5 Practical Tips for Performance Review Follow-Up

5-Must-Haves-in-an-Employee-Performance-Improvement-PlanThe annual employee performance review is no longer an ideal solution to evaluate employee performance. It's slow, outdated, and unable to keep up with the fast-paced nature of the modern workplace.

Take a moment to think about how much has changed in your life, both personally and professionally, over the last year. What affected your performance last year may be drastically different now. Your motivations, career aspirations, and how you view your role have likely changed over time.


Download: Performance Review Checklist for Effective Performance Conversations

The same is true for employees, which is why annual performance reviews don’t work. Discussions shouldn’t end when performance meetings do—the follow-up is just as important as preparing for and conducting the conversation. Consistent follow-up allows managers to work alongside employees, helping them overcome performance challenges while holding them accountable for agreed-upon goals.


Why is employee performance review follow-up important?


The follow-up to your performance review is just as important as the review itself. It helps you ensure that employees are carrying out your feedback and tips in their day-to-day efforts. It also keeps employees and managers aligned and encourages two-way conversation about employee goals, progress, and performance.

Employees need your support to execute their plans, and a performance review follow-up helps you problem-solve around roadblocks that employees face. In addition, you can stay updated with your employees’ progress—or lack of it—to make important business decisions. Your follow-up strategy will encourage employee buy-in, accountability, and execution, to maximize growth.


5 tips for effective follow-up

1. Take notes.

After the performance review meeting is over, your points of interest should stay top of mind for effective follow-up. That’s why taking notes during your conversation is important. Your notes will serve as a guide that outlines key takeaways and next steps. They can help you formulate your follow-up email and give insight into future coaching opportunities. 


2. Track individual goals and how they impact team performance.

If an employee is meeting or exceeding their goals, recognize their achievements to motivate continued strong performance. If the employee is falling short, talk with them about why their goals aren’t being met. Are there roadblocks preventing success? Is something outside of work impacting their job performance? Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate performance and construct an employee performance improvement plan.


3. Keep the conversation going.

The needs of employees and businesses constantly evolve, and managers need to keep pace with these changes. Strive to understand what’s impacting each employee’s performance, both positively and negatively. Periodically checking in with employees gives you an objective view of each employee’s current status. Show interest in an individual’s success to build the relationship and create trust


4. Be approachable.

As situations change, employee goals and projects may need to be adjusted accordingly. Employees should be encouraged to discuss potential adjustments with you. Create a culture where employees feel comfortable bringing up comments or concerns based on the changing environment.


5. Check in with other team members.

You can’t be expected to keep up with the day-to-day workings of every employee. Draw feedback from other team members to gain a well-rounded view of employee performance and how teammates interact with each other. It can be difficult to give and receive feedback, but you want to create a culture where employees can be open and direct with each other and take constructive criticism without bruising egos.


What is the best format to give performance review follow-up?


While your in-person performance review follow-up is important, written follow-up can be highly effective too. And a great way to provide your written feedback is through email. By leveraging this format, you can document your conversation in writing and reiterate your expectations. Leaders and their employees can align on initiatives, and employees can hold themselves accountable with concrete, easily accessible plans. Your email serves as a great reference tool as employees work toward improvement.


Benefits of a performance review follow-up email


  • Outlines expectations in writing for future reference.
    Employee accountability is the key to making your performance reviews successful. When managers put their key takeaways and expectations in writing, it’s much easier for employees to stay accountable and engaged. An effective follow-up email summarizes key-points to reference when employees lack direction. 
  • Gives employees a chance to reflect, compile a response, ask questions, and provide input.
    Some employees struggle to respond on the spot. They may simply agree with you without sharing their complete feelings. But by providing a follow-up email, you give employees a chance to compose their thoughts to make suggestions or ask questions. This increases employee buy-in and alignment moving forward.
  • Provides clarity and detail around your expectations.
    While your in-person performance review is important, employees often seek clarity from a written document. And a follow-up email is an effective way to ensure that no components of your conversation are forgotten or misunderstood.  


Performance review follow-up email template


As a manager, your plate is probably full. You know that a follow-up to your performance reviews is important, but you’re looking for ways to make the process quicker. By leveraging a performance review follow-up template, you can efficiently compose your emails without missing any key points. 

Consider using a straightforward email template like this to simplify your follow-up process:


Dear [Name],


Thank you for time [today/date]. [As mentioned/I thought] a written summary would be helpful for both of us 

The purpose of our meeting was to discuss: [I, issue, the outcome]. 

We agreed [resolutions: who, what, when by].

We will meet again to discuss your progress on [follow up date]

Please let me know your thoughts on this reflection by [date- typically a week]


[Sign off]


Ready to make the most out of your performance reviews? Ensure nothing gets lost in your performance conversations with our Performance Review Checklist.

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Published December 2, 2021 | Written By Kristin Ryba