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Performance Review Meeting Template

A review meeting is an opportunity to understand what supported and impacted performance.

Created by Lindsey Nehls

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Performance Review Meeting Template



Preparation is key! Do not be tempted to wing these conversations! Even the best wingers among you will come unstuck! Here’s Elevate’s 4 part Preparation Checklist to keep your prep as efficient as possible

Preparation Checklist:

  1. Prepare the data
  2. Identify the main themes
  3. Pre-game the tricky elements
  4. Pick the ‘one thing’

Prepare the data
Step back and look at all the performance data you have - what’s working well and what can be improved. You may want to include feedback you hear from others in addition to your own. This helps you see the whole picture of your report’s contribution, even if they work in different locations.

As you’re preparing for performance reviews, make sure to be aware of any biases that may unwittingly worm their way into the process. While most performance reviews are prone to biases, here are 3 most common ones - recency, primacy, and gender.

Identify the main themes
If you have quite a few points to cover in your performance reviews, breaking down the feedback into a few several main themes will make it much easier to digest and discuss. It will also make it easier for direct reports to set goals for themselves based on the themes.

Look for patterns in behavior. Often when we see patterns, especially with constructive feedback, it’s because we are looking at a collection of surface symptoms and not the actual root cause of the problem. Signs, like low engagement or being late, are often symptoms for something deeper at play. The goal is to have a conversation and try to get to the root cause - solutions to symptoms rarely work

Pre-game the tricky elements
What parts of this feedback are going to be hard to talk about? There could be none, but if there are some pieces of feedback that might be taken poorly, take a couple of minutes to role play them with someone else or even just out loud alone. Think about tricky questions or opinions which might come up and jot down a suitable response for them. If you have an HR team you might lean on them for a little advice.

Pick the ‘one thing’
What's the most important thing you think this person should focus on? You may or may not get to setting goals in your performance review, but having one takeaway for the person to remember that will really move the needle for them in their career is super helpful.

For more detail check out How to Prepare for Performance Reviews to make this the best conversation you have all year.

Road Map for the Conversation

Ok, now we’ve covered the preparation, let's move on to how to structure the conversation. The first part, after you’ve asked them how they are, is to set the agenda.

The Agenda:

  1. Start with an overall statement about how they’ve done - keep it positive. For example, “Over the last 6 months I’ve noticed you’ve made a real effort to implement a lot of the changes we’ve talked about.”
  2. Then say something like “I’d like to start our conversation by highlighting some things that I think you’ve done really well, then I’d like to discuss some constructive feedback to think about over the next quarter.”
  3. Get verbal agreement: “Does that sound ok?” They will say yes (most likely), opting in to hearing what comes next.

Part 1: Deliver and discuss the positive feedback

Open the conversation with constructive and positive feedback that highlights what the individual has done well and helps them understand what you’d like to continue to see from them. Don’t shoehorn it in at the end of the conversation and don’t use the ‘sandwich approach’ and risk undermining your feedback and your relationship. The key is to focus on the behavior and not just the outcome.

Part 2: Deliver and discuss the constructive feedback

Walk through the points of constructive feedback.

The goal is to strive to understand rather than make assumptions. Here are examples of a few questions you can use to deepen their understanding and get to the route cause of the surface symptoms.

  1. How do you feel about the feedback you’ve received?
  2. What stood out for you as being particularly positive or negative?
  3. What patterns can you see? What’s underlying them?

Part 3: Design the follow up

You may have time to set some personal goals from the feedback with your direct report, but if you run out of time in this conversation, don’t worry. Most people do. It’s often better to let the feedback sit with the person to digest and process then come back at a later date to discuss how they might like to move forward.

Try not to leave the meeting without setting up a time to review goals together.

So to summarize the structure you

  1. Set the agenda
  2. Deliver and discuss the positive feedback
  3. Deliver and discuss the constructive feedback
  4. Design the follow up

If you prefer to watch then reach, check out Elevate’s class on Running Effective Performance Reviews. It’s less than 10 min.

Good luck! Remember, performance reviews can be an empowering experience for both you and your direct reports, if approached correctly. They're not just about scrutinizing past actions or accomplishments; they're a pivotal point of reflection, learning, and growth.

About this template

Performance reviews can be the most productive conversation you have all year. Preparation is key! See Elevate's 4 part Preparation Checklist to keep you prep as efficient as possible. A performance review is meant to be a two-way conversation, an opportunity to understand what supported and impacted performance and identify opportunities for development. When it's time for the conversation, start with positive feedback, then move to the constructive and lastly focus on development goals. Good luck!

Updated Feb 1, 2024

Performance Review Meeting FAQs

How long should a performance review meeting be?


You should initially set your performance review meetings for 60 with your team. If you prepare and share an agenda in advance you're likely to get through more faster.

How often should you have performance review meetings?


Most performance review meetings tend to occur every 6-12 months. As you go through a few iterations of them you may need to increase or decrease the frequency.

How do you structure a performance review meeting?


You should think about deviding the meeting into 2 sections: Follow Up, Feedback. Then adding the following performance review meeting topics, where appropriate:

  • Overall performance
  • Positive feedback
  • Constructive feedback
  • Development opportunities
  • Schedule development goal meeting
  • Themes
  • The 'one' thing

What should you discuss during a performance review meeting?


7 great things to discuss in your Performance Review Meeting:

  • Overall performance
  • Positive feedback
  • Constructive feedback
  • Development opportunities
  • Schedule development goal meeting
  • Themes
  • The 'one' thing

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