How to Write a One Page Performance Review

In a performance review, a manager evaluates an employee. They offer feedback, identify areas of strength and those that need improvement.

In the review meeting, goals and targets for future performance will be outlined. Keeping the performance review brief, as brief as one page, can ensure that it delivers value to the employee, their manager and the entire business.

Companies carry out performance reviews periodically because this offers a chance to correct course quickly if need be and offer support in a timely manner.

Other benefits of performance reviews include:

  • Letting employees know what they are doing right and to encourage them to keep doing it
  • Giving employees a chance to seek clarity, voice concerns and ask for assistance
  • Remind employees of the broader company goals and how their work contributes to them
  • They facilitate employee development by providing some of the first data that can be used in designing employee development programs

It is customary to write a performance review in order to provide a record of what was discussed, and to track progress. This report can be a point of reference for both the employee and the manager. For this reason, amongst several others, it should be kept short.

Reasons to write a one page performance review

It is faster

It takes less time to conduct and respond to a one page performance review. Because participants don’t have to set aside a lot of time to do them, it encourages both managers and employees to embrace the process.

It allows you to relay relevant information

One page performance reviews can be done frequently and this allows managers to share current and relevant feedback. A one page performance review done once a month will be more effective than a longer review that is done only once a year.

They can double as an engagement tool

Feedback is one of the things managers should put at the fore front if they are seeking to both maintain and improve engagement amongst employees. Short and frequent reviews offer managers a chance to give feedback.

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A quick point of reference

Employees can quickly pull up their copy of their one page performance review if they need a reminder of what they need to focus on. They can track their own progress and these documents can be powerful tools in a larger performance review or a salary review.

They get to the gist of the matter

A short review will be specific, leaving no room for vagueness or assumptions. This helps both the manager and the employee give information that is actionable.

What to include in the performance review

Different industries will measure performance basing on different parameters. In addition to those specific measures, most will review the following skills:

  • Quality of work
  • Attendance or punctuality
  • Ability to meet goals and deadlines
  • Team work
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving ability


employee performance review
Image: Pexels

Writing the one page performance review

Depending on the preferences of the organisation, the grading system for the review can be numerical, 0 to 5, involve alphabetical choices, ask for written responses or even be some combination of the three.

A performance review can involve feedback from a self-evaluation as well as evaluation from a manager of their employee.

Be specific

The review should cover specific areas like employee behaviour, achievements and their contribution to the larger organisational goals. Rate the employee on each of these areas and give clear feedback for improvement or congratulate them on a job well done.

Keep feedback constructive

Feedback should focus on correcting, improving or advising. For instance, “This was not done well” could be replaced with “Consider using this system to ease the flow of information.” This ensures that employees find the reviews beneficial.

Use examples

Brief doesn’t mean the performance review should be vague. In fact, for a one page performance review to be beneficial, it needs to be very clear.

If you are happy with how an employee resolved a particular conflict, articulate that. Saying, “Well done on your use of the company’s 5 step resolution conflict with a customer this month” is clearer than giving 5 stars on the ‘Conflict resolution’ metric.

It is helpful to tailor the review template to a specific department and not use the same one across the entire organisation.

Compare with previous reviews

If the employee has been with you for a while and you have done reviews before, reference them. If there were areas that had been highlighted for change, comment on if the desired action has been undertaken or not. If an issue is recurring, it should not be ignored.

Balance the negative and positive: try the sandwich approach

It is unlikely that an employee has done everything wrong in the period under review. As such, make sure to point out what they have done right as well and where you have noticed improvement. This will motivate and encourage employees.

Let the job description guide you

In writing a one page performance review, look to the employee job description. It highlights exactly what an employee is supposed to do and will be a good measuring stick for how they have performed. Referencing it can also serve as a gentle reminder to employees about their roles.

Be holistic

Even though a one page performance review is carried out periodically, take the bigger picture of an employees’ performance into consideration. Having done extremely well or extremely badly in the last week shouldn’t completely erase the trend you have been noticing with the employee.

Adding that their performance has improved from the last months or that it has slipped from what it has been previously can also be helpful feedback

In Summary

A one page performance review is a helpful tool in improving productivity and engagement. Managers should remember to do these brief reviews periodically. It is important to keep the process two way, allowing for an interaction between manager and employee. During this conversation, both parties can make a plan for the near future.

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald Ainomugisha

Gerald is a freelance writer with a pen that is keen for entrepreneurship, business and technology. When he isn't writing insightful articles on employee engagement and corporate culture, Gerald can be found writing for a number of media outlets.