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Year end reviews are an interesting subject.  Due to their predictability and regularity, many employers and managers view them as a just another item to “check off the list” before moving on with business.  It has been proven, however, that delivering an effective year end review to employees can make a difference in employee performance, company outputs, and company morale. So, the question stands, how do you escape the monotony of annual employee reviews and deliver something that will make an impact on your employees and your business? If you are preparing for your reviews and asking that question, here are a few tips we’ve put together for you on how to write an effective year end review .


The first mistake employers and managers make when writing a year end review is packing it full of surprises.  In other words, you don’t want the very first time your employee hears about an issue to be at their annual review.  If you are bringing up a serious issue in a review coupled with consequences, your employee should be aware those consequences might be coming.  Likewise, according to a recent article by Business News Daily, all employers should be “clear in writing [and] sending calendar invites and setting expectations and the tone for the meetings.” In other words, if bad news will be delivered, give a fair warning before your employee sits down in front of you.


Writing an employee review as a list of dos and don’ts is another common mistake made by employers and managers.  Unfortunately, the human side of the employee review is often forgotten due to the nature of business. According to the Harvard Business Review, however, employee performance reviews should be treated more like a coaching session than anything else. Instead of telling employees where they are falling short, give them ideas and suggestions on how they can improve. And, instead of just giving a general “good job” detail specific examples of where they are going above and beyond your expectations.


When an employee sits down in front of you for a review or open ups the document you have written, they want to know you recognize their hard work and accomplishments.  Therefore, when writing an employee review you should always be sure to talk to your employees about what you think they did well and also give them the opportunity to discuss what they believe they did well.  A discussion of this nature furthers an opportunity for growth and success in the new year.

Overall, if there is nothing else that can be taken away from these tips, take away this.  Employee year-end reviews should be personal. Even in a corporate environment, year-end reviews are an opportunity to get to know your employees as individuals, explore their talents, and discuss their futures.  Recognize the opportunity and don’t overlook it for the sake of getting things done. That’s how you can write a great year-end review.