Performance reviews are an important aspect of the performance management process. They provide an opportunity to reflect on the past and look toward the future. But more than that, they help your team members simultaneously reach their career goals while contributing toward achieving your organizational goals.

Despite the benefits, performance management reviews have earned a bad reputation over the years. Team members and managers alike dread them, because they can be time-consuming and awkward for both parties. And when done incorrectly, they can actually hurt performance, morale, and engagement. If this sounds like your organization, it might be time to consider modernizing your review process. Here are a few types of modern performance management reviews you may want to consider.


As the name suggests, self-assessments empower team members to evaluate themselves in predetermined key areas. For example, they might prompt team members to highlight their accomplishments, measure their progress toward goals, and identify areas for professional development. 

This exercise brings a valuable, first-person perspective to the performance management process. Your team members are the best equipped to understand their own strengths, weaknesses, aspirations, and limitations. Use those to develop a strengths-based development plan for each team member, so you can continue to have a mutually beneficial partnership. As your organization helps each team member grow professionally, you also reap the benefits of a more skilled, tenured workforce.

Of course, some team members will overestimate their skills, abilities, and accomplishments, while others will underestimate them. Managers should have candid, transparent conversations with their team members around self-assessments to help ensure both perspectives align.

Direct manager review

The direct manager review, in which managers evaluate their team members, is the most traditional performance review. Managers typically answer predetermined questions about their team members. They might also provide ratings in key areas in order to quantitatively measure their team member’s performance, which can help with awarding fair merit-based raises and tracking progress toward performance goals. 

Direct manager reviews have traditionally been completed once a year, but modern organizations are finding that they’re more effective when done at shorter intervals. This could mean quarterly or project-based reviews, with continuous feedback offered between formal reviews. A more frequent cadence can encourage ongoing recognition, coaching, progress discussions, and goal setting. In turn, these can improve team member motivation and engagement. It can also combat recency bias, in which managers only remember recent accomplishments or mistakes.

360 reviews

The 360 review combines the self-assessment and direct manager review with additional perspectives for a well-rounded view. This might include reviews from direct reports, colleagues, company leaders, vendors, and even customers. These various perspectives can help identify additional areas for development, which the team member or manager may not have considered. They may also surface additional areas for recognition, of which the manager was not aware and the team member was too humble to mention.

These reviews can be especially useful for company leaders, as they may spend more time working with their team members and peers than they do with their own managers. Getting the perspective of each managers’ direct reports can help them become better people managers, while getting feedback from their peers can improve collaboration among teams.

Performance Management Software

Pulse reviews

Pulse reviews are another modern way to provide employee performance feedback. Much like an employee Pulse survey can provide you with a quick snapshot of team member satisfaction and engagement, a Pulse review can provide team members with a quick snapshot of their performance. 

Pulse reviews are much shorter than the average review, but take place more frequently. This allows the manager and their team members to stay in lockstep with regard to performance, goal achievement, and development opportunities.

There’s not a set way to do this, so experiment to find what works best for your organization. Some teams might run 5-10 question surveys monthly, while others might choose to run 20+ question surveys quarterly. 

Final thoughts on performance management reviews

Modern performance management reviews are a great way to humanize the performance management process and get more from it. Get feedback from your team to learn what they think of reviews, and how you can improve them. Then consider how a different approach might help you get there. As the world of work evolves, so too must our processes.

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Top Types of Performance Management Reviews