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PBM 101: Conducting a helpful employee performance review

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PBM 101: Conducting a helpful employee performance review

In this Principle Based Management 101 series, we’re unpacking mental models, ideas, and tools you can use to level up your work.

This article was previously published by Stand Together Foundation.

Principle Based Management™ provides a holistic approach to making decisions, solving problems, and creating value for individuals in your community, team members in your organization, and society at large. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​It is rooted in proven principles that have fueled the ongoing success of Stand Together and our partners. In this Principle Based Management 101 series, we’re unpacking mental models, ideas, and tools that you can use to reach the next level in your work.


As a part of ongoing employee development, we at Stand Together typically have at least one formal performance review annually. It's used to encourage and further develop an employee's contribution mindset while ensuring accountability (for both good and poor performance). 

Stand Together uses a 360-degree feedback approach which includes a self-evaluation and feedback from peers, key partners, supervisors, and direct reports (if applicable). This approach helps supervisors get a more complete picture of how an employee is performing.

Why to give feedback

Feedback can help others discover their strengths and limitations, develop skills and apply them in ways that increase their contribution. To increase organizational effectiveness, you must be willing to provide quality feedback to your co-workers (including your supervisor) on an on-going basis, not just at the end of the year. This is important because no matter how well someone is doing they can always improve and honest feedback gives individuals the best chance to grow. 

Tips when approaching feedback conversations:

  • Imagine you are receiving feedback. What few things are most important?
  • Be clear, direct, and honest. Weak and unclear feedback causes confusion and is a disservice to our co-workers.
  • Provide examples or context so the feedback is meaningful and helpful.
Gathering feedback

Feedback should be gathered and shared throughout the year. For the annual Feedback Summary, a supervisor solicits feedback from a small group who interact with the employee in different ways to gain a more complete view of the employee's performance. 

Tips when gathering feedback:

  • Seek feedback from those who can provide insight to help the employee develop and improve.
  • There is no specific number of reviewers required for a Feedback Summary.
  • Be thoughtful about the questions you ask. Customize questions to match the reviewer's interaction and relationship with the employee.
  • When gathering feedback from key partners, peers, and direct reports, consider having a conversation rather than only asking for written feedback.
  • Analyze the feedback; look for patterns and themes. Determine and summarize the appropriate message rather than sharing a compilation of all feedback.
Feedback summary

A Feedback Summary equips you to discuss performance for a given period (at least annually), encourage and further develop the employee's contribution mindset, and hold an employee accountable for contributing to your culture and advancing your vision. 

The written summary typically includes key contributions, development areas, and a forward-focused message about how the employee can improve contributions in the coming year(s). 

When summarizing your key message, consider:

  • Ongoing discussions you've already had throughout the year.
  • Contributions to responsibilities, other results, and culture.
  • Feedback from others.
  • Employee self-evaluation.

After sharing and discussing your Feedback Summary with an employee, consider:

  • Professional development discussions.
  • Updating or clarifying responsibilities and expectations.
  • A stretch assignment or role change.

Learn more about Principle Based Management and how it can help you transform your results.

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