Performance reviews are not a substitute for ongoing feedback. The review process can be an important chance to sit down with a worker to assess where they stand, celebrate their strengths, and discuss opportunities for improvement and growth. A performance review is a structured feedback process that is typically held on an annual basis. There are different formats and approaches to performance reviews, and they all have some common elements. Usually, the supervisor or manager provides feedback on what is going well and what could be improved in regard to the worker’s performance. In some cases, the worker also completes a self-assessment using questions, and the review meeting is an opportunity to compare notes. Performance reviews can be stressful for both parties. Ideally, this is a chance for a meaningful conversation that will help you work together better and give the worker tools for success.


In the following table, we review possible performance review elements and invite you to think about your nonprofit’s process to cover each item. Capture your responses in a notebook or shared document with your team.

Performance Review Element

Sharing strengths
Reflect back to the worker how they add value to your team and what you see as some of their accomplishments – large and small.
Areas for improvement
Communicate concerns and facilitate discussion to collaboratively identify solutions.
If there are performance issues that may jeopardize the worker’s employment, clearly state and indicate how the worker can improve their performance. Work together to set out milestones and specific timelines for improvement, and document all parts in writing.
Worker development
A review is a great time to talk about learning new skills that will improve the worker’s ability to do their job well. How can the organization support their growth and development?
Provide clarity about opportunities for pay raises and advancement within the organization. Some organizations tie pay increases to reviews, while others do not. Reviews offer a periodic time to talk about the worker’s future goals, any possibilities for promotion, or changes to the worker’s job duties.
Skip to content