How Do You Conduct an Employee Review?

How Do You Conduct an Employee Review?

To provide a comprehensive understanding of how to conduct employee reviews, we’ve gathered ten insightful responses from CEOs and Chief Human Resources Officers. From pairing video calls with the Sandwich Method to prioritizing frequent, open communication over formal reviews, these leaders share their unique and effective processes. Dive into their wisdom to enhance your own review process.

  • Pair Video Calls with the Sandwich Method
  • Provide Structured, Evidence-Based Employee Reviews
  • Emphasize Opportunities
  • Hold a Two-Way Conversation
  • Include Peer Feedback and Goal Tracking
  • Create a Comfortable Review Environment
  • Use the 360-Degree Feedback Model
  • Customize a Development Plan Post-Feedback
  • Track a Numerical Rating System for Performance
  • Prioritize Frequent, Open Communication over Formal Reviews

Pair Video Calls with the Sandwich Method

Always conduct the performance review through a video call, where both of your videos are turned on. This personalizes the performance review and allows you to see each other’s reactions.

It is very important to employ the sandwich method in doing the performance review: Praise-Critique-Praise. Start by identifying something that can be praised about them, then follow it up with the critique. You should discuss how it is affecting their work and other workers, as well as how to improve that flaw.

End with something positive again. This way, the employee’s morale will not drastically drop, and they will still feel validated, despite knowing that they have to change something to improve.

Steven MostynSteven Mostyn
Chief Human Resources Officer,

Provide Structured, Evidence-Based Employee Reviews

We’re a small company, but we invested early in our employee reviews because it’s really important to us that our employees have fair development opportunities and receive the feedback they need to grow in their careers.

First, we created a leveling document that summarizes the three most important core responsibilities or focus areas for each role. During one-on-ones with employees, managers go over this document to make sure that expectations are clear. We conduct reviews twice a year. During the first review, managers assess employees in five sections: the employee’s biggest strength, the role’s three focus areas, and our company values.


For each of these five sections, managers have to give a rating on a one-to-five scale, provide at least three pieces of evidence for that rating, and give concrete, actionable recommendations for improvement. Finally, we summarize the “big picture.” After six months, we repeat the process and this time link the ratings to compensation increases so that we can justify raises.

Liz Kofman-BurnsLiz Kofman-Burns
Co-Founder, Peoplism

Emphasize Opportunities

First and foremost, employee reviews are held at the same time each year, on the anniversary of their joining. This way, everyone knows exactly when their review will be, as impromptu reviews tend to cause undue anxiety.

The review itself has two stages, and within each stage, there are three main discussion points: what the employee has done well, what needs to be developed, and what they would like to focus on over the next 12 months. In the first stage, the employee answers these three questions, and then in the second stage, the line manager does the same thing.

Once both parties have said their piece, they work together to create a professional and personal development plan, ensuring that everyone is happy with their future direction.

When following this process, it is essential that line managers always frame development needs as opportunities, rather than criticisms. This keeps the tone positive, focusing on potential rather than dishing out blame.

Oliver SavillOliver Savill
CEO and Founder, AssessmentDay

Hold a Two-Way Conversation

When I conduct employee reviews, my go-to approach is a two-way conversation. I’ve always felt that it’s not just about me giving feedback, but also about listening to what the employee has to say.

I start by creating a relaxed setting to make sure we’re both comfortable. Then, I share my thoughts on their performance, always using clear examples. I celebrate their successes and discuss areas that might need improvement.

After that, it’s their turn. I ask them about their own view of their performance, any challenges they’ve been facing, and their goals. I’ve often been surprised by the insights I gain from just listening.

The review ends with us setting some mutual goals for the future. This way, both of us have clarity on the way forward. For me, turning the review into a shared discussion rather than a one-sided talk has been key. After all, it’s about growth and understanding, and that comes best from conversation.

Irina PoddubnaiaIrina Poddubnaia
CEO, Founder, TrackMage

Include Peer Feedback and Goal Tracking

I emphasize feedback from peers alongside manager-employee meetings. This ensures any review factors in the perspective of everyone working with the individual, making it easier for constructive criticism and praise to be heard beyond myself as the manager.

At each step throughout the year, I ensure every employee is on track towards set goals and objectives. This will enable them to reach their fullest potential within the organization while ensuring team performance continues to succeed.

Julia KellyJulia Kelly
Managing Partner, Rigits

Create a Comfortable Review Environment

Assemble all important data and records pertaining to the employee’s performance during the course of the evaluation period. This may include project results, peer feedback, performance indicators, and any employee-provided self-evaluations. Establish a time and date for the review meeting and let the employee know beforehand.

This gives them more time to prepare and be ready to discuss their performance. For the review meeting, pick a secluded, peaceful area where you and the employee can talk for an extended period of time. Start the meeting on an upbeat and motivating note. Recognize the employee’s accomplishments and contributions to the company. Give them a chance to evaluate their own performance.

Talk freely and constructively about any issues you may have with their performance. Provide constructive and encouraging criticism. Place more emphasis on actions and behaviors than on personality qualities.

Perry ZhengPerry Zheng
Founder and CEO, Pallas

Use the 360-Degree Feedback Model

Our employee review process utilizes the 360-degree feedback model. This model fosters a holistic understanding of an employee’s performance as it includes evaluations from colleagues, subordinates, and supervisors, along with self-assessments. With a spectrum of perspectives, each employee can gain a comprehensive view of their effectiveness and areas for improvement, fostering personal growth and team cohesion.

Curran  Van Waarde 
Curran Van Waarde, Founder, CallScaler

Customize a Development Plan Post-Feedback

Following the feedback discussion, I collaborate with staff to establish customized development plans. These plans define strategies to fill identified gaps, strengthen existing strengths, and attain predetermined targets. The programs are personalized to the individual’s learning style and growth trajectory, whether it involves training, mentorship, or on-the-job experiences.

Tim AllenTim Allen
Director, Oberheiden P.C.

Track a Numerical Rating System for Performance

At our organization, we conduct employee performance ratings to assess their performance and align them with our goals. The overall rating focuses on five key areas: job knowledge, communication skills, work quality, team collaboration, and leadership ability.

Each of these qualities is evaluated individually using a simple numerical rating scale ranging from 1 to 10. It then ends up in categories like “Exceeds Expectations,” “Meets Expectations,” or “Needs Improvement.

David BuiDavid Bui
Director and Business Specialist, Schmicko

Prioritize Frequent, Open Communication over Formal Reviews

Performance reviews have always been contentious because, in their current conventional form, they feel incredibly out-of-date and pointless.

Getting rid of them has been a personal choice. Frequent, open communication and daily and weekly interactions are relied upon to review employees. Almost every day, team members are fully aware of where they stand. The door is always open, and feedback is frequently received and given.

It is believed that the entire purpose of management and leadership shouldn’t be limited to just once a year or even once every three months, especially given that the majority of businesses do not even link it to a straight raise or promotion.

Samantha HawrylackSamantha Hawrylack
CEO, SJ Digital Solutions

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