It’s such a common, simple word, but it manages to strike fear into the hearts of working professionals worldwide. Performance reviews within organizations serve a multitude of purposes, but primarily to help managers benchmark and evaluate the performance of their direct reports throughout a calendar year, and many times (or hopefully) create a strategy for development and advancement going forward. With the end of 2018 right around the corner, performance reviews are on the top of everyone’s mind.

Why would something as seemingly easy as a performance review induce so much stress and anxiety? Employees commonly believe that the review is directly tied to compensation, and sometimes that’s true. The glass half empty folks may feel as though it’s a time that their superiors use to pick apart their value as an employee, and perhaps the glass half full folks view it as an opportunity to potentially have their praises sung. Whatever the outlook may be, it’s obvious that the confusion around the performance review process itself may be to blame. Is it wise to hinge many important outcomes on a review process that isn’t standardized and objective across the board?

What can we do to help make the review process clear and beneficial for both parties and help push away the looming fog we feel rolling in come evaluation day?


An “open door” policy is never a bad thing to have in any business setting. When all parties involved stay in communication with one another, it’s less likely that anyone will be surprised about the feedback they receive in a review. The idea of an open door policy also brings me to my next point…


If you change your schedule of reviews from one annually to perhaps quarterly, the singular, “big” meeting at the end of each year isn’t so daunting. It’s also beneficial to review performance and productivity more often, as you can pinpoint areas of improvement quarter to quarter and could potentially alter strategies or business plans that can make a large impact before the year’s over. Why wait until December to work on developing crucial skills that could have directly affected performance back in May?

Be Open to Mutual Feedback

The idea that only your superiors have suggestions and development tips for you is gravely incorrect. The attitudes and productivity levels of those that report to you can be directly affected by your management style, and a notion of self-awareness can help you enhance your strengths and improve your weaknesses as a general employee and as a supervisor. Take the time to hear what they have to say, and it may make that notion of transparency much easier. There are also assessment tools – such as 360 assessments – that allow you to the view feedback from those that regularly interact with your role, regardless of organizational hierarchy, and compare their anonymous feedback with your own self-assessment.

Standardized Review Process

Utilizing talent assessment tools can create a standardized process for reviews company-wide, and using behavioral analysis, you can create a clear picture of how your employees stack up to the desired skills for each specific position. The Devine Group’s assessment tools provide individualized reports that can be reviewed with the employee and can help create a development plan for the coming year. Zeroing in on behaviors and skills (measured by a proven tool) that directly affect success in a role makes the performance review process more than just a one-on-one conversation based around observation. Objective information in the review process can be incredibly valuable to the development of a single employee, a team and to the growth of your company entirely.