When it comes to reviews, your employees should NEVER be surprised. 

As a top recruiting firm, we understand the importance of giving amazing performance reviews to employees. Performance reviews provide an opportunity for managers to assess their employees’ performance and provide feedback on their progress toward their goals.  

This blog post was inspired by a TikTok with some of the best advice we have heard in a while, that is: “hiring managers when it comes to reviews, your employees should NEVER be surprised.” We want to shout out to this creator Delanie Leggett for inspiring this post and providing some excellent advice!  

We have put our best tips for hiring managers to provide insightful performance reviews that inspire your employees and that never leave them speechless. Here is how to give your best performance reviews to date! 


Performance Reviews Require Preparation 

Prepare in advance when giving performance reviews. Typically, reviews are done annually, semi-annually, or quarterly, which means, as a leader, you know months in advance reviews are on the calendar. Do not wait until the last minute, your employees deserve your time and feedback.  Preparing for a performance review is essential to provide constructive feedback to your employees. Review the goals set at the beginning of the quarter/year and compare them to what has been accomplished. Make a list of both the positives and areas for improvement, so you have a balanced view of their performance. Use any data or metrics available to support your feedback. 

A good manager will have mental notes on what your employees do well and what they need to improve on. A leader takes those notes and trains their employees on improvement in between reviews.  


Provide Clear Expectations 

A good meeting starts with a clear agenda. As a top recruiting firm, we are a big believer in setting precedents and standards when conducting things such as interviews or reviews. These should be standardized practices in your organization and, regardless of department, should be executed the same way.  

Start your performance reviews with a basic explanation of the meeting. Let your employees know about how long the meeting will take, what you want to go over in the meeting if there are opportunities for raises or extra growth opportunities, and finally that your employee will have time for any other questions at the end. 


Performance Reviews Should Never be a Surprise, as a Leader, You Have a Duty to Give Regular Feedback 

Giving feedback regularly is essential to ensuring that your employees are on track and making progress toward their goals. If you wait until reviews, it may be too late to make any meaningful changes, and it can leave your employees feeling betrayed and blindsided. A good business is built on trust and if there is no trust there is unlikely to be effective communication. If you are not regularly training and providing feedback to your employees, the problem lies with YOU, not them.  

As a leader, you have a responsibility to help your staff achieve team goals and personal goals within the business. Management is not the place to be selfish. It is challenging not to get “lost in the weeds,” but, there is no excuse for not training your employees, providing challenges, and encouraging a positive team environment. Leaders owe it to regularly and provide guidance to their team.  

Provide Specific and Constructive Feedback 

Be specific When providing feedback, be specific about what your employees are doing well and where they need to improve. Avoid generalities and provide specific examples of their performance. This will help your employees understand what they are doing well and what they need to work on. 

It is always a good idea to choose a trackable metric to assess from one review to another. Metrics can be very promising to employers and employees, but again, proceed with caution.  

There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Mark Twain.  

What this means is that all numbers can be manipulated, so it is unwise and inaccurate to rely solely on any one metric. For example, we at Merio Group check our Google Authority rank, but we always compare these numbers to our competitors. If we are all down, it’s likely just the current market, however, if a competitor is ranking higher, and we have fallen, it’s an issue with our end.  

Think through individual metrics and compare them to past years and market forecasts to fairly evaluate your employee’s performance.  


Be Positive and Use Performance Reviews as a Chance to Inspire 

Using positive reinforcement is a fantastic way to encourage and motivate your employees. Recognize their achievements and praise them for their hard work. Again, this is not something that should be reserved for reviews! Providing a positive work culture will give you some of the biggest ROI. People want to feel appreciated and valued and it does not take much from a leader to instill this culture in their team.  

This will help build their confidence and keep them engaged in their work. Recognize your team for the small wins and the big wins. When it comes to reviews, focus on the big wins, and make sure to have a portion of your review dedicated to celebrating these.  


Inspire Growth and Share Opportunities 

Performance reviews are an excellent opportunity to discuss growth opportunities for your employees. Ask them about their career goals and provide opportunities for them to develop new skills. This will not only help them grow in their careers but also benefit the organization. 

Produce a roadmap and metrics to measure against for the next review. Ask your employees what goals they have for themselves in the future and where they see themselves with the company. Ask them about life goals as well and see how their career can positively contribute to those goals.  


Let Your Employee Speak and Listen Attentively 

Listening actively is an essential skill when giving feedback. Ensure that you listen to your employees’ perspectives and understand their points of view. Encourage them to ask questions and provide feedback on their feedback. 

In any review, always make sure there is ample time for your employees to express their concerns and wins, and raise requests. As a good manager, make the transition clear so they know it is their turn to lead this section of the meeting.  


Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, giving amazing quarterly reviews to your employees is essential to managing their performance. Use these tips to prepare for the review, provide clear expectations, give feedback regularly, be specific, use positive reinforcement, provide growth opportunities, and listen actively. As a top recruiting firm, we know that employees are the lifeblood of any organization, and providing them with regular feedback is essential to their success. By implementing these tips, you can help your employees achieve their goals and contribute to the success of your organization. 

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