Preparing to Write Your Manager Review
- Brainstorm a list of the employee’s successes and challenges.
- Don’t just respond to what the employee wrote.
- Prioritize the list of accomplishments and challenges, including ones the employee included and ones they may not have
Writing Your Manager Review
Focus on the Work
- Address what is observable about outcomes, behaviors, and tasks
- Do not reference health or personal circumstances.
- Describe how the performance has met or has not met expectations
- Be direct and accountable by using "I" statements
- "I have noticed..."
- "I have observed..."
- Be specific, not global or broad, about the gaps (positive and negative) between performance and expectations
- "I have noticed your skills are excellent" = global/broad
- "I have noticed your time management skills are excellent. During that project, those skills helped you and the team reach the goals ahead of schedule." = specific
Avoid Common Pitfalls
- Contrast Error: evaluating compared to another rather than based on the requirements of the job.
- Recency Effect: tendency to give extra weight to what you have seen recently and diminish the importance of earlier observations. The exception would be cases where earlier performance has been improved upon.
- Halo Effect: generalizing from one aspect of positive performance to all aspects of performance.
- Devil Effect: generalizing from one or two negative aspects of performance and becoming blind to the positive aspects of the performance.
- Similar-to-me Effect: the tendency to judge more favorably those people who do things like you do.
“How to Plan, Conduct and Write a Performance Review.” Perfect Phrases for Performance Reviews: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases for Describing Employee Performance, by Douglas Max and Robert Bacal, McGraw-Hill, 2011, pp. 10–11.