How Do I Write a Performance Review?

Tara Barnett

Writing a performance review can be accomplished in a number of ways, and the most important things to consider are the requirements of the company and the expectations of the employee. Many companies have very specific processes used to write a performance review, ensuring that each employee gets fair treatment. Likewise, employees who have worked in a certain industry for a long time often expect specific types of criticism from performance reviews. The only way for an appraisal to be effective in improving employee performance and guiding career advancement is for the review to be consistent, helpful, and professional.

A performance review should not only include a recent evaluation, but those from the past, too.
A performance review should not only include a recent evaluation, but those from the past, too.

The first step when setting out to write a performance review is to organize your thoughts, preferably in a way that highlights not only recent performance but also prior reviews as well. Organization is key when trying to write a performance review that will be both helpful and fair, as failing to organize your thoughts can make more recent or extremely compelling events stand out over overall performance. Many companies also use input from other employees as part of a performance review, and thoroughly reading and evaluating these reports is important before setting out to do the actual writing.

A performance review should be consistent, helpful, and professional.
A performance review should be consistent, helpful, and professional.

Structurally, a performance review can take many forms. The template used to write a performance review, however, is almost always made available to the supervisor writing the review. It is important to make sure that all reviews follow similar templates, though the content may be quite different. This allows for easy comparison between employees when looking into performance reviews for the purposes of advancement or termination. Choosing the template used to write a performance review is a matter usually left to the supervisor and his or her peers, but it is important to structure the review thoughtfully and to make sure that the template fits the company and the review process.

Actually writing the performance review usually requires a little practice but can become highly streamlined once the template is familiar. Once the documents have been gathered, placing the relevant information in the correct place and making the document flow in terms of narrative are all that is left to accomplish. Having basic writing skills will make this task easier, and reading the document out loud can be a great way to make sure it sounds like a professionally composed review. One important stylistic consideration to remember when composing the actual content of the review is that using neutral language is absolutely essential to making sure that employees do not feel threatened by the appraisal. Even negative information can be spun in a neutral light by a skilled supervisor, and doing so can help employees cultivate a desire to improve rather than incur resentment.

Discussion Comments


I think that the graphic rating scale is one of the best templates for a performance review.

The good part about this performance review model is that it streamlines the performance process and makes it easier to compare an employee's improvement from one performance review to the next. It's also possible to get a statistical result about overall workplace performance from this scale.

Employers preparing performance reviews should use this type of performance tool to make the process easier.


@ysmina-- I have done a self-assessment several times before. It's really not as difficult as it seems. Just don't be too modest and try to be as honest as possible. The key is maintaining a balance and mentioning your successes as well as mistakes.

Don't be too modest and mention with examples of your excellent performance. Stick to the facts and emphasize why you are a valuable part of the team. Also, it's important to be honest and mention any shortcomings that you see in yourself. But also mention how you plan on avoiding these shortcomings in the future.

Lastly, get feedback from your coworkers, especially if you feel that you are having a difficult time being objective. Getting insight on how others view your work will be very helpful.


My boss wants me to evaluate myself. I have never done a self job performance review before. I'm a bit worried about it. Isn't it difficult to be objective while reviewing oneself? Does anyone have any tips for me?

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