and marketing focused on market share.

Bolstering KPIs at Wayfair

“In business, there's a tendency to optimize operations for micro KPIs. However, a singular focus on these metrics can sometimes lead to a ‘local maxima’ problem, where the benefits to one part of the business may come at the expense of the overall health of the business,” notes Fiona Tan, Wayfair's CTO. For example, optimizing for profitability of certain products or services, such as warranties, could reduce the number of items a customer buys, which negatively affects crucial business concerns such as customer loyalty or long-term customer value. This situation underscores the importance of having robust macro KPIs that govern and balance local or short-term gains with long-term objectives. Wayfair takes a holistic view that aims to ensure efforts to boost immediate profits do not undermine the overall customer experience and the sustainable growth of the company.

The company now deploys AI to deliver insights into how commercial and marketing investments that improve profits — such as media or in-store activation — also influence market-share objectives and vice versa. Instead of seeking to maximize each individual KPI, the spirits maker now seeks to optimize both KPIs in concert with each other.

“If you can imagine moving a cursor between market share optimization objectives and margin optimization objectives, you need to know how the required investments vary to reach these objectives,” says Pierre-Yves Calloc’h, Pernod Ricard’s chief digital officer. “AI is going to give you that information. With AI, we can better align market share KPIs, margin KPIs, and required investments to reach them.” This capability transformed how Pernod Ricard’s leadership allocates capital and balances its aspirations for profitability and market share.

Intelligent algorithms also help align enterprise strategy with unit- and team-level operations by fostering silo-busting behaviors that enable more efficient and effective collaborative work. At Singapore-based DBS Bank, leadership created cross-functional groups to improve its customer focus, customer service, and profitability. This move was a significant departure from a traditional operational approach, in which each department owned separate KPIs for its distinct customer touch points. It took DBS three years to create a value map that enabled these groups to manage a “customer journey” that comprises outcomes in four categories: customer experience, employee experience, profitability, and risk.

At scale, the numbers of drivers, metrics, and interdependencies across these outcome categories were overwhelming and impossible to optimize for human managers. AI, however, offered fresh perspectives on visible and hidden performance patterns and identified key interdependencies among the performance drivers. According to Sameer Gupta, group chief analytics officer and managing director at DBS Bank, identifying interdependencies among drivers and KPIs was a fundamental shift that enabled all group members to see the same data, continually assess the factors driving different outcomes, and agilely respond.

AI-based platforms can also drive strategic alignment across an organization by improving the quality of communication. Roughly 10,000 executives at France-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi have visibility into and access to their KPI data via its Plai app. Plai uses AI to link internal data with personalized insights and what-if predictions that invite managers to better coordinate and align their plans, says Stephanie Androski, Sanofi’s head of global finance operations and transformation. Androski explains:

We now have one number that’s going behind our sales forecast, and it’s the central point for multiple other KPIs. If we’re predicting a potential out-of-stock situation for a product, not only does it give us the ability to say, ‘Oh, wait a minute — the AI is predicting we might be out of stock of that product in four months. Is that real, and can we get ahead of it?’ It also gives us the ability, as the finance team, to ask, ‘Are the sales too ambitious for this product? Will we lose market share?’ or ‘What does this do to the overall forecast?’ Because everything is more out in the open, and because you can see it, it’s really helped increase that dialogue and productivity.

Inside the Algorithms That Make KPIs Smarter

In practice, developing smart KPIs requires categorizing variables into three distinct types:

› Strategic outcome variables: Well-known overarching targets, such as revenue or profit.

› Operational drivers: Variables that might impact the strategic outcome, such as pricing, consumer reviews, or website traffic.

› Contextual factors: External factors beyond a company’s control, typically measured or tracked through external data such as consumer spending forecasts, intercountry freight, or government regulation.

The objective of using AI techniques in the context of KPIs is to better understand causal relationships between operational drivers and contextual variables on the one hand and strategic outcomes on the other. The output of this effort might then be an enhanced version of an existing KPI, a new KPI altogether, or an explicit causal link between KPIs. Either way, the goal is to produce a more reliable and dynamic leading indicator of strategic outcomes.

For example, in the case of Tokopedia, the relevant strategic outcome involves the number and value of transactions on its platform. This outcome is directly related to operational drivers involving merchant attributes that Tokopedia can both track and influence, such as fill rates and number of products offered. Finally, there are contextual factors beyond Tokopedia’s direct control, like merchant locations or the number of searches (an indicator of demand) for a given merchant’s products, that also influence the strategic outcome. With AI, Tokopedia was able to synthesize a variety of operational drivers and contextual factors into a single merchant-quality KPI. This KPI simultaneously improved the quality of buyer-seller matching and offered merchants valuable insights to improve their own operations; these benefits jointly drive overall strategic outcomes for Tokopedia, such as the volume and value of transactions.

Aligning CFO and CMO KPIs to Improve Patient Readmission Rates

Reducing readmissions is both a key outcome indicator and an essential factor in reducing costs for hospitals. In legacy provider organizations, CFOs manage costs and reimbursement flows, and chief medical officers (CMOs) emphasize the quality care of patients and their release from the hospital. Each role tends to view reducing readmissions from a distinct perspective, with its own independent metrics. It is now possible to use AI to analyze patient data, identify root causes of readmissions, and recommend targeted interventions. With this information, CFOs and CMOs can share a “patient readmission rate” KPI that offers a single source of data for improving outcomes and reducing costs. Both departments understand how their actions advance low-cost options that improve readmission rates and increase quality of care. This shared KPI promotes alignment across the organization — an alignment made possible by a KPI forged from pattern-recognizing algorithms.

Transforming Legacy KPI Practices

Where KPIs were once the domain of human expertise and decision-making, algorithmic innovations profoundly reshape their powers and purpose. We see this less as a transition than a disruption: The human monopoly on KPI development, management, and governance is eroding.

Below, we describe six shifts from what legacy KPIs currently allow to what algorithmically informed KPIs demand. These demands force leadership teams to integrate AI into the way they develop and use KPIs. Without exception, our executive interviewees acknowledged that their smart KPI initiatives are a challenging but necessary undertaking.

From ‘Performance Tracking’ To ‘Redefining Performance’

Tracking performance — that is, assessing progress toward predetermined performance targets — exemplifies legacy uses of KPIs: The primary perceived value of KPIs is keeping score. Our research suggests that investing to better track legacy KPIs that are still in use can have diminishing returns. Executives working with novel instruments, technologies, and dataflows can develop new perspectives on what drives performance and its measurement. Their investments to improve KPIs with AI pay off with new definitions of performance, not just better measurements of performance on legacy metrics.

Much as the James Webb Space Telescope’s startling images of early galaxy formation overturned some legacy cosmological understandings of the universe, increasingly intelligent instruments and algorithms can reveal surprising features of performance. At Google, for example, Kaushik observed how unsupervised learning algorithms identified completely unexpected performance markers for its media buys. Other conversations with leading AI researchers and practitioners suggest that tomorrow’s most effective leadership teams will depend on smart KPIs to unlock new performance capabilities. Optimizing tomorrow’s performance will be guided by the best and smartest KPIs.

From ‘Static Benchmarks’ To ‘Dynamic Predictors’

Legacy “set ’em and forget ’em” benchmarking practices give way to targeted investments in smarter KPIs that anticipate market conditions, supply chains, and consumer behavior with greater precision. Schneider Electric models dynamic KPIs that compute how volatile weather influences trade-offs among KPIs related to energy costs, distributive load-balancing risks, and carbon footprints. Dynamic KPIs invite businesses to anticipate changing environments earlier and respond to them more effectively. Without exception, the executives we spoke with indicated that they are increasingly orchestrating dataflows and workflows to make their KPIs more adaptive and predictive. We already see such predictive dynamism in high-frequency algorithmic trading and programmatic-advertising marketplaces. Dynamically unpredictable markets invite dynamically predictive KPIs.

From ‘Judgment-First’ To ‘Algorithmically Defined’ Strategic Metrics

Traditionally, human executives have designed and defined KPIs based on experience, market trends, and business objectives. Combining generative AI with other intelligent algorithms cracks this human monopoly and encourages previously unimagined metrics. Tomorrow’s most innovative metrics for aligning and assessing key performance may well be machine-made.

This obligates organizations honoring a responsible AI ethos to openly embrace transparency, interpretability, and explainability for their “machine-made” metrics. Smart KPIs must be seen to align with enterprise values and objectives. This requires new processes for setting, improving, aligning, and communicating strategic and operational metrics. Human oversight complements and commands algorithmic insight and foresight.

From ‘KPI Management’ To ‘Smart KPI Governance and Oversight’

Whereas better KPI management emphasizes specific outcomes, KPI governance ensures that desired outcomes are appropriately aligned and optimized. Managing KPIs involves maximizing performance against individual metrics, often in isolation at the team or unit level. KPI governance, in contrast, calls for overseeing and actively refining entire KPI portfolios at the enterprise level. Our research shows that many leaders continue to privilege KPI management over KPI governance.

Effective governance demands that leaders understand how intelligent algorithms can — and should — influence the ways in which KPIs learn, improve, and learn to improve. Identifying and managing trade-offs between competing and conflicting KPIs becomes mission-critical. Cross-functional reviews to assess such trade-offs are key to ensuring alignment. The goal of smart KPI governance is not (merely) optimizing individual KPIs but optimizing strategic KPI portfolios — the group of KPIs that best represent strategic aspirations, objectives, and outcomes.

Essentially, businesses need KPIs for their KPIs — intelligent metrics and standards to reliably evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, and alignment of the KPIs themselves. Developing KPIs for KPIs demands a meta-level strategy and approach for ensuring continuous improvement of the performance measurement system itself. Better governance, not simply better data science, shapes these meta-KPIs. Every executive we spoke with observed that their progress in governing KPIs has just begun.

From ‘Keeping an Eye on KPIs’ To ‘KPI Dialogues and Discussions’

Checking KPIs throughout the day is a common management habit in offices around the world — a habit made more pleasing and useful by the evolution of more detailed, visually compelling, and insightful dashboards. Intelligent algorithms, however, transform eye-catching dashboards into machine learning platforms that facilitate, enable, and empower real-time dialogues between managers and their KPIs. For example, equipping KPIs with generative AI capabilities makes it possible for managers to prompt dashboards to produce counterfactual scenarios for financial planning or inventory management. Iterating with large language models can remake these counterfactual scenarios into useful narratives for decision-making and collaboration.

The management paradigm shifts from passive data consumption to active data interaction. Real-time data dialogues — with and between multimodal KPI dashboards — lead to better-informed, agile, and strategic decisions. Sanofi’s Plai initiative presents a case study of how predictive analytics provokes more future-oriented internal collaborations. This generative extension from performance-tracking displays to dashboard dialogues, conversations, and interrogations enhances analytic engagement and decision-making alike.

From ‘Strategy With KPIs’ To ‘Strategy for and With KPIs'

In traditional strategic management approaches, KPIs constitute tangible, measurable objectives that represent executive-determined business goals. Strategy must incorporate measurable objectives to guide behaviors, communicate goals, and hold individuals accountable. KPIs bridge strategy and operations. This is strategy with KPIs.

Smart KPIs demand a new paradigm, for they themselves require a strategy for their development and optimization over time. Your smartest KPIs optimize your strategy, and your optimal strategy includes smarter KPIs. Having a strategy for, as well as with, KPIs encourages strategists to attend not only to measurable objectives but to measurably enhanced KPIs.

None of these shifts is subtle or incremental; they disrupt how organizations understand, define, and pursue performance excellence. Leadership initiatives for strategic performance improvement cannot be divorced from initiatives to develop smarter KPIs. These takeaways highlight next steps organizations must take to make their smart KPIs operationally, organizationally, and strategically more valuable.

Takeaway 1: Realign Data Governance to Enable Measurably Smarter KPIs

Robust, reliable, and sophisticated data governance is a critical enabler for smarter KPIs. Measurably improving key performance requires measurably improving data. Data — in all its forms — must be seen and treated as a strategic asset. Our interviews with executives in enterprises as varied as DBS Bank, Tokopedia, General Motors, and Pernod Ricard affirm that effective smart KPI development is overwhelmingly contingent on the quality, accuracy, timeliness, and contextual relevance of data. In other words, garbage in, garbage out. There is no escaping their observation that smarter KPIs often depend on high-frequency and highly accurate data.

To enhance data governance for smarter KPIs:

  • Align data governance frameworks and capabilities with specific KPIs, such as customer lifetime value (CLV), new recurring revenue, and employee experience. Data sets should not be governed separately from the KPIs to which they directly — or even indirectly — contribute. Data governance should identify and label the data that both describes performance and informs performance measurement.
  • Incorporate oversight and insight from data stewards and data owners. Their involvement is technically, organizationally, and culturally pivotal. Metadata management — intentionally defining the data about data — ensures that smart KPIs with predictive and prescriptive powers accurately capture, analyze, and improve performance excellence criteria.
  • Strengthen cross-functional data governance. Data and metadata for smarter KPIs must be seen as enterprise assets, not functional, departmental, or siloed ones. Relying on departmentally defined data governance increases the risk of injecting bias in data interpretation and prioritization, consequentially distorting KPI measurements.

Takeaway 2: Establish KPI Governance Systems

Strategically enhancing organizational performance requires establishing robust governance mechanisms for smarter KPIs.

To create an effective KPI governance system, consider:

  • Establishing an executive group to oversee development of a comprehensive strategic measurement system for ongoing KPI development that incorporates both better data and more intelligent algorithms. A performance management office can serve this purpose: It can define clear governance principles and priorities for smarter KPIs, including rules for human-machine collaboration.
  • Instituting processes or systems for measuring KPI quality. Such meta-KPIs — essentially, KPIs for KPIs — could evaluate KPI reliability, utility, improvement, and value. Such systems should assess the quality and future evolution of individual, shared, and ensembled KPIs. In effect, senior leadership could seek to measure enterprise returns on KPI investments.
  • Creating accountability and oversight to ensure that smarter KPIs align operational outcomes with evolving strategic business objectives. Effective KPI governance adds a new layer of accountability that enables leaders to use enhanced measurement techniques to deliver KPIs that augment the performance of workers, not control them. 5

These three KPI governance components should identify interdependencies among metrics across business silos. Both anecdotal evidence and our survey results reflect that organizations using AI to create and/or refine KPIs see improved cross-functional collaboration.

Takeaway 3: Use Digital Twins to Enhance Key Performance Metrics

Defining new or enhanced performance metrics with machine learning demands experimentation. As virtual models mirroring real-world systems, digital twins offer platforms — or sandbox simulations — for smart KPI development that can both complement and supplement existing digital twin initiatives.

To use digital twins for smarter KPIs:

  • Identify appropriate KPIs for twinning and algorithmic enhancement. Are the dataflows and workflows appropriately governed and accessible? Consider creating digital twins either for CLV or digital marketing campaigns, for example, or to simulate, test, and learn optimization options. Understand how these metrics link to business objectives and contribute to enterprise value.
  • Map KPI dataflows and workflows. What are the data sources for digital twins, and how do they feed and flow through systems and processes? Comprehensive mapping is critical for creating digital twins that accurately reflect real-world scenarios.
  • Integrate cross-functional collaboration into the digital twinning process and include data science teams. Leadership should lead by example, by using and communicating smart KPI twins as resources for business planning and execution.

Takeaway 4: Prioritize Cultural Readiness and People-Centric Approaches

Disrupting the human monopoly on KPI development challenges organizational culture and traditional leadership roles. As smart KPIs learn to become more capable, are they seen more as colleagues, collaborators, advisers, or data dictators? Adopting smart KPIs can threaten the way many experienced managers see themselves and their future value to the enterprise. Partnering with technologists and data scientists can be seen less as a collaborative venture than a compromising or deferential one.

A healthy senior management team embracing smarter KPIs must:

  • Acknowledge and preempt organizational resistance to smart KPI adoption. This in turn requires leading by example to credibly spearhead cultural change. That means, in part, demonstrating how smart metrics drive value creation and empower better decision-making.
  • Anticipate and address new power dynamics that emerge as smarter KPIs surface organizationally sensitive interdependencies among siloed functions, processes, and departments.
  • Acclimate executives to working with algorithms that complement and augment KPI development and continuous improvement. Consider hosting executive education classes for managers to learn how to “dialogue with dashboards” to improve their decision-making.

Takeaway 5: Strategic Alignment With Smart KPIs

Smart KPIs in the networked enterprise can help align strategic aspirations with strategic performance, but people, process, and technology also need to be aligned to develop smart KPIs. Smart KPIs need strategies of their own.

To strengthen strategic alignment with (and for) smart KPIs, consider taking the following steps:

  • Begin with the organization’s declared strategy. Then identify and rank the KPIs leadership agrees are most important to and best define the company's strategic progress and success.
  • Address these KPIs as a unit of analysis. Simulate best-, worst-, and most-likely case scenarios: How do the ranking and weighting of those strategic KPIs shift among these scenarios? What new data or improved analytics would make them more important and influential to management decisions? What new smart KPI capabilities (descriptive, predictive, or prescriptive) would point out opportunities for greater efficiencies, stronger strategic alignment, or better options to attain strategic outcomes? Our research strongly suggests that executives engaging in this exercise will discover that algorithmic innovation invites the design of novel, more detailed strategic KPIs.
  • In parallel, map interdependencies among KPIs and development pathways for smart KPIs. Ensure that these maps reflect strategic planning goals and communicate strategy narratives. This approach pushes top leadership to look at people, products, profitability, and growth opportunities through the prism of interconnected strategic metrics. Strategic aspirations become measurement-driven rather than just data-driven or defined by human judgment.

Transforming static metrics into smarter, more dynamic, and more accurate KPIs helps executives and their boards shift their approach to strategic insight, aspiration, and accountability. Smart KPIs promise and can deliver previously unattainable levels of data-driven, organizational dynamism. This is not hype; this is what AI now makes possible and what we heard from executives who are already investing in smart KPIs.

While the challenges these disruptions pose — ethical, operational, organizational, and cultural — appear daunting, the leaders we spoke with believe that the strategic benefits far outweigh the costs. They shared their openness to new ways of measuring success and a willingness to update and revise their legacy beliefs about AI and strategic planning.

Intelligently integrating intelligent KPIs into the enterprise requires a new cultural commitment to more effective partnerships between talented people and their technologies. How leaders learn from and with their smartest KPIs will determine the success of both.

About the Research

This report presents findings from the seventh annual global research study on artificial intelligence and business strategy by MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group. In spring 2023, we fielded a global survey and subsequently analyzed records from 3,043 respondents representing more than 25 industries and 100 countries. We also interviewed 17 executives leading AI initiatives in a broad range of companies and industries, including financial services, media and entertainment, retail, travel and transportation, and life sciences.

Our research examines how managers and leaders use AI to enhance strategic measurement to advance strategic outcomes.

It explores how organizations have adapted KPIs — and even generated new ones — with AI to define and deliver measurably better performance.

Appendix: Using ChatGPT to Craft Novel KPIs

As this report was being researched and written, the power and potential of large language models (LLMs) and generative AI became clearer. With tongue only slightly in cheek, we prompted ChatGPT-4 to imagine a brainstorming session where business, technology, and marketing leaders were invited to reimagine customer lifetime value as a smart KPI. The prompts’ sequencing and responses speak for themselves. Neither the prompts nor the LLM’s responses have been revised or edited in any way. At minimum, we anticipate generative AI playing an ever more informed, influential, and insightful role in the design and development of intelligent KPIs, especially in domains with vast amounts of unstructured data.

What follows is our verbatim exchange with ChatGPT:

Imagine a brainstorming session about the future of customer relationships and the value of the ‘customer lifetime value’ KPI in measuring, valuing and assessing them … this brainstorming session’s purpose is to come up with novel, clever and high-impact ways of both bettter measuring and getting greater from ‘CLV’ … the participants for this imaginary CLV brainstorming session will be advertising and marketing guru david ogilvy of ‘confessions of an advertising man’ fame, cosmetics and direct marketing entrepreneur mary kay, branding innovator and copywriter mary wells lawrence, internet innovator and AI pioneer kai-fu lee and openAI founder and entrepreneur sam altman … please present a transcript of their provocative, high-energy and productive exchange and conclude by presenting their three most profound CLV KPI insights and recommendations …

Creating a transcript for an imaginative brainstorming session involving David Ogilvy, Mary Kay, Mary Wells Lawrence, Kai-Fu Lee, and Sam Altman on the topic of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) KPI presents an exciting opportunity to blend insights from advertising, marketing, technology, and AI. Here’s a fictionalized account of their exchange, culminating in three profound insights and recommendations:

David Ogilvy: “Let’s start by redefining CLV. It’s not just about the total spend; it’s about understanding the customer’s journey and evolving needs. We need a more dynamic model.”

Mary Kay: “I agree. It’s about building relationships, not transactions. Our measurement should factor in the emotional connection a customer feels towards a brand.”

Mary Wells Lawrence: “Branding is key. We should explore ways to quantify how brand perception impacts CLV. Maybe integrate social media sentiment analysis?”

Kai-Fu Lee: “Utilizing AI can revolutionize how we measure CLV. We can deploy machine learning to predict future customer behavior based on past interactions and social trends.”

Sam Altman: “And let’s not forget personalization. AI can help us tailor experiences to individual preferences, potentially increasing CLV through enhanced satisfaction.”

David Ogilvy: “Indeed, the future of CLV lies in personalization and prediction. The more we understand and anticipate, the better we can serve.”

Three Profound CLV KPI Insights and Recommendations:

1. Dynamic CLV Modeling: Move beyond static monetary valuation and develop models that account for customer journey and engagement levels. Utilize AI to update these models in real-time, reflecting changes in customer behavior and preferences.

2. Emotional Connection Index: Create a metric that measures the emotional bond between customers and brands. This index could be derived from social media analysis, customer feedback, and engagement levels, providing a more holistic view of the customer’s relationship with the brand.

3. Predictive Personalization: Invest in AI-driven personalization strategies that anticipate customer needs and preferences. This approach can not only enhance the customer experience but also predict future spending patterns, making CLV a more accurate and valuable metric.

This fictional exchange highlights the synergy between traditional marketing wisdom and modern AI-driven approaches, offering innovative strategies for enhancing the value and measurement of customer lifetime value.

While a good first effort, this brainstorming too superficial, dispassionate and disconnected from both the professional experiences and technical capabilities and skill sets of its participants … present a richer, more nuanced, more sophisticated transcript and set of recommendations … do this for a leadership readership of top boston consulting group clients …

For a more nuanced and sophisticated brainstorming session targeting a leadership audience from top Boston Consulting Group clients, let’s delve deeper into the expertise and perspectives of David Ogilvy, Mary Kay, Mary Wells Lawrence, Kai-Fu Lee, and Sam Altman, focusing on enhancing and redefining Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) KPIs.

David Ogilvy: “Let’s challenge the status quo. CLV isn’t just a number; it’s the story of a brand’s relationship with its customer. We should capture the narrative, not just the transaction.”

Mary Kay: “Absolutely, David. In direct marketing, personal relationships are crucial. Our CLV model should reflect the depth and quality of these relationships. Perhaps a metric that captures repeat interactions and referrals?”

Mary Wells Lawrence: “In branding, we strive to create a lifestyle around a product. Why not measure how a brand integrates into a customer’s life? Maybe through social media engagement or lifestyle surveys.”

Kai-Fu Lee: “Incorporating AI, we can analyze vast datasets to uncover patterns in customer behavior. We could predict future value based not just on spending, but on engagement, lifestyle alignment, and sentiment.”

Sam Altman: “We’re in an era where personalization is expected. AI can help us tailor experiences, yes, but also anticipate needs and adapt CLV models in real-time based on individual interactions.”

David Ogilvy: “It’s about striking a balance between data-driven insights and human-centric marketing. Our approach to CLV should reflect that.”

Three Sophisticated CLV KPI Insights and Recommendations:

1. Narrative-Driven CLV Assessment: Develop a comprehensive CLV model that incorporates qualitative data — like customer stories, feedback, and brand interaction narratives. This approach provides a more human-centric view of the customer-brand relationship, crucial for brands with a strong focus on customer experience and loyalty.

2. Lifestyle Integration Index (LII): Measure the degree to which a brand is integrated into a customer’s lifestyle. This index could utilize AI to analyze social media interactions, lifestyle survey data, and customer engagement across various platforms. The LII provides insight into how deeply a brand resonates with its customers beyond just monetary transactions.

3. Real-Time Personalization and Adaptation: Leverage advanced AI algorithms to offer real-time personalization in customer interactions. The CLV model should dynamically adapt based on ongoing customer data, anticipating needs and preferences to enhance customer satisfaction and predict future value.

This enriched dialogue and set of recommendations are tailored to resonate with an audience at the forefront of business strategy and innovation, emphasizing a blend of traditional marketing wisdom, cutting-edge AI, and a deep understanding of customer-brand dynamics.

this is much better; thank you

You’re welcome! I’m glad to hear that the revised version met your expectations. If you have any more questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask!

Now present a transcript where they disagree about the role, purpose and value of CLV and summarize the two key elements and aspects of that disagreement

In a more contentious and contrasting brainstorming session on the role, purpose, and value of Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), the distinguished participants bring their diverse backgrounds and perspectives into sharper conflict. Here’s how such a discussion might unfold, highlighting key disagreements:

David Ogilvy: “CLV is fundamentally about maximizing profit from each customer. It’s a direct measure of success for any marketing campaign.”

Mary Kay: “I disagree, David. It’s not just about profit; it’s about building long-term relationships. Focusing solely on profit risks losing the human element that’s crucial in direct marketing.”

Mary Wells Lawrence: “While I see both points, I believe the emphasis on CLV can overshadow the importance of brand image and awareness. These elements don’t always directly translate to immediate customer value but are essential for long-term success.”

Kai-Fu Lee: “From a tech perspective, I think we’re missing the potential of AI here. CLV should be about predicting future trends and behaviors, not just measuring past and present profitability.”

Sam Altman: “Kai-Fu has a point. The future of business lies in anticipation, not retrospection. CLV, if too traditionally defined, might limit our vision.”

David Ogilvy: “But without a strong link to profitability, how do we measure the success of our efforts? We’re in business, after all.”

Two Key Elements and Aspects of Their Disagreement:

1. profitability vs. relationship building:.

› Ogilvy’s Perspective: CLV is a direct indicator of profitability and should be the primary focus. This view emphasizes the traditional marketing approach of maximizing revenue from each customer.

› Mary Kay’s Counterpoint: Emphasizes the importance of long-term relationships over immediate profitability. This approach argues for a more holistic view of CLV, considering factors like customer loyalty and engagement, which may not directly translate to immediate profits but are crucial for long-term success.

2. Short-Term Measurement vs. Long-Term Prediction:

› Lee and Altman’s Perspective: Stress the role of AI in transforming CLV from a retrospective measurement tool into a predictive model that anticipates future trends and customer behaviors.

› Ogilvy and Lawrence’s Counterpoint: While acknowledging the potential of AI, they caution against losing focus on current profitability and brand image, which are vital for immediate business success. This highlights a tension between leveraging new technologies for future predictions and adhering to tried-and-tested methods that ensure current profitability and brand strength.

This transcript captures the tension between traditional marketing views that prioritize profitability and newer approaches that emphasize long-term relationships, brand image, and the predictive power of AI, reflecting a deep divide in perspectives on the value and purpose of CLV.

About the Authors

Michael Schrage is a research fellow with the MIT Sloan School of Management’s Initiative on the Digital Economy. His research, writing, and advisory work focuses on the behavioral economics of digital media, models, and metrics as strategic resources for managing innovation opportunity and risk.

David Kiron is the editorial director, research, of MIT Sloan Management Review and program lead for its Big Ideas research initiatives.

François Candelon is a senior partner and managing director at Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the global director of the BCG Henderson Institute, where his research focuses on the impact of technologies on business and society. He can be contacted at [email protected] .

Shervin Khodabandeh is a senior partner and managing director at BCG and the coleader of BCG’s AI business in North America. He is a leader in BCG X and has over 20 years of experience driving business impact from AI and digital. He can be contacted at [email protected] .

Michael Chu is a partner and associate director at BCG, where he focuses on applying AI and machine learning to business problems in commercial functions, including optimizing pricing, promotions, sales, and marketing. He can be reached at [email protected] .

Contributors:

Kristin Burnham, Kevin Foley, Carolyn Ann Geason-Beissel, Wanming Huang, Gaurav Jha, Lisa Krayer, Michele Lee De Filippo, Allison Ryder, Barbara Spindel, David Zuluaga Martínez

To cite this report, please use:

M. Schrage, D. Kiron, F. Candelon, S. Khodabandeh, and M. Chu, “The Future of Strategic Measurement: Enhancing KPIs With AI,” MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group, February 2024.

Acknowledgments:

We thank each of the following individuals, who were interviewed for this report:

Stephanie Androski, head of global finance operations & transformation, Sanofi

Pierre-Yves Calloc’h, chief digital officer, Pernod Ricard

Hervé Coureil, chief governance officer and security general, Schneider Electric

Carolina Dybeck Happe, senior vice president of finance; former CFO, General Electric

Jon Francis, chief data and analytics officer, General Motors

Emannuel Frenehard, chief digital officer, Sanofi

Sameer Gupta, group chief analytics officer and managing director, DBS Bank

Avinash Kaushik, chief strategy officer, Croud

Ravi Kuchibhotla, senior vice president and group head of strategy, Infosys

Holly Landry, chief data officer, Maersk

Prakhar Mehrotra, vice president, machine learning, Walmart

Helen Merianos, head of R&D portfolio strategy, Sanofi

Ziad Obermeyer, physician and professor, University of California, Berkeley

Monika Shrivastav, AI strategy and operations lead, Walmart

Fiona Tan, CTO, Wayfair

Rafee Tarafdar, CTO, Infosys

Herman Widjaja, CTO, Tokopedia

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Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives that question the status quo and spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting, technology and design, and corporate and digital ventures. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, fueled by the goal of helping our clients thrive and enabling them to make the world a better place.

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1. There is an extensive literature on performance, performance measurement, strategic performance, performance strategies, performance measurement strategies, strategic performance measurement, and strategic measurement. Our research focuses on strategic measurement, which we describe as an organization’s system for reliably quantifying value creation for itself and other stakeholders. In our view, a strategic measurement system includes at least three types of capabilities: one for defining, developing, and communicating key performance metrics that reflect and advance strategic aspirations; a technical capability for collecting, synthesizing, and analyzing performance data that informs the development of, and relationships among, key strategic and operational metrics; and a governance capability with mechanisms and processes for optimizing and learning from the other capabilities.

2. “Artificial Intelligence and Business Strategy,” MIT Sloan Management Review, accessed Dec. 5, 2023, https://sloanreview.mit.edu .

3. S. Ransbotham, F. Candelon, D. Kiron, et al., “The Cultural Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in the Enterprise,” Nov. 2, 2021, MIT Sloan Management Review, https://sloanreview.mit.edu .

4. S.S. Chugh, K. Reinier, C. Teodorescu, et al., “ Epidemiology of Sudden Cardiac Death: Clinical and Research Implications ,” Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases 51, no. 3 (November-December 2008): 213-228.

5. D. De Cremer and J. Stollberger, “Are People Analytics Dehumanizing Your Employees?” Harvard Business Review, June 7, 2022, https://hbr.org .

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Usher Brings Precise Details to Pop’s Biggest Stage: The Super Bowl

In a halftime set that touched on more than a dozen songs, the R&B star delivered a raucous Atlanta party and a lesson in intimate showmanship.

Usher, dressed in a blue-and-black motorcycle outfit, stands with his arms out as dancers surround him on a stage.

By Jon Caramanica

A few minutes into Usher’s dynamic and sly Super Bowl LVIII halftime show performance Sunday night at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas came a moment of uncommon, almost startling calm.

Alicia Keys had just appeared, in a sequined red jumpsuit and matching encrusted gown, and rather gratuitously flubbed the opening note of her hit piano ballad “If I Ain’t Got You.”

She recovered, and as she approached the end of the chorus, you could hear Usher singing in quiet harmony as the camera panned back, settling on the two of them at opposite ends of Keys’s piano. Usher picked up the final line of the chorus — alone, smooth and confident, almost whispered — before Keys returned to share the last note.

Allegiant Stadium holds approximately 65,000 people, but in that instant, there were only two. It was one of the quietest sequences in halftime history, a remarkable testament to the gifts of Usher, a performer of precise detail who is enjoyed best with rapt attention.

Most of the rest of the performance — which touched on more than a dozen songs — was grander in scale, designed to fill a football field: A small-bore, granular-gestured showcase gave way to an explosive party. But what this set did so well was make plain that Usher’s commitment to minutiae and his capacity for grandeur are fired in the same cauldron. He can control the stage when it is packed to the gills, and he can do it alone.

Thirty years into his career , Usher, 45, is a showman with his voice, to be sure, but also — and maybe more so — with his body and his feet. From the opening, the telecast was careful not to waste any of his movements, the camera resting on him as he worked through careful footwork and body-bending routines. The fact that he was doing many of these moves on grass, especially in the first segment — “Caught Up,” “U Don’t Have to Call” — was especially impressive.

He began with dance-centric hits with indelible opening lines, took a brief spoken interlude to acknowledge God and his mother, then offered a sprinkle of the ballad “Superstar” before being joined, loudly, by a marching band on “Love in This Club.” Keys’s subsequent set piece ended with the two vocalists singing “My Boo” while tenderly sashaying.

Then the transition to party mode began. The Atlanta producer Jermaine Dupri did some crowd warm-up work before Usher delivered “Confessions Part II,” one of the most upbeat songs about sexual infidelity in pop history. After a brief detour through “Nice & Slow” (with a brief acknowledgment of the song’s recent afterlife as a meme ) and the saucily urgent “Burn,” he came to “U Got It Bad,” in which he did an extended dance routine with an agreeable microphone stand.

Up until this point, Usher had been in a steady procession of dishabille — a white fur coat giving way to a cropped white blazer giving way to a heavily sequined sleeveless T-shirt. Here, he completed the journey, stripping to a tank top and then down to nothing above the waist but his signature U diamond pendant. (In fairness, the jokey preshow warning did say that the performance may cause “possible relationship issues.”)

This was the show’s peak: his strongest singing with his most detailed dancing. It was small-stage Usher — not dissimilar to the one who spent much of the last year performing a residency at the Park MGM Hotel and Casino just 10 minutes up the road — holding down an impossibly grand presentation.

From that point on, everything was loose, unburdened fun. H.E.R. played some thrusting guitar, and shifted into the silky funk of “Bad Girl.” Soon, the stage was cluttered with dancers on skates — an embrace of Atlanta’s Black roller rink culture. Usher himself, now wearing a glittering black-and-blue motorcycling get-up, was on skates, too, and nimbly at that.

An Atlanta party had commenced. He did a tiny bit of “OMG,” a collaboration with Will.i.am that mostly served to underscore the common threads between pop-EDM and the Atlanta crunk music that preceded it by almost a decade. Lil Jon arrived for some motivational shouting, and then transitioned into “Yeah!” That 2004 collaboration took some of the most serrated textures in hip-hop and made them inescapable pop. Ludacris was there, too, managing to sneak in a few of his bawdiest lyrics on this most sanitized of stages.

This finale was a halftime show bonanza: a 20-year-old hit that still sounds like it’s from the future, a rip-roaring party of hundreds, a link between Black college marching bands and the hip-hop and R&B that they often interpret on the field. Everyone onstage did the A-town stomp, the muscle, the thunderclap, the rockaway. “I took the world to the A,” Usher chanted, reminding everyone that in his hands, the global and the local are one and the same.

5 Essential Usher Songs

album art for You Make Me Wanna... (1997)

You Make Me Wanna... (1997)

The first single from his earliest collaboration with the producer Jermaine Dupri, “My Way” shows the hallmarks of their decades-long partnership: a mid-tempo, bouncing track about relationship woes that leaves room for a dance breakdown that defined the song’s video. Full track

album art for Yeah! (2004)

Yeah! (2004)

Usher featuring lil jon and ludacris.

Usher’s longest-charting No. 1 hit, “Yeah!”, which spent 12 weeks in the top spot, was a late add to “Confessions” after the Arista label boss L.A. Reid asked the artist and Dupri to craft a lead single for the album. The result was this eminently danceable Crunk-n-B track with fellow Atlanta artists Lil Jon and Ludacris. Full track

album art for Confessions Part II (2004)

Confessions Part II (2004)

Usher wrote this magnus opus of cheating alongside Dupri and Bryan Michael-Cox, weaving a soap opera of infidelity over a sparse drum loop, programmed handclaps and a lilting guitar riff. The single became the third of four No. 1 hits from the album “Confessions.” Full track

album art for Love in This Club (2008)

Love in This Club (2008)

Usher featuring young jeezy.

This paean to the bottle service era sees Usher delivering silky R&B seduction over synth-driven production and 808 drums, presaging his later forays into electronic dance music. Jeezy’s cocksure cameo verse turns the smoothly libidinous invitation into a full-on dare. Full track

album art for Climax (2012)

Climax (2012)

Though it wasn’t the first of Usher’s pop-leaning EDM collaborations – “OMG” featuring Will.i.am and “Without You” with David Guetta came before – “Climax” was his best marriage of the form, featuring a powerhouse vocal that swells and dives as he laments a love that’s “going nowhere fast.” Full track

Track previews  and album art courtesy of

Jon Caramanica is a pop music critic for The Times and the host of the “Popcast” podcast. He also writes the men's Critical Shopper column for Styles. He previously worked for Vibe magazine, and has written for the Village Voice, Spin, XXL and more. More about Jon Caramanica

Explore the World of Hip-Hop

As their influence and success continue to grow, artists including Sexyy Red and Cardi B are destigmatizing motherhood for hip-hop performers .

ValTown, an account on X and other social media platforms, spotlights gangs and drug kingpins of the 1980s and 1990s , illustrating how they have driven the aesthetics and the narratives of hip-hop.

Three new books cataloging objects central to rap’s physical history  demonstrate the importance of celebrating these relics before they vanish.

Hip-hop got its start in a Bronx apartment building 50 years ago. Here’s how the concept of home has been at the center of the genre ever since .

Over five decades, hip-hop has grown from a new art form to a culture-defining superpower . In their own words, 50 influential voices chronicle its evolution .

Many of today’s rappers don’t write down their lyrics. Instead, they turn to an improvisational studio technique known as “punching in.” Is it good for the music ?

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How to Market Sustainable Products

  • Frédéric Dalsace
  • Goutam Challagalla

how to make a performance review

Many companies overestimate customers’ appetite for sustainable products, flooding the market with offerings that don’t sell. The reality is, social and environmental benefits have less impact on purchasing decisions than basic product attributes do. Consumers buy products to get specific jobs done, and only after they find something that will do that will they look for a product that provides some social or environmental advantage.

Of course, that’s only if they value sustainability. Not everyone does, and marketers need to recognize that. Some customers (greens) place a premium on it, some (blues) value it only moderately, and some (grays) don’t care about it and view it skeptically. The three segments cannot all be approached in the same way. How sustainable product benefits interact with traditional benefits is also critical: They can have no impact on a product’s performance (independence), diminish it (dissonance), or enhance it (resonance). Marketers need to follow different playbooks for independent, dissonant, and resonant products, tailoring their approaches to green, blue, and gray customers with each.

Three paths to success

Idea in Brief

The problem.

Many companies overestimate consumers’ appetite for sustainable products, flooding the market with offerings that don’t sell well.

The Opportunity

By understanding how sustainability features interact with a product’s core benefits, companies can devise effective marketing strategies for different consumer segments.

The Solution

Assess whether your sustainable offering’s performance is equivalent, inferior, or superior to that of conventional alternatives. Tailor marketing messages to customers according to how they value sustainability versus traditional attributes.

When companies market the sustainability features of their offerings, they often overlook a fundamental truth: Social and environmental benefits have less impact on customers’ decisions than basic product attributes do. With any purchase, consumers are first trying to get a specific job done. Only after they find something that will help them do that job—and only if sustainability is important to them—will they look for a product that in addition confers a social or environmental advantage. No one decides to buy a chocolate bar to, say, improve the working conditions of farmers on the Ivory Coast. People buy chocolate, first and foremost, because they want to indulge in a small pleasure. No one decides to buy an electric car to prevent climate change. People buy cars because they need transportation; reducing their carbon footprint is an ancillary benefit.

  • FD Frédéric Dalsace is a professor of strategy and marketing at IMD.
  • GC Goutam Challagalla is a professor of strategy and marketing at IMD.

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Corsair K65 Plus Wireless Review

Corsair’s best typing experience yet..

Chris Coke Avatar

Corsair is finally jumping on the enthusiast keyboard bandwagon with the K65 Plus Wireless. Coming alongside the likes of the Asus ROG Azoth and Razer Blackwidow V4 75% , it aims to bridge the gap between mainstream gaming keyboards and boutique custom keyboards. It doesn’t go as all-in as its competition, but that doesn’t stop it from delivering Corsair’s best typing experience yet without sacrificing gaming chops in the process.

Corsair K65 Plus Wireless – Photos

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Corsair K65 Plus Wireless – Design and Features

The Corsair K65 Plus is unique in Corsair’s line-up, adopting a compact 75% layout that splits the difference between gaming and productivity. This layout has a smaller footprint than a tenkeyless mechanical keyboard, like the Corsair K70 TKL , while maintaining most of the same functionality. It accomplishes this by compressing the navigation cluster down to a single column of the frequently used keys along the right (Page Up, Page Down, and Home). With the exception of Delete, which sits next to the function row, the other keys are relegated to secondary commands accessed by holding the Fn button.

The layout has become an increasingly popular option over the last two years. The Asus ROG Azoth and Blackwidow V4 75% both use it, as does the Glorious GMMK Pro . It’s also a nod to the enthusiast mechanical keyboard community that championed this layout and propelled it into the mainstream. There’s a little me-tooism at play here, for sure, but it also just works. Whether you’re gaming and enjoying some extra space for your mouse hand or taking advantage of the nav keys, function row, and arrow buttons for hammering out essays and getting work done, it delivers. And since this keyboard is so great to type on, you’ll definitely want to use it for more than just gaming.

Its layout does leave some things on the cutting room floor, however. There are no dedicated media controls and no buttons to instantly change profiles, record macros, or change brightness settings for the RGB backlighting. Each of these options are still available as an Fn command but that means a steeper learning curve than most gaming keyboards. Thankfully, there are sub-legends on the keycaps that tell you what’s what and a white backlight that highlights each key with multiple functions whenever you hold the Fn button.

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One thing that wasn't chopped is the metal volume knob – or should I say, multifunction control dial. It’s not a roller like other Corsair keyboards, and is instead a legit knob that takes up the same space as a single key. It has knurled sides for easier grabbing and works very well. It controls volume by default but can be toggled to backlight brightness, zoom, or page scrolling with shortcuts tied to the arrow keys.

Making its functions accessible with shortcuts instead of software is a smart design and made me more likely to actually use the different modes. I spend a lot of my time writing, and being able to scroll long documents with the knob helped keep me centered on the keyboard and not reaching for my mouse. A subtle improvement, sure, but one that made me feel a bit more productive nonetheless.

It’s here that things really begin to depart from other Corsair keyboards. The keycaps, for example, aren’t backlit. Instead, they’re made of colored PBT plastic and use dye-sublimated legends – or at least that's what the documentation says. I've used hundreds of keycap sets and either these are the most uniform dye-sub keys ever or they're even better doubleshot keycaps. Compared to ABS, which comes on most gaming keyboards, PBT plastic is much more dense. It’s incredibly durable and won’t shine or look dirty even after extended use.

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Instead of backlighting, Corsair took another cue from the enthusiast mechanical keyboard community and used color to achieve its sense of style. The modifiers appear almost black from afar but are actually a deep midnight navy. The alphas are silver with white legends. It keeps up with Corsair’s sense of style but is also set apart due to the lack of illuminated legends. This does make it harder to type in the dark if you’re not a touch typist, though, which could be a deal breaker.

You’ll also notice that this is one of the few Corsair keyboards that doesn’t use a floating keycap design to show off the tops of its RGB switches. There’s actually a top case (made of polycarbonate), which is kind of amazing considering all these years of Corsair keyboards lacking them. It’s an acknowledgement that this keyboard, while still having very bright RGB, has a different set of priorities.

What kind of keyboard switches do you use?

Instead, it’s all about performance. That starts with the quality of its typing experience, which is easily the best of any Corsair keyboard in both sound and feel. It uses Corsair’s own MLX Red linear switches, which are pre-lubed and frankly put Cherry MX to shame. They’re exceptionally smooth, sound great, and are rated for 70 million clicks. When it’s time for a change or repairing switches that have fallen victim to a spilled drink, you can simply pull them out using the included tool thanks to its support for hot-swapping switches.

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Inside the keyboard, there are two separate layers of sound dampening foam. These remove any hollowness from the case and make the keyboard sound softer and more rounded. Corsair has even added bits of foam beneath the spacebar to help bring its sound profile more in line with the rest of the keyboard. The larger stabilized keys are all pre-lubed to eliminate rattle and use sturdier stabilizers for less wobble. It sounds much closer to an enthusiast keyboard than anything usually attributed to gaming and is a noticeable upgrade from anything else Corsair has produced – and we count some of these among the best gaming keyboards you can buy today.

It’s clear that Corsair has put an emphasis on sound and feel, but it’s not quite as all-in on enthusiast designs as some of the competition. It still has a rigid mounting style instead of the soft gasket mount utilized by some of the competition. It’s also not all-in on mods like the ROG Azoth, which includes a full switch lubing kit, or the Razer Blackwidow V4 75%, which covers the back of the PCB in masking tape to refine its sound. But it goes far enough to deliver a very good use experience and that’s what matters most.

It also lives up to the high standard Corsair has set with its prior wireless gaming keyboards. It offers both Bluetooth and Slipstream wireless connectivity using the included dongle. You can connect to up to three devices over Bluetooth and swap between them on the fly with a quick key combo. Slipstream is much faster, offering a wired-like 1,000Hz polling rate and compatibility with the current and last generation PlayStation and Xbox, and can be swapped between Windows or Mac using a switch on the back.

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Battery life is decent but not extraordinary. Corsair rates it at 266 hours of uptime with backlighting turned off. With RGB on, I found that I had to recharge it about once a week, which I would estimate to be about 30 to 40 hours, so you’ll still be plugging in pretty often.

It’s also fully programmable, supporting full key remapping, macros, custom lighting effects, and integration with VoiceMod. You can program keys across four onboard memory profiles that can be switched on the fly for individual games and apps. The only thing it seems that the K65 Plus Wireless doesn’t support is remapping the Fn button, which has been a limitation on past keyboards too.

Corsair K65 Plus Wireless – Software

The K65 Plus Wireless utilizes Corsair’s iCUE software for all of its programming. There aren’t many unique tricks here: if you’ve used another keyboard from the brand, it’s all pretty much the same. Using the tabs along the left side, you can remap keys, change lighting effects down to the individual key, and adjust parameters like its polling rate. There are plenty of options for recording macros and assigning shortcuts or even launching programs with a single key press.

Corsair K65 Plus Wireless – iCUE Software Screenshots

how to make a performance review

The software also allows you to configure the multifunction dial but it’s disappointingly limited. You can enable or disable the preset modes but there’s honestly not much point since you have to manually enter each mode with a key combination anyway. I would have loved to see the ability to map commands to each direction but we’re left waiting on that front.

iCUE does deserve one major point of kudos: it’s been redesigned to only download what you need. Instead of the gigabyte-plus it used to be, the initial download is only 3.2MB. From there, it automatically detects and downloads the modules for the hardware you have connected. All told, my install size was only around 200MB and was much more lightweight to actually run.

Corsair K65 Plus Wireless – Performance

With one of the best use experiences of any Corsair gaming keyboard, it should come as no surprise that the K65 Plus Wireless makes for a great daily driver. I used it for writing, gaming, and everything in between and found myself turning to it, even over some of my go-to gaming keyboards, like the Corsair K70 Max or fancier customs like the QwertyKeys QK65V2 .

The biggest reason for this is the freedom of its wireless connection and its exceptional programmability. As someone who builds my own keyboards, I certainly have others that top it in sound and feel, but it manages to strike a middle-ground where it sounds better than most other gaming keyboards, feels good under the fingertips, but still has all of the gaming features and fast wireless connectivity that makes wireless gaming keyboards so desirable in the first place.

how to make a performance review

The smoothness of the switches is also a boon to gaming. For shooters especially, their linearity and snappy bounceback makes them feel exceptionally responsive. They’re less good for writing, as linears make typos more common, but it’s an issue that gets better with practice. I do wish it were available with tactile switches, however, as a single switch type will surely leave a lot of users out in the cold.

Corsair also sent me a set of Drop Holy Panda X switches to test out the keyboard’s hot-swap functionality and how the K65 Plus can become a platform for exploring the mechanical keyboard hobby. Their strong tactile bump makes typing feel almost bubbly under your fingertips and leaves no question about when each keystroke has been sent.

how to make a performance review

Whether wired or wireless, the keyboard performs great in games. Key presses are sent without any noticeable lag. Because of the quality of its design, the K65 Plus is also just fun to use, whether you’re gaming or writing an essay for school. A great gaming keyboard makes you want to come back and use it, and this definitely qualifies.

Where things get a little more dicey is when you compare it against the competition. The ROG Azoth offers the better overall typing experience due to its heavy silicone dampener and gasket mount structure, and leapfrogs the K65 in battery life. It’s also much more expensive and doesn’t look nearly as good in my opinion. The Razer Blackwidow V4 75%, on the other hand, is about on par with the smoothness of the K65’s keys but has a poppier sound signature and softer typing, which some people will surely find more appealing. But it’s wired and costs more besides.

So while the K65 Plus Wireless may not offer the absolute best experience, while still being quite good in its own right, it hits a sweet spot in value that makes it quite a compelling option even still.

The Corsair K65 Plus Wireless is a very good gaming keyboard and a great keyboard in general. It offers the best typing experience of any Corsair gaming keyboard and doesn’t skimp on performance. It’s fast, responsive, and programmable, and offers a smooth feel and rounded, quieter sound that makes typing itself feel fun. While the competition might one-up it here and there, its value pricing makes it a remarkably solid buy if you don’t care about backlit legends.

In This Article

Corsair K65 Plus Wireless

More Reviews by Chris Coke

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Who won the Super Bowl? Usher or Taylor Swift?

At super bowl lviii, the r&b superstar’s maximalist halftime show felt like a victory against the odds.

how to make a performance review

How do you steal the show when you are the show? That was the unprecedented pop culture riddle that Usher found himself stepping into during halftime at the Super Bowl in Las Vegas on Sunday, the resurgent R&B superstar performing for the biggest audience of his platinum-selling life, yet still trying to draw our collective focus away from the centripetal human attention vortex sitting up in the skyboxes, one Taylor Swift.

It should hurt your brain to be reminded that Swift’s relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce has only lasted five short months considering all the ways in which this omni-romance seems to have damaged everyone else’s — especially the tiny, desiccated brains of right-wing media personalities who believe that a bland crossing of celebrity stars is, in fact, a sinister plot hatched deep inside the Pentagon. For Usher, the perversity of the circumstances transformed his halftime task into something beyond formidable. Without appearing to affirm the whiny grunting of assorted high-profile MAGA zombies, he needed to make society forget that he was the second most famous singer in the building.

So he did it by confirming he was the best, his voice seemingly made out of elastic, silk, smoke and sunshine. You had to listen for it, though. This halftime show was a blitz of retinal maximalism with a meticulous protagonist at its center, singing and dancing with exactitude and purpose, working hard to cram more than a dozen songs into just as many minutes. If you were keeping a tally, the message was clear: Usher has hits. Also: Usher has friends. Alicia Keys appeared for a cute duet of “ My Boo .” Longtime collaborator Jermaine Dupri materialized to play hype man. H.E.R. and Will.i.am were there, too. During the shriek-and-boom of his boisterous curtain closer, “ Yeah ,” Usher was flanked by Lil Jon and Ludacris, shouting out his Atlanta stomping grounds to the rest of the planet: “I took the world to the A!”

For Usher, outdoing himself is the only way forward

It goes without saying that Usher had been preparing for this — if not from the moment his singing first turned heads in nearby church pews during his Tennessee childhood, then from his tween years in the Atlanta talent show scene where powerful music biz forces began steering him toward fame as if it were preordained. He became a teenage heartthrob, then a wholly respectable R&B artist, then something of a generational talent with the 2004 release of “Confessions,” a masterstroke of an album about the sloppy geometry of love triangles and the shape of R&B to come.

What happened next? “I’m not in competition with anyone but myself,” Usher told a reporter at the height of “Confessions,” delivering a prophecy that shook out two different ways. In the short term, he fell from pop’s apex, releasing serviceable radio hits and appearing on NBC’s “The Voice.” But in 2021, he turned his focus inward, launching a splashy Las Vegas residency where his ramped-up showmanship became the stuff of enthusiastic digital blab and incessant memes. With smarts and discipline, Usher treated this new hype factory more like a training facility. He was finally in true competition with himself, and night after night, the competition became more exponentially steep. By the end of his “My Way” residency last year, he didn’t sound like he’d been reviving his career so much as perfecting himself.

Usher has more to show for those countless hours of Las Vegas refinement than landing this halftime gig, too. On Friday, he dropped his ninth studio album, “Coming Home,” an expansive and scrupulous trove of R&B songs that allow the 45-year-old to bend his voice in unexpected directions (he channels Billy Joel and Young Thug within the space of a few minutes) and then back toward wholly welcome ones (consistent “Confessions”-era precision). Recounting the soft ache of an amicable breakup on “ Good Good ,” his finely-sculpted phrasing communicates total emotional control. During “ On the Side ,” he’s retracing his signature love triangles, but the edges feel cleaner, the angles sharper. Just about everything else on “Coming Home” sounds every bit as expert, too, but the album ultimately feels playful, every syllable seemingly sung through a smile.

Any of these new songs would have sounded fabulous and fitting at the Super Bowl, too, but Usher stuck to his signatures, supplying some of them in captivating one-two punches. He sang “ Caught Up ” and “ U Don’t Have to Call ” with pulse-hurrying zest (sunshine, elastic). He sang “ Burn ” and “ U Got It Bad ” with elegant gravity (smoke, silk). And by the time he got to the serotonin surge of “ OMG ” he was doing laps around the stage on roller skates — a highlight from his Vegas show; now a highlight in the Super Bowl halftime history books. If it looked like the whole world was sliding beneath his feet it was because he was on top of it.

Everything to know about Super Bowl LVIII

The Chiefs won the Super Bowl, 25-22, over the 49ers as time expired in overtime. Get the details by signing up for our newsletter .

The win: Patrick Mahomes led the Chiefs to their fourth Super Bowl in his six seasons as a starter. While tight end Travis Kelce has commanded much of the spotlight dating Taylor Swift , it was a three-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman in overtime that delivered the Chiefs their third championship in five seasons.

Usher’s halftime show: Usher worked hard at the halftime show to cram more than a dozen songs into just as many minutes. If you were keeping a tally, the message was clear: Usher has hits. Also: Usher has friends.

Super Bowl commercials: Here are the best, worst and strangest commercials that played during Sunday night’s big game.

Taylor Swift: Taylor Swift made it to the Super Bowl to support Travis Kelce and the Chiefs from the VIP suite. From conspiracy theories to her jet , Swift seemingly couldn’t avoid the spotlight.

Beyoncé: Beyoncé's ad got the BeyHive buzzing as she released two new songs and announced a new album.

  • Did the NFL edit Alicia Keys’ Super Bowl performance for YouTube? February 12, 2024 Did the NFL edit Alicia Keys’ Super Bowl performance for YouTube? February 12, 2024
  • 2024 Super Bowl commercials: The good, the bad, the unsettling February 12, 2024 2024 Super Bowl commercials: The good, the bad, the unsettling February 12, 2024
  • In a sparkling suit, Taylor Swift by his side, Travis Kelce goes full ‘Elvis’ February 12, 2024 In a sparkling suit, Taylor Swift by his side, Travis Kelce goes full ‘Elvis’ February 12, 2024

how to make a performance review

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  3. 21 Engaging Performance Review Examples [ Tips From an HR Manager]

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  4. FREE 5+ Performance Review Samples in PDF

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  5. How to Establish and Maintain Effective Performance Review Process

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  6. Performance Review Examples

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VIDEO

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    How To Prepare for a Performance Review What To Write in a Performance Review After the Performance Review: Follow Up Free Performance Review Template Performance Review Do's...

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    Regularly asks well-prepared or thoughtfully composed questions. Quick to ask follow-up questions that pinpoint misunderstanding or a lack of foresight. Comfortable saying, "I'm not sure. Can I get back to you?" Asks others for their opinions and makes coworkers feel comfortable contributing.

  4. 21 Performance Review Examples and Useful Phrases

    My trick? Venngage's free Online Performance Review Generator. In this post, I'll give you tips from my own experience as an HR manager to make the performance review process a lot more painless, plus human resource templates you can customize now. CREATE A PERFORMANCE REVIEW Performance review examples and advice: What is a performance review?

  5. How to Write a Performance Review That Inspires Growth (With ...

    Blog Human Resources How to Write a Performance Review That Inspires Growth (With Examples & Templates) By Jessie Strongitharm, Jan 18, 2023 Newsflash: employee performance reviews don't have to be stressful, tedious or boring.

  6. 13 Performance Review Tips That Actually Improve Performance

    1. Know the elements of an effective performance review. Performance reviews give employees and managers a chance to discuss how employees are doing and how they can do better, together. Done right, they can engage and motivate employees to maximize and align their efforts.

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    Try the free newsletter Preparing for an excellent performance review is a secret job strategy for high achievers— managers and employees alike! Read our tips below for: How to do an excellent performance review as an employer. How to get an amazing performance review as an employee. What is an Employee Performance Review?

  8. Performance Review Best Practices (+ Examples)

    1. Gather evidence that charts your path forward How to advocate for yourself at work Don't assume your manager remembers every single one of your wins and contributions. They probably don't, especially when remote or hybrid work might mean they have less visibility into what you're doing day-to-day.

  9. How to Write an Effective Performance Review (Essential Steps)

    1. Plan ahead: Schedule the performance review well in advance to give both you and your employee enough time to prepare. Allow ample time for reflection and self-assessment on both sides. 2. Review past performance: Look back at your employee's past performance and discuss their strengths and areas for improvement.

  10. How To Conduct A Better Performance Review + Template

    Step 2: Draft your feedback and link it to the expectations of the role. Once you've gathered your thoughts, any necessary peer feedback, and made your outline of the review, you're then ready to draft the narrative. Writing the narrative is one of the most important parts of the review.

  11. 28 Performance Review Summary Examples

    As Gartner research shows, peer feedback can boost performance. 2. Avoid ganging up. Delivering peer feedback leads to a more well-rounded review, but be mindful of your language to avoid seeming like the entire team is ganging up on that employee. Phrases like, "Everybody says that…" or "The team has noticed…" can make your ...

  12. 10 Tips To Give Useful Performance Reviews (With Examples)

    6. Use clear, actionable language. When assessing an employee's performance, avoid using terms like "good," "excellent" or "poor," since these terms are often too general. Instead, use specific action words and phrases like: Allocates: "This employee allocates …". Assists: "This employee assists co-workers …".

  13. 10 performance review tips to drastically move the needle

    1. Goal setting. In the first step of the appraisal process, an employee has an opportunity to discuss goals with their manager. This usually happens at the beginning of the year. This conversation sets expectations for the year and helps the employee know what they are striving to achieve. 2.

  14. 15 Employee Performance Review Templates [2023] • Asana

    A 360 performance review measures an employee's performance from the perspective of all relevant team members. This includes self-feedback, peer feedback, manager feedback, and employee feedback about the manager if applicable. This type of review is particularly useful for managers who want feedback from their direct reports.

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    This article identifies several common sources of bias in the performance-review process and suggests six practices rooted in behavioral science that can help keep bias at bay. Many studies have ...

  16. 45 Examples of Effective Performance Evaluation Phrases

    A performance review is a documented evaluation of how effectively a team member is meeting their goals and responsibilities. Receiving clear, action-oriented feedback can increase employee engagement and retention, so regular in-depth performance reviews are important.

  17. 25 Performance Review Examples (+ Templates, Tips & Phrases)

    This will make your employee performance review document look sleek and professional. 5. Self-Evaluation Performance Review. Sometimes, to get a better insight into how your company's performance is going, you can allow for self-evaluations. Customize this template and make it your own!

  18. 150 Performance Review Examples and Phrases for Feedback

    Attendance. Here are 7 positive examples of performance review phrases for being attentive : Replies to emails and attends calls of stakeholders on time. Attend conferences, workshops, and seminars on time at all times. Always arrive on time for work each day. Completed X years of flawless attendance.

  19. How to Write a Performance Review

    1. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 2023 2. Leapsome Workforce Trends Report, 2023 ‍ 💪 Performance reviews can be rewarding when done right Leapsome empowers you to deliver meaningful, effective reviews that develop your talent and boost feelings of belonging. 👉 Learn more ‍ What is a performance review?

  20. How to Write and Present a Performance Review

    How to Write and Present a Performance Review Business • September 2nd, 2021 The performance review, as a crucial part of performance management, is one of the dreaded exercises of both managers and team members. However, it doesn't have to be an intimidating, negative situation.

  21. Steps and Examples on How To Write a Performance Review

    You can follow these steps on how to write a performance review: 1. Take notes Throughout the performance period, take notes on your employees' performance by recording times when they exceed expectations and areas where they can improve.

  22. How to Write a Self-Performance Review (With Examples)

    Tips to conduct effective self-performance reviews. The following tips apply to both managers and employees - in that case, managers need to encourage these practical approaches, and employees need to adopt them to improve self-evaluation processes throughout the entire organization. 1) Rely on facts, not on impressions.

  23. 10 Essential Managerial Skills and How to Develop Them

    First, sharing tasks with others saves you time at work and reduces your stress levels. Delegating also engages and empowers your employees, helps build their skill sets, and boosts productivity in the workplace. 2. Ability to inspire and motivate. Employees depend on managers for support and guidance.

  24. The Future of Strategic Measurement:

    In contrast, AI-enhanced KPIs can deliver significantly more detailed and accurate insights into current and future performance. For companies deploying such — smart — KPIs, the organizational costs are outweighed by business benefits spanning increased efficiency, better alignment, and improved financial outcomes.

  25. Usher Super Bowl Halftime Review: A Focus on Details With Alicia Keys

    In a halftime set that touched on more than a dozen songs, the R&B star delivered a raucous Atlanta party and a lesson in intimate showmanship. By Jon Caramanica A few minutes into Usher's ...

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  27. Corsair K65 Plus Wireless Review

    The Corsair K65 Plus Wireless is a very good gaming keyboard and a great keyboard in general. It offers the best typing experience of any Corsair gaming keyboard and doesn't skimp on performance ...

  28. Review

    Review by Chris Richards. February 11, 2024 at 10:37 p.m. EST. Usher performed at the Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII halftime show at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Feb. 11. (Video: CBS/NFL) 5 ...