How to implement a performance review process (+ template)

June 14, 2023

Apparently Google searches for “what to talk about at work” are on the rise, so here are a few topics for you to choose from: the Denver Nuggets’s NBA Finals victory, the new Spider-Verse movie, your favorite business process — you know, normal things.

Hot off the SMB press this week: 

  • What the start of your business playbook journey actually looks like.
  • A template for facilitating performance evaluations.
  • Then, the details on how you should implement performance reviews.
  • Plus, the best ways to get employees invested in documenting processes.


The first steps to creating a winning business playbook

You’re probably familiar with the business playbook at this point — we definitely talk about it enough. (And if you’re new, welcome! Learn everything about the business playbook with our free masterclass.)

That means you have a good idea of why having one is so crucial to your overall business success and any dreams you have of scaling. But you may be wondering how you should start. Every business out there has its complexities, and documenting everything can seem like an incredibly daunting task. So, where do you begin?

How To Build a Business Playbook chapter 2 video click.

Here's where you can start:

  • Prioritize documenting the processes that need to be done consistently and the ones you need to delegate. You can continue to experiment with the rest.
  • Collaborate with your team. You probably don’t know everything that goes on in your business, so rely on your people to contribute.
  • The best form of documentation is the one you’ll actually do — whether that’s text, video, or photos and screenshots.

Interested in learning more? Then you'll want to check out chapter 2 of the “How To Build a Business Playbook” masterclass, which outlines exactly what you need to do to get on the path to building your winning business playbook.

👉 Access the full masterclass now.


Template of the week: Facilitating Performance Evaluations Process

Facilitating Performance Evaluations banner

Picture this: It’s time for Employee A’s performance review. Manager A goes down a list of every mistake they made during the past quarter — and action items to perform better in the future. They leave feeling discouraged and taken for granted. Why didn’t they get commended for any of their accomplishments? Now, it’s Employee B’s turn. Manager B applauds them for their contributions and quality work. They leave feeling appreciated, but confused on their next steps. What are they supposed to improve?

Now, why did Employee A and Employee B have such different performance review experiences? It’s not because one’s a better worker than the other, or because they’re in different roles. It’s because their managers were following vastly different processes.

Employees across your org will have varying responsibilities, goals, and key metrics. But their performance reviews should be consistent and cover the same areas of feedback, including skill and contribution assessments, recognition, and areas of improvement (just to name a few). 

👉 Establish consistency across your business with our Facilitating Performance Reviews Process template. It covers example questions to assist employees with their self-reflection during the review, and outlines expectations for manager preparation, discussion, documentation, and follow-up. 

Want more templates to help you build your business playbook? Check out our entire template archive of free, multimedia-enhanced, and customizable policy, process, and role starters. New to Trainual? Try for free.


5 tips for getting employees to document processes

Have we said it enough?
We’ll keep shouting it from the rooftops until every business leader knows the truth: You need documentation to grow your business. 

Yes, it is a huge investment of your time (although these days, AI cuts down that time drastically), but prioritizing documentation helps streamline your operations and increase your revenue. And it’s not something you have to do by yourself — documenting your processes, policies, and company profile should be done in collaboration with the members of your team.

And if you’re wondering, “How do I get my team on board?”...
We talked to one of the professionals — Trainual certified consultant Adi Klevit, who has helped hundreds of businesses grow using processes — and she had five simple ways to motivate employees and make sure you get the best results from your documentation:

1. Show employees it’s okay to document step by step.
Documenting the details of your business is not an overnight project. If you can remind your employees that it’s an ongoing activity and perfection is not the goal, you can motivate them to just start.

Try to get a big win in the initial stages of your documentation: Ask your team to think about their most critical tasks (or the ones with the most hiccups) and begin there. Your employees will see the results of that standardization and reap the biggest rewards on that initial investment of time and effort. 

This way, they start with the low-hanging fruit, experience the benefits, and stay motivated to document. Then, they can gradually continue documenting more and more processes.

And when you use a process documentation platform like Trainual, you can always start documenting and save your work to come back to later. That way, your employees can get over the hurdle of starting, and they can finish their documentation in their own time.

👉 Get the rest of Adi’s tips.


Improve your performance review process with these tips

Are performance reviews important? (Hint: Yes.)
Employee reviews often include an assessment of each team member’s performance — including their ability to collaborate and communicate, produce quality and accurate work, accomplish goals, and meet deadlines. When employees are given actionable feedback on how they’re doing in these areas, they’ll grow with every passing review cycle. In turn, they’ll produce better work for your business.

Without consistent feedback, team members can face low engagement, stifled growth, and toxic positivity. One Gallup study even showed that those who don’t receive strengths feedback have 14.9% higher turnover rates than those who do.

So, if you’ve been keeping performance reviews on the back burner, you’ll want to consider scooching them up to the front. Here are six tips for conducting useful performance reviews:

1. Provide regular, informal feedback to employees
Whether you do annual, quarterly, or monthly review cycles, they shouldn’t be the only time you give your team feedback. Otherwise, what’s discussed in the formal review will feel like a complete surprise.

Woman scaring another woman.

Instead, foster a high-feedback culture where your team gives regular direct-report, peer, and upward feedback. This helps employees understand how they might be falling behind in real time, and lays a foundation for improvement discussions in the formal review process. 

2. Use tangible, pertinent examples during the performance review.
Take notes on each of your direct reports so you come prepared to each review with clear examples of what they did well (and not so well). When you can point to specifics of how they are (or aren’t) meeting certain key performance areas, it helps them understand how to carry out their responsibilities in the future. (Plus, it shows them that yes, you do pay attention!)

👉 See all six tips.


This week's highlight reel

  • Fill ‘em up. Cheez-It took the mantle of the ultimate gas station snack with their latest campaign: a pop-up gas stop in Joshua Tree National Park, with a pump that sprayed their iconic red snack bags. Sadly, the stop was only open for a week — we’ll have to source our “Greetings from the Cheez-It Stop” postcards elsewhere. 
  • Big Hart. Comedian Kevin Hart is giving back to the community in a big way: His tequila company Gran Coramino recently partnered with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to award $500K in grants to 50 Black or Latinx-owned small businesses based in the U.S. And here’s more good news: The company will be opening a grant program for entrepreneurs in Mexico later this year.
  • Easy peasy. Writing ad copy is becoming easier than ever. Following Meta’s launch of AI-based tools for advertisement campaigns, LinkedIn is releasing their own AI-powered Campaign Manager feature, which will help advertisers with copy suggestions. Saving you time to use other AI-powered tools that save you even more time!
  • Pitchforks at the ready. The insurance company Farmers Group is dealing with some heavy internal backlash after their new CEO announced a new mandatory hybrid-work policy — one that counteracts the fully remote work policy that some employees assumed had been a “permanent change.” Just goes to show that no matter where you fall on the remote vs. in-office debate, backtracking on any sort of “permanent” policy is just asking for trouble.

Organize the chaos
of your small business