Performance reviews might seem like just another task for managers but they are a huge deal for the employees. Whether you love them or hate them, performance reviews are here to stay!

Different organizations follow different practices for their performance reviews. What really matters is the frequency of performance reviews at your organization. If you’re reviewing the performance of your employees annually, then filling out review forms and evaluating performance could seem like a lot of work and there is more scope for making mistakes and ruining performance reviews for your employees.

Here is a list of common mistakes that you could avoid during performance reviews.

Surprising Your Employees

It is never acceptable to conduct performance review meeting with your employees without sending them a prior notification about it. Performance reviews require both the managers and employees to be prepared. Remember that the agenda of the whole process is not just for you to assess their performance but also to find out what could be done to improve it.

Delaying Or Cancelling Performance Reviews

Annual performance reviews are abandoned by many organizations and are ignored at a few others. While annual performance reviews aren’t exactly seen as an accurate way to evaluate performance, you cannot delay or cancel these reviews without replacing it with a different structure for employee feedback. If you feel that annual performance reviews are too much, then replace them with frequent mini-reviews. Cancelling performance reviews, while your employees’ promotions, salaries and OKRs depend on them isn’t very ideal.

Not Acknowledging Accomplishments

Lot of managers underestimate the amount of damage this practice can cause to their employees. The purpose of employee performance reviews isn’t just to tell employees how they failed but also to acknowledge and recognize their accomplishments. As a manager, it is expected of you to recognize and reward good work. Utilize this opportunity to identify their areas of strengths and make use of these strengths to improve your organizational productivity.

Focusing On Recent Events

This is one of the most common issues faced in annual performance reviews. Managers tend to review with a recency bias. It is important to be accurate with the evaluation, particularly when employee compensation is tied to their performance reviews. As a manager it is important for you to do your homework about your employees’ past work and have a clear idea before reviewing their performance, eliminating the scope for any recency bias.

Non-data Based Assessment

Never base your employee performance evaluation on your own personal judgement. Always check for data and numbers from the past. Set goals and objectives for your employees and see how they accomplished them. Setting OKRs for employees helps you assess the performance of your employees based on concrete data.

Also read: Goal Setting – A Guide For Organizations To Succeed With OKRs

Spending More Time On Performance Appraisals And Not On Managing Performance

Most managers forget that performance reviews aren’t just about the appraisals and compensation but also about managing employee performance and discussing about their plan for future. So, don’t just focus on the appraisals but also discuss and decide on how you plan to help your employees improve their performance in the future.


One of the most common mistakes that managers do during performance reviews is that they compare different employees on the same job levels and decide their compensation or promotion based on the analysis. Unfortunately, this practice demoralizes employees and they will never be able to discuss their future plans about their performance or career with their managers. This can also breed unwanted competition at the workplace.

One-Way Communication

Performance review is supposed to be a healthy discussion between the managers and employees. Managers usually tend to just ask employees to fill in the performance evaluation forms, get it signed and not bother about giving or receiving feedback. This practice is demoralizing and yields no positive result. If you want your employees to improve themselves and contribute to organizational productivity, encourage your employees to speak up and give feedback.