5 Tips for Conducting Performance Reviews with High Performers

Category: Management/Leadership
Author Name: TrainingABC
Posted: 08-31-2022 06:18 PM
Views: 1225
Synopsis: Learn how to conduct effective performance appraisals for your high-performing employees.  

When performance review season comes around, which it does every year, managers and employees alike designate a significant amount of time to the review process. Often, employees are tasked with providing a self-review while their managers conduct reviews for each of their team members. Then, the manager sits down with each team member to comb through the two perspectives together, aligning on goals and objectives for the upcoming year.


While the performance review process can be fruitful for employees who are disengaged or struggling, managers often struggle with how to approach performance reviews with their highest-performing employees. In fact, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, 2/3 of performance management processes fail to offer value to high-performing employees. It’s critical that leadership teams address the needs of all their employees, even the ones that seem to be “checking every box.” To ensure productive performance reviews with high performers, follow the tips below:


Emphasize the “How”


When it comes to evaluating the goals your high performer set the year before, you’ll probably find that they reached, and often exceeded those goals. However, if you don’t look at how they achieved those goals, you’re doing them a disservice. Did they complete a project requirement by overworking the team and creating burnout? Did they fail to delegate, take on too much, and end up with a bad work/life balance? Remember, just because goals were met does not mean that the method for meeting them has no room for improvement.


Actively Involve the Employee


It’s very common for organizations to conduct reviews after asking the employee to evaluate themselves, and this can be especially helpful for high performers. High performers are usually harder on themselves than anyone else, so they often provide incredible insight into their improvement areas.


Get Creative with Goal Setting


There’s an ever-present risk that management teams will pile more and more onto their high performers because they are more likely to succeed under pressure. However, it’s imperative that you watch for burnout, and instead of assigning more work, aim to expose high performers to different work than they normally do. If they are great analysts, there is probably room for improvement in how they create and give presentations. The answer to challenging these individuals is not to drown them with work, but rather, to expose them to new opportunities.


Gather Input from Peers and Collaborators


Even the best managers only see a portion of what their employees do, but teammates and stakeholders will see a different side than management can. Make it a normal part of the review process for everyone on your team to identify 2-4 people that they work with regularly to provide feedback. Not only will this create a holistic review, but it will give your entire team the opportunity to construct helpful, meaningful feedback for their teammates. Growth is a team effort!


Follow-Up Regularly


It can be easy to fail high performers and only provide feedback during review season, but this is actually a huge disservice to their development. Just because they do well throughout the year does not mean that they don’t have areas where they need to improve. You should be investing in the development of your high-performing employees just as much as the other employees on your team.


Focusing on Cultivating a Team Dynamic of Ongoing Growth


At the end of the day, performance reviews are just one aspect of employee development. Your entire team, no matter their performance levels, should be getting (and giving!) regular feedback openly. With honest, constructive conversations integrated into your operations, your team can help their colleagues improve a little bit every day!



  1. https://lattice.com/library/how-to-give-top-performers-feedback
  2. https://www.quantumworkplace.com/future-of-work/13-performance-review-tips-that-actually-improve-employee-performance
  3. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5760-write-good-performance-review.html
  4. https://blog.clearcompany.com/giving-feedback-high-performers
  5. https://www.myshortlister.com/insights/performance-management-statistics

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