Performance Development Reviews – Key Points for Employers

Every year, companies have the arduous task of carrying out performance development reviews for the staff.

The process is often incredibly stressful for both managers and their employees by adding another task on their “to-do” list, but the Performance Development Review should be seen as a highly rewarding interaction by both.

Performance Development Reviews are there to provide the opportunity to reflect upon an employee’s overall performance against their individual development plan agreed at the previous review.

Here are some questions employers should consider to facilitate a more engaging, effective, and beneficial performance development review process for all involved.

What is the purpose of your Performance Development Review process and what are you trying to achieve?

Companies need to determine whether the Performance Development Review is just part of the salary review process, as performance is often a key driver for pay increases, or whether it is actually more than this.

It should also  be the opportunity for the company to set clear performance objectives or goals for employees and to enable feedback from both parties on the potential performance targets, any development/training needs and career aspirations.

How frequently do you conduct review discussions? 

Normally, an annual performance development review should be conducted for all employees where an assessment of the employee’s performance over the review period can be undertaken, identifying any development/training needs and setting new goals/objectives for the next review period.  It is often beneficial if a mid-point review can also be conducted which will enable both parties to determine whether the employee is on track towards meeting their goals/objectives and to offer support or advice and, most importantly, motivation if needed.  A mid-point review is normally less labour intensive but the benefits for the company and employees can be critical.

How often do you provide performance feedback to your employees?

Whilst the Performance Development Review will be the main opportunity to discuss employees’ performance, why leave offering feedback to only once or twice a year?  Most employees’ performance is improved by continuous feedback. Only providing feedback during their formal performance review discussions can limit your opportunities to advise and motivate staff and help improve their work performance. Employees  like to feel appreciated and regular feedback can do wonders for overall morale and employee well-being.

Employers are also encouraged to discuss areas of non-performance with their employees prior to a Performance Development Review.  This will ensure issues of non-performance can be dealt with by offering training and support straightaway without the element of surprise to the employee at their annual Performance Development Review. Discussing non-performance issues as they happen should signify the start of more constructive discussions with your employees and a focus on achievement and development planning.

What is your salary review process? 

Companies should ensure they are clear about salary reviews.  Employees often assume that salary reviews are linked to the Performance Development Review process. Perhaps you do review salaries based on the outcome of the Performance Development Review or perhaps you have an annual pay review that considers a variety of factors. If the Performance Development Review does directly affect pay reviews then it would be advisable to make this known to your employees so that they are aware of how they can improve their chances of a favourable pay review decision in their case.

How do you capture and use information discussed in Performance Development Reviews? 

Employees can often feel demotivated when information discussed at their Performance Development Review is not referred to again.  Any achievements should to be recorded together with any planned  actions required by the employer or employee.  These can then be monitored going forward and progress measured.  Documenting results and agreed actions in this way provide the company and the employee with an ongoing record and plan. This should help make the Performance Development Review process feel more worthwhile and motivate your staff.

What should I do now?

It might be beneficial to ask your employees what they think of the current Performance Development Review and whether they would suggest any improvements.  You can then consider their ideas with your current process and to see whether improvements can be made.

If you need any help or guidance in connection with your Performance Development Review process, please contact Heather Love at


Heather Love

Heather Love


Tel: +44 (0) 1483 411516

Office: Godalming Office