HR Glossary  /  Performance and People Management  /  Performance reviews

Performance reviews

What is a performance review? 

A performance review, also known as a performance appraisal, is a component of performance management where an employee’s work performance is reviewed and summarized for a given period. Historically, this period would be a whole year, but organizations are increasingly favouring more frequent appraisals, such as quarterly or monthly. Performance reviews inform the employee’s goals for the next review period.  

What is the purpose of a performance review? 

Performance reviews help to keep everyone informed about progress, clarify expectations (and consequences), develop strategies for improvement, and recognize excellence. All these functions contribute to effective performance management. Performance appraisals are also often the occasion and justification for raises and other compensation changes. 

What does a performance review include? 

There is no single correct way to structure a performance review, but some elements are essential. Every employee’s performance appraisal should always include feedback and assessments from their direct supervisor, and performance appraisals should always include self-assessments. Organizations can also use a 360-degree feedback model, which solicits feedback from peers, customers, and colleagues on other teams to provide a holistic understanding of an employee’s performance. Employee perceptions of themselves should be compared with the assessment from their supervisor to provide insight into how and why the employee performs the way they do, and the reasons why they are successful or falling short. 

What is HR’s role in the performance review process? 

HR should develop and provide standard performance review forms (or adopt technologies to use as performance management tools). HR should ensure that these forms and tools are supplemented with policies and online training to clarify their purpose and use. 


  • Performance Management tool 
  • Performance Management Best Practice Guide 
  • Performance Review Form 
  • Modern Performance Management Training: Engage, Motivate, and Inspire (Immersive) 

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