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When tick-box performance reviews are the sign of a great team.

I’ve had quite a few performance reviews over the years and have developed what might be seen as an unconventional perspective: I believe ‘performance reviews’ should be as straightforward as a tick-box activity. If they’re not, there is a serious issue.

The sign of a high-performance team is when formal review element is quick, concise and happens with minimum employee preparation or thought. This can only happen when conversations with our team members are transparent, two-way and consistent.

The fundamental concept here is that important conversations should not be waiting until the designated time slot to be happening. Critical conversations between you and your team, and within your team, should be happening all the time.

Got something good to say? Share it.

Got an issue to raise? Address it.

Got an idea to try? Implement it.

If you wait until the formal performance review, you have waited too long.

I’m not advocating for the end of performance reviews. They serve a crucial purpose in setting objectives and enabling individuals to know what they are contributing to the achievement of the company’s key overall objective. It’s also common knowledge how incredibly useful it is to write down goals.

What I am advocating for is teams championing a culture of habitual effective communication. When performance reviews are about setting objectives at the beginning of the year, and signing off at the end, they’re fulfilling their purpose in the best way.

When your team come into the room needing to supply evidence of what they’ve spent their year doing, or they’re one of only a handful of times you speak to your team, and they’re only focussed on looking back they are ineffective. There should be no apprehension before, and no surprises in a performance meeting.

The time for giving feedback is at the soonest appropriate opportunity.

The time to check in on actions and tasks is at planned or impromptu check-ins, before the deadline, or when someone reaches out for support.

When you cultivate a team who have confidence in their abilities and contributions, as well as trust in each other, they make the task of conducting performance reviews one of the simplest, most straightforward tick-box exercises for managers.

If you want to learn more about transforming your team communications to the point where performance reviews become a breeze, don’t hesitate to reach out to me at


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