As a manager, you need to assess your employee's performance and engage in constructive discussions to make sure they feel good about their work and their performance is meeting company standards.

Semi-annual performance reviews provide an excellent opportunity to praise employees for what they've done well, correct what they're doing wrong, and discuss opportunities for career development. After all, 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized.

Run this checklist during your performance review period to ensure you are taking all of the necessary steps and following best practices when completing this critical aspect of employee management.


In this section, you'll prepare the agenda for the review, and then schedule a time for the review to take place.

Before the review happens, you'll want to get HR's approval to ensure you've prepared for the performance review in the right way.

Task #10 is an approval task where HR will look at your outline of talking points and the meeting's agenda.

So the HR team is assigned to the task, you'll want to create a Human Resources group in your organization. Then, assign them to task #10 in the template editor. The HR team will then always be assigned to that task in future checklists.

Record employee details

Gather employee's performance records

Gather employee's performance records so you can review them prior to conducting the current performance review. 

Documentation should include:

  • 1
    A copy of their performance plan
  • 2
    Notes from previous performance review meetings
  • 3
    Employee self-evaluation documents
  • 4
    Written or recorded feedback on employee performance from other sources

Review past performance reviews

Carefully review the employee's previous performance reviews, paying particular attention to the most recent one as that contains notes and action items most relevant to the current review period. 

Key things to take into consideration:

  • How well the employee performed their assigned responsibilities and the quality and/or timeliness of the employee's accomplishments
  • If and how well the employee met performance goals
  • Areas of performance that improved over the appraisal period
  • Areas of performance that could/need to be improved

If the employee's work responsibilities have changed since the last appraisal period, they should be acknowledged during the review process and in the meeting. 

Clarify goals and objectives of the meeting

Now, having reviewed the employee's performance history, it's time to start thinking about what the goals and objectives of the current meeting will be. 

Create an outline of talking points

Once you have clarified the meeting's goals and objectives, put together an outline of the main talking points you would like to cover. 

Schedule the meeting

Schedule the performance review meeting with the employee. It should be at least 2 weeks from the current date to give you time to prepare an agenda and rehearse. 

You can use the email template below to contact the employee. 

Prepare a meeting agenda

Prepare an agenda that covers all of your talking points in addition to setting aside time to have an open discussion with the employee to go over their challenges, concerns, and aspirations.

Remember, the next task (task #10) is an approval task related to this task (task #9). Reread information in task #2 to ensure you've understood how approvals works.

Pre-meeting HR approval

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Create an outline of talking points
    Will be submitted
  • Prepare a meeting agenda
    Will be submitted

Send agenda to the employee

You can use the email template below to send the agenda to the employee for their review prior to the meeting. 

Rehearse conversation prior to the meeting

Rehearsal may not seem important, but it is a smart thing to do to cap off preparation for the meeting. 

Gather all of the information you've put together and practice the conversation you will be conducting. 

Meeting goals and objectives: {{form.Meeting_goals_and_objectives}}

Outline of talking points: {{form.Outline_of_meeting_talking_points}}

Agenda: {{form.Meeting_agenda_-_Notes}}



The tasks in this next section will guide you through giving the performance review.

At the end of it, there's another approval task.

This time, it's so HR can look over the meeting's notes, and make sure that the performance review was carried out correctly.

Just as you assigned the HR group to task #10, now assign them to task #22 in the template editor.

Create a positive environment

The performance review process should feel like a positive and constructive undertaking that makes the employee in question feel comfortable and cared for. 

Ultimately, this is just as much about helping the employee feel happy with the work they are doing and resolving their challenges as much as it's about ensuring their performance is meeting company standards. 

Bearing that in mind, make sure that you hold the meeting in a private and comfortable environment and exude a positive attitude. 

Discuss significant accomplishments

To begin the meeting, focus on the employee's main accomplishments.

During the discussion:

  • Highlight aspects of their work that you were particularly impressed with
  • Ask about the challenges they faced
  • Ask if they would do anything differently next time

Discuss strengths and weaknesses

Have an open discussion about their strengths and weaknesses.

Highlight strengths you have recognized since their last performance review, and ask them about how they think their strengths have developed. 

When discussing areas for improvement, discuss specific methods and objectives for improving.

Review last year's plan for completion of goals

Together with the employee, review last year's performance plan and discuss if and how goals were accomplished. 

Important points to discuss during the review are:

  • Which goals were met? What did the employee do to achieve them?
  • Which goals were not met? What were the challenges/roadblocks to achieving them?
  • Is there any feedback the employee would like to give regarding their past and current goals?

If the employee's work responsibilities have changed since last year, they should be acknowledged and discussed during the review.

Determine future goals with the employee

Determine what the employee's goals are moving forward, whether they may be performance-based or related to their personal growth. Let the employee lead the discussion.

Present opportunities for career development

At all times, the employee should feel as though they are supported by you and encouraged to develop their careers outside of their day-to-day job. 

Present them with a few ideas for career development like attending interesting conferences, obtaining certificates in their chosen field or joining a professional organization. 

Clarify action items

It's important to clarify immediate action items before ending the review process. This applies to action items for both you and the employee

Settle any concerns the employee may have

Before ending the meeting, ask the employee if they have any questions or concerns they would like to discuss. It's important that they leave knowing they have been heard and had the opportunity to discuss any professional concerns they may have.

Once the meeting has ended, remember the HR team will review the meeting's notes in the approval task coming up.

Reread the information presented in task #13 to make sure you have a grasp on how approvals works. 

Post-meeting HR approval

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Determine future goals with the employee
    Will be submitted
  • Present opportunities for career development
    Will be submitted
  • Clarify action items
    Will be submitted


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