Atterro Workforce Solutions

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What Employee Reviews & Fruitcake Have In Common


It’s a joke among human resource professionals that reviews are like fruitcake. They come once a year… whether you want them or not. All jokes aside, annual employee review time is quickly approaching. Employee reviews – when done right – are powerful tools for your business and your staff.

While the do’s and don’ts list for fruitcake includes just one item (read: don’t eat it), we do have a few suggestions for conducting effective employee reviews:


  • Outline the agenda and purpose. To make the process more comfortable and less stressful, be upfront about why you are conducting annual reviews and what format you’ll be following.
  • Ensure the format of the form is appropriate. Some formats are better than others for certain jobs. There’s no one-size-fits all form.
  • Gather feedback from peers. Don’t limit the feedback you provide to your own experiences.
  • Set goals for the coming year. Employees need to understand expectations in order to be successful. Create an action plan for the future. Talk about the skills and experience needed to meet these goals.
  • Turn off phones and hold calls. Avoid distractions. Employees deserve your undivided attention.


  • Surprise your employee. Don’t wait for the annual review to share feedback, whether positive or negative. Feedback needs to be given throughout the year.
  • Do all the talking. A review should be a two-way street. Allow the employee to analyze and evaluate their work performance. Provide a self-review form to streamline this process.
  • Evaluate traits. Personal traits – such as leadership, motivation, and attitude – are subjective and difficult to measure. Instead focus on behaviors and results.
  • Discuss only recent events. Keep the entire review period in mind during the review, not just the past few weeks or months.
  • Meet just once per year. If you’re not already meeting regularly with your employees one-on-one, create a plan to meet monthly or quarterly.

Understandably, the review process can be daunting, but there are ways to make it significantly better –and certainly more welcome than fruitcake.

Looking for additional assistance with staffing or performance reviews? Connect with us today!