Companies typically use performance management processes as a tool for reviewing goals and determining if specific objectives have been met. They’re not all the same and in fact, different companies have different processes with very specific reasons why. For example, multinational global companies may need to have complex programs in place because the information must transfer over to different cultures and countries. In some cases, the process may be user friendly, easy to understand but not very personalized. Other companies forego the formal process, choosing to have a more relaxed, informal method because it’s a good fit with the overall culture of the organization. Despite the style of the process, there are two very specific elements that every performance management process needs to be effective: continuous communication and action.

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Continuous Communication

One of the most important elements of every performance management process, regardless of size, is that it has to be communicated effectively and continuously. In other words, the process must always be focused on the future and on the development and growth of the employee, not just the company. All of the goals or measurements that are used in the process need to directly tie the employee’s objectives to the company’s strategy in order to be effective.

For instance, a company sets objectives for an employee expecting that he or she will achieve them over the course of the year. They have an annual performance review to see if the specific objectives have been met and how successful the employee has been at achieving them over the year. For that to work, that employee needs to know how the work he is doing is actually going to affect the company, his department and him personally. It’s critical for there to be tie in; otherwise, the document and process is meaningless.

Your annual performance review is coming and you’ve been psyching yourself up for weeks. You know you’ve done some great work over the past year, but you’re having difficulty recalling and organizing it. You want to remind your manager of your achievements, but you’re not entirely sure you should bring it up. These are pretty common concerns and you’re not alone if you’re wondering what steps you should be taking to ensure you go into your performance review prepared and confident to discuss your past and present performance.

The performance review serves a purpose not only for managers and decision makers, but also for employees. It’s a tool for tracking your progress and moving you forward in the most advantageous way possible. If you have a performance review in your future, here are a few tips for preparing ahead of time that will help you get the most out of the process:

Have a Plan

The main problem with an annual performance review is that often, it’s difficult to recall in perfect detail what happened over a year ago. For many people, just remembering what happened in the past few days is a challenge. Significant events can be tough to remember, which is why it’s critical to come up with a creative plan for tracking details more effectively. With potentially thousands of emails and documents streaming through day-to-day operations, it’s tough to sift through every piece of data. Make a plan for tracking relevant information, both from the employee and manager’s side more actively and make the conversation more effective in the future.

Come Prepared 

As an employee, you need to be just as prepared as those reviewing your performance. That means taking all that information you’ve been tracking on what’s been going on over the past year and presenting it in a meaningful way. It could be a glowing recommendation you received from a client, a discussion, an email or a simple conversation that you feel is relevant. If you’ve been assigned long term goals, be prepared to discuss the specific objectives you’ve reached along the way and any changes you’ve made affecting the overall strategy.

Think of It as a Useful Tool

Remember, the performance review is a collaborative discussion about how well the past year went. It’s not a personal attack, but a chance to talk about what worked, what didn’t work and what could be used as a model moving forward. The more you can intelligently bring to the table during the review, the better. It’s also a smart strategy to update your resume every couple of years, and a performance review can be a valuable tool for helping you accurately reflect your progress. Your resume is a calling card for your personal achievements and an important part of who you are as an employee. The performance review will help you keep it current and accurate.


A performance management process, regardless of if it’s conducted on a semi-annual, quarterly or annual time frame, cannot be stuck up on a shelf off the beaten path. Rather, it must be an organic, relevant and actionable document that is being reviewed on a fairly regular basis. Even if it is revisited informally, employees must be able to see the progress as it takes shape. The action takes place as specific objectives: steps in the process of achieving larger goals.

Effective Performance Management

If an employee has expressed an interest in getting a certain resource or a particular type of training for example, and the manager takes that information, files it away and never looks at it, employee engagement levels plummets. On the other hand, if management doesn’t see any action coming from the employee towards achieving objectives as described in the plan, then he doesn’t see any value from the process. It must be a living document for it to be effective, with mutually dependent participation.

So, to reiterate, even though performance management comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes, depending on the specific organizational needs and perhaps even culture, they all must have two critical elements to be successful: continuous communication and action. By creating that tie in for employees by making it meaningful and making certain the document is leading to action- both from management and the employee – the performance management process can be a very useful and effective tool.


About the author: I’m Linda S. Davis, a business coach. I’m a tutor for apprentices who are elaborating and maintaining their own business strategies. Besides, I like writing so I prefer to spend my spare time working for 500 word essay service. In this case, I have an opportunity to share my experience with others.