The Beauty of 3-Month Performance Reviews

The Beauty of 3-Month Performance Reviews

Some people anxiously await reviews with sweaty palms and stuttering sentences. On the flip side, reviews can be approached with a cool state of calm and even excitement.

Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.

While some believe reviews are “an evil that must be destroyed like a blood-sucking vampire,” there are ways to effectively discuss performance. Here’s an outline of what our 3-month reviews look like at 9 Clouds, and how they could work for your business.

Responsibilities and Requirements

This is a great opportunity to reiterate the responsibilities and requirements of the position. Are they still accurate or do those bullet points need some tweaking? This will especially help if you need to hire more people for that specific position. Go over the responsibilities and requirements and ask your employee if they think anything needs to be changed.

Then look at the hours per responsibility. If you itemize hours per task or per project, report that break down and go over efficiency. What is sucking most of the time? How can you adjust that for the next three months?


Recognition is a great way to fuel the fire. You might be too busy to tell them on a case-by-case basis but use this time to show your appreciation for their hard work. Even introverts need assurance that they are on the right path and performing well. Try to pull specific instances of exceptional performance. A general “keep up the good work” will not cut it. Did they handle a client’s meltdown with grace and some extra elbow grease? Let them know you noticed!

Areas of Development

Keep it honest. Where does your employee need to improve? Chances are, they already know their weak points but you might shed light on some new areas to improve. Talk through why they need to develop and how they can meet expectations. Make sure to follow up on these points during the next review.

Professional Goals

Make the list short and sweet. The goals must be obtainable, but not low-hanging fruit that will take them two minutes to accomplish. It would also be wise to attach some sort of reward to the goals. What would motivate your employee to strive for these goals? We typically place monetary incentives on goals or extra time off. If there is not some reward at the finish line, the goals hold little value for employees. Make it worth the extra effort.

Personal Goals

This might seem a bit strange and far-reaching, but it’s a great way to get to know your team better. Co-workers spend 40+ hours together every week, so why not help each other with personal goals? This does not need incentives, but casually asking about them is a helpful reminder that you care about their personal development.

For instance, I used to commute 30 minutes to work every day so I made the personal goal to use that time to listen to podcasts. My managers gave me podcast suggestions and would ask what I had listened to every once in a while. It was a nice little nudge to keep my goals on track.

Reviews can be intimidating and a complete waste of time, but they don’t have to be. Take the time to do them regularly, not just on an annual basis.  There is no reason for reviews to turn ugly and become bloodsuckers. To get started, follow our outline above or create your own forward-thinking review checklist.

Want to learn more ways to improve business and office culture? Read more of our articles below.