An employee performance review, sometimes called a performance appraisal or performance evaluation, is an official assessment of a worker's work over a defined period of time. In an employee performance appraisal, managers assess the overall performance of the individual, assess their individual strengths and weaknesses, give appropriate feedback, and assist them in establishing plans to improve. The purpose of this type of review is to maximize the productive output of the employee. Unfortunately, many companies are reluctant to use this process, probably because they are not aware of the benefits it can have. But before reviewing what to expect during an employee performance appraisal, it is necessary to understand what is meant by the term. And the following guide briefly defines the types of evaluations made during an employee performance appraisal. Evaluation Forms. These forms are typically provided by the human resources department and can be very specific and lengthy. They should contain questions about the employees' job duties, accomplishments, skills, aptitudes, and preferences. In addition, the forms may require information about the employees' supervisors, the functions performed, and other important information needed by the managers. While providing employees with written evaluations is desirable, in some cases, such information is not enough to determine whether employees are meeting company goals. Employee Performance Feedback. Through employee performance reviews, the human resources department provides employees constructive feedback about their performance. The feedback provided by performance reviews is intended to foster the overall development and success, as well as identifying gaps in performance that must be closed and ways to ensure that employees are maintaining consistent, quality performance. Employee Performance Evaluations. Through employee performance reviews, management can monitor how employees are developing and improving. Such assessments may be conducted at the beginning of the year, a few months after an evaluation has been made, or every six months or so. While feedback from performance reviews is helpful for managers to identify gaps in understanding and for employees to develop and improve, HR professionals must make sure that an evaluation is not too subjective in order to be effective. Appropriate Team Building Activities and Opportunities. Human resources professionals recommend that managers take steps to ensure that performance reviews are as objective as possible. In addition, such reviews should provide opportunities for team members to "buy-in" and participate in various activities that will strengthen their bond with each other. Managers should ensure that any team building activities and opportunities provided to employees are not counterproductive to the efforts of the company but will help employees develop a sense of belonging and create a positive work environment. Objectives of the Performance Review Process. After reviewing the feedback and determining what needs to be done, HR professionals should establish objectives for the review process. If the objectives are aligned with the objectives of the company, performance reviews may proceed according to this framework. However, if the objectives are at odds with the employee's goals for development as a performer or individual, it may be necessary to conduct the review in a less ordered and structured manner to get the desired results. Employee Performance appraisal process. It is not uncommon for managers to use performance reviews as a form of employee appraisal process. However, using this practice can have a host of consequences, including negatively impacting an employee's performance and chances for future success. In addition, using the appraisal process as a tool for evaluating employees often leads to counterproductive outcomes as well. Employee performance reviews should be conducted in an honest and candid manner. Any gaps in communication between management and employees should be addressed, if possible. Likewise, managers should offer employees any feedback they may need during the review time, such as opportunities for training, clarification on ambiguous terms, or an explanation of the feedback and why it is being given. Managers should allow employees to give feedback without micromanaging or penalizing them for their responses. Finally, management should ensure that feedback is provided in writing so that there is no question as to whether or not employees understand what they are being told or whether the feedback is being taken seriously.