How to prepare an annual review as a manager

Ever wondered how to conduct or complete an annual review? Read our guide below:

Annual Performance reviews are a really important part of your personal development, and as a manager they are critical for your team.

A good annual review should be a key bit of time for you and your team member to reflect on what’s gone well, and what they are going to work on next.

1. Review Last Years Objectives

Dig out last year’s review, what objectives did you set for your team member? Ask your self the following questions:

  • Did they achieve their individual goals?
  • How did they do overall?
  • Did anything outside of their direct control prevent them from hitting their goals

If you don’t have a prior year’s review think back to the conversations you’ve had about their goals for this year. List them out and start to think about how well they achieved them, individually and from an overall perspective.

2. List out and brainstorm how they did

Now it’s time to make some notes on how they actually did. Brainstorm them under the following headings:

  • Core responsibilities: how well did the conduct the core aspects of their job, how do they compare to other team members at a similar level?
  • Projects: did they take on any additional projects? How did they contribute?
  • People: how do they interact with the team around them, what kind of environment do they contribute to?
  • Organisation: how do they show up to the wider organisation?

3. Be objective, facts and examples will help your employees understand where to develop

Basing your review on facts and examples will help you make a fair assessment and for your team member help them understand your feedback better. Try to list out specific pieces or work, or examples, where they have done well or where they need to develop.

4. List oportunties to develop

A key part of any review is a chance to talk through development opportunities. To help you prepare for the conversation, make a quick list of opportunities. The key thing is to understand what your team member want’s to achieve, but if you can see potential, help them out and let them know.

  • Short term: in the next 6 months
  • Medium term: in the next 12-18 months
  • Longer term: beyond 18 months

6. Think about what objectives you should set for them

The annual review process is also the time to set objective for the next quarter or year. Go back through the notes and set some clear and specific goals that you can discuss in the meeting. If you need some structure go back to the format we used earlier:

  • Core responsibilities
  • Projects:
  • People:
  • Organisation:

5. Write it up

Now that you’ve done your preparation, write up your notes in the format your company uses. If you don’t have a set process, use these headings to make some quick notes so that when it comes to the conversation you will be able to provide some quality feedback.

7. Talk to them, set up a meeting

Time to book the meeting, book 15 minutes before, so you can review your notes, and 15 minutes after so you can write up the conversation before sending it back to your employee. The review should be a two way conversation, now that you are well prepared, make sure you’re listening to your employee, how did they feel they did? what do they want to achieve next etc??

Change the way employee annual reviews happen in your company.

Manage your team’s goals and KPIs in one place.

We’re launching soon, get in touch to request your invitation


Founded in 2022, IO Teams wants to change the way performance review and personal career development is done.

Have questions, get in touch!

+44(0)7879 884548

IO Teams, UK

IO Teams

Founded in 2022, IO Teams wants to change the way performance review and personal career development is done.

Have questions, get in touch!

+44(0)7879 884548

IO Teams
Chichester, UK