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Annual Employee Reviews: An Important Motivational Tool


Regular staff appraisals or employee reviews are incredibly important; not only do they allow you to monitor the progress of your employees, but they can also serve as motivation for your employees, encouraging them to strive to achieve more.

Keeping records of the reviews, too, can prove useful when the opportunity to promote arises.

The reviews also provide a great forum for your staff to talk to you too and provide you with any feedback that they might have. If you haven’t prioritized employee reviews before or if you have limited experience in doing so, then it can feel a little challenging. Keep reading to learn more.

What is the Point of a Performance Review?

Obviously, the primary function of an employee appraisal is simply to take an in-depth look at how your employees are performing in their job roles.

A good employee is vital for any business that wants to succeed. In the day-to-day of the business, there isn’t much of an opportunity to deep dive into your employees’ competencies on an individual level which is where conducting appraisals comes in. It allows you to look at your employees individually and assess their skills, strengths, productivity and performance.

Ideally, throughout an employee’s time at the business, you should be able to see the progress that they have made through their reviews. During their performance review, you should think about what goals you should set for that specific employee.

The goals do need to be tailored to the individual. Some managers like to develop the goals during the review taking on board input from the employee, which can be beneficial. Employee reviews also provide you with an opportunity to identify any areas of weakness and develop a plan to address them.

Once the review has happened, employees tend to experience a renewed sense of motivation and productivity increases because they are uplifted by the positive feedback and have a plan in place to shore up their weaknesses or address any areas that they struggle with. This is contingent on the way in which you conduct the appraisals, of course.

How to Conduct an Employee Review

When it comes to conducting appraisals, preparation is key. If you aren’t sure where to begin, it might be worth asking for input from your employees. Vevox is a live poll app which you can use to offer suggestions to the employees as to what form they would like their one-to-ones to take and from there you can get a general consensus and work out the format from there.

Depending on the current policies in place, there may or may not be previous reviews for you to refer back to. They provide a good starting point to work out whether or not your employees have progressed or if they have met their previous goals. If you do not have these, then you can start from scratch.

Whilst you want your performance reviews to flow organically, you should really have made some notes ahead of time outlining the points that you want to address during the review. This helps to ensure that they are individualized too.

As mentioned above, you can choose to go into the meeting with targets in mind for your employees, or you can develop them together during the review.

A lot of employees can feel anxious when it comes to reviews; they are concerned about the outcome. This is why you should strive to ensure that the meeting has the right atmosphere. It should be light and informal to an extent. This puts the employees at ease and helps to encourage them to talk openly and honestly with you.

A performance review really needs to be a dialogue as opposed to a one-sided conversation. Your employees are far more likely to take on board the feedback that you have given to them if they feel like their viewpoint has been listened to as well.

The meeting should be a collaborative effort with a back-and-forth on both sides. This is the best way to ensure that they are going to be effective as well as developing realistic and actionable goals for the staff.

Depending on the business and how it operates, it is also worth putting some thought into who is going to conduct each review. Some businesses operate in shifts with several different managers.

If this is the case within your business, then instead of having one manager blanket the reviews, they should be divided up, and each employee should have their review conducted by the manager that they work with the most. Otherwise, they are unlikely to be accurate. The reviews themselves should also take place regularly.

This isn’t to say that they need to be conducted on a monthly basis but at least twice a year. Lastly, you should remember, if you don’t already do so, to document the meeting. Make notes on what has been discussed and what goals you have decided on. A lot of managers ask their employees to sign the appraisal as proof that it has been agreed upon between both parties. They can then be used at the next review.

Things to Include

As mentioned above, preparation is key. So, when developing your notes of what you want to talk about in the performance review, there are a few things that you might want to include.

Check out their attendance levels; if it isn’t satisfactory, you might want to try and work out why and help them to come up with a plan moving forward. Think about their daily responsibilities and tasks. Do they always complete them to your satisfaction? Do they always hit their deadlines, or do they frequently need extensions?

Have you ever received any feedback about them from any other colleagues or customers? There might also be some other metrics specific to their role or the industry, like sales made or leads, et cetera, which should also be considered.

Furthermore, integrating performance appraisal examples can provide concrete standards for assessing employee performance and nurturing development within the team.

Why Do Employees Feel Anxious During Reviews?

A significant number of employees feel apprehension surrounding their employee reviews. This might be in part because they are uncomfortable with criticism or because they think the reviews themselves are pointless or ineffective.

Maybe they feel like their input isn’t wanted or heeded either. This is why creating the right atmosphere matters to ensure that they are at ease. Try to demonstrate that you are ready, willing, and able to take on board their thoughts and actions their feedback too.

Depending on the relationship between you as a manager or business owner and the employees, they might even feel as though the review is a little personal, even if ostensibly it is about work.

Obviously, impartiality is incredibly important, regardless of your personal feelings towards the staff member and their personality or traits that they possess; if they don’t impact their work, then they have no place in the review.

Now, if they are affecting work, then this is a little more difficult to navigate. Try to lead with the positives before you go into any negative feedback.

In Conclusion

Performance reviews are but one tool at an employer’s disposal, but they are incredibly valuable. They can help to increase engagement and act as a motivating factor. They help to provide employers and employees with the opportunity to share feedback on both sides. The way in which you conduct your reviews do directly affect how successful they are, which is something that you will need to bear in mind.

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