Quarterly performance reviews are an opportunity to reflect on your direct report’s performance, recognize achievements, and provide them with constructive feedback. Running effective quarterly performance reviews can be challenging for both your employees and yourself, but they are crucial for your team’s growth and success.
Fellow.app has created this quarterly performance review template to help you make the most out of your meeting and facilitate your interaction with your reporting employees. This quarterly performance review template allows you to address and redirect good behaviours in your organization. You will also find tips that will guide you in taking the right approach and provide valuable feedback that motivates your direct reports and help them improve.
“Providing feedback to your people demonstrates that you’re invested in their personal development, which keeps them more engaged and often, more productive.”– Lisa Bodell, founder and CEO of FutureThink in NYC.
How to prepare for a quarterly performance review
A successful quarterly one-on-one performance review starts well in advance from the actual date of the meeting. Given it is a two-way street conversation, it demands both parties to be equally involved in the preparation. Keep in mind that your direct report will be the protagonist, so make sure they are aware of what to expect.
Here are three things you should always consider before meeting one-on-one with your direct report:
- Set clear expectations: Your employee must know what is expected of their performance and how it will be evaluated. Discussing their goals and setting clear expectations earlier will facilitate how you assess their work and hold them accountable to it.
- Prepare: Gather as much information as possible regarding each individual’s performance, and make sure it is coming from multiple sources. Look over your notes from previous one-on-one meetings, review examples of actions taken, and request 360 feedback. Prepare for the discussion and make sure all your feedback is supported by data.
- Help them prepare: Encourage your direct reports to come prepared with their own documentation. It will be helpful if you ask them to reflect on accomplishments they are proud of before the meeting. David Grot, the author of How to be Good at Performance Appraisals, suggests sharing gathered feedback with your employee at least one hour before the meeting. That will allow them to process both positive and negative emotions in privacy on their own time, taking away tension from the meeting.
4 Items for your quarterly performance review meeting
- 360 feedback: collect feedback from your direct report’s peers.
- Achievements: focus on your employee’s wins and progress.
- Opportunities: discuss your direct report’s opportunities for improvement.
- Feedback and ideas: allow your employee to give you feedback regarding areas where they need more support.
1 360 Feedback
The first step of your Quarterly Performance Review Template is to ensure you have collected enough data and examples for your feedback to be transparent while objective. 360 Feedback enables managers, coworkers, and reporting staff to provide feedback regarding your direct report’s performance. It allows you to have a balanced view and more perspectives. In a Harvard Business Review article, John Barron, Professor of Management at Yale, argues that “The larger number of independent evaluations the better”.
During the quarterly employee performance review, start by evaluating the ways your employee’s behaviours have impacted their team, influenced other employees, and focus on the skills and contributions that a person has brought to the table. Ask your direct reports to share their thoughts and perspectives, pay attention, and try to identify patterns. Asking follow-up questions will help you develop positive and constructive feedback. In the end, active listening is a very important skill that you can cultivate as a manager.
For this section of the Quarterly Performance Review template, it is good to start on a positive note. Focus on the aspects that the employee has achieved, provide positive feedback, and consider behaviours that your team member should continue doing. Affirmative recognition is a method that will motivate your team to perform better, be specific with your praises.
During your one-on-one meeting, your direct report should be talking most of the time. We can’t stress this enough. The purpose of asking the right questions is to help you get to know more about your employee, more about their goals, aspirations, strengths, areas where they need support and roadblocks encountered.
“The conversation is the keyword when you define a performance review meeting. If you are doing all of the talking or the meeting becomes a lecture, the performance review is less effective.”–Susan M. Heathfield, HR and management consultant.
Performance review question ideas
- What are some achievements you accomplished last quarter?
- What goals do you want to accomplish next quarter? What excites you the most?
- What are some roadblocks you have encountered along the quarter?
- In what ways has your performance impacted your team and the organization, overall?
- What have been some ways you have collaborated with your team?
Approach the meeting with a coaching mentality, and invite your employee to ask you questions as well. This will make the review less nerve-racking and they’ll know you have a genuine interest in helping out. Invite your direct report to contribute to the conversation by sharing how they feel about their opportunities of improvement.
In a 2020 article by the American Management Association, BJ Gallager recommends to “Use your performance review conversations as opportunities to find out what are the possible reasons for an employee’s failure to meet standards and expectations.”
Providing constructive feedback can be uncomfortable, but it is your chance to redirect your team. Thus, it is imperative that you give specific and direct advice. Avoid neglecting or disregarding areas that need improvement. Using the “stop, start and continue doing” method can be helpful and again, include data and examples to support your feedback.
4 Feedback and Ideas
Having a clear understanding of your direct report’s career goals and ways to develop within the company can be starting points for you to help them enhance their professional experience. In concluding the Quarterly Performance Review template, allow your employee to give you feedback regarding areas where they need more support. Here are some questions they can reflect on:
- How often and how would you like to receive feedback?
- What are some goals and targets you want to accomplish in the next 3 months?
- What can the department do to support you in achieving these goals?
- What can I do to support you and how can I be a better manager for you?
- What are the necessary steps to take for you to be able to improve performance?
A Quarterly Performance Review couldn’t be successful without agreed-upon next steps. Before ending the meeting make sure an action plan is put into place. Otherwise, there is no point in having a review. List around 3-4 elements that will be followed during the next quarter to drive future performance.
The Quarterly Performance Review process can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be if you follow these guidelines. More than a judge, your employees have to see you as a coach – and sometimes all they need to know is that you are confident in their ability to improve.