My performance review workflow

Up: § Buffer thoughts and decisions

My general workflow for completing performance review season:

  1. Create the structure within Bear for reviews:

    • A note for each direct report
    • A note for my high level review thoughts
    • Notes tagged within reviews, e.g. buffer/reviews/2022h2
  2. Start with the high level review thoughts note

    • Go on a walk, or pace around
    • Reflect on each person at the pure gut level
    • Reflect on three things:
      • What have they been strong on?
      • Where have they been missing the mark / need to grow?
      • What do I need from them, for Buffer? For me as CEO?
  3. After that, See Paris First.

    • Pick the one or two reviews where I may likely give Missing Expectations. Start with the hardest one.
    • Round out the review, at least all the key points I will share.
    • Even write up some of it.
    • Once I feel good, I can continue with others
  4. For each review:

    • Go from the gut thoughts in the high level review note
    • Transfer those into the individual note for that direct report
    • Do one more pass at gut thoughts, pacing around for 5-10 mins
    • Then, go through all the material I have at hand:
      • All Hands slides
        • Especially useful for anyone leading a whole area
      • 1:1 agendas and notes
        • Look at the shared agenda and also my own notes. Do problems we’re discussing in their area get resolved in a good timeframe? Do we get deep enough into their area?
      • Threads published
        • Has this person been actively sharing updates and context with the company? With their team? How do they make use of Threads, and could it improve?
      • Metrics
        • More applicable to some roles / areas than others
      • Previous review
        • Look for anything that has moved from an area to improve, to a strength / accomplishment
      • Previous review meeting notes
        • Anything that stands out from the last review conversation in terms of how feedback was received, and key takeaways the person identified to work on
      • Mentions by others in my 1:1 notes
        • Worth a quick look to see who else has mentioned this person, and in what context. If there are similar themes of feedback from multiple people, could add up to a point to mention.
      • Notion
        • I haven’t found Notion to be too useful to look at so far, but worth having in mind
      • Manager upwards reviews
        • If there has been a recent review of this person by their direct reports, it’s worth glancing through that feedback and seeing if there are any themes across their team, and whether those line up with feedback I have in mind.
    • From these sources, list out anything else.
    • Then, back to my brain - gut feeling
    • The goal of this step is to arrive at finalized sections for the review
  5. Write the review:

    • For each finalized section of the review, write a paragraph or two to describe it.
    • This is easier to do in a focused writing environment, e.g. iPad vs having lots of other things open at the same time.
    • Include examples gathered in step 4.
  6. Submission of the review:

    • Take a look at the person’s self review
    • If there’s anything glaringly missing from my review, consider adding
    • In general, don’t aim to change too much, if anything
    • Submit the review
    • Let the person know via Slack that the review is submitted

This was built this out from my notes here: Journal Entry: January 6, 2023 at 8:12 PM