Performance Reviews

Formal performance reviews are a crucial part of the ongoing dialogue between managers and their employees. The objectives of the review conversation are to make sure that the employee and manager share a clear definition of the job, an understanding of performance expectations for the position, and an assessment of the employee's performance.

  1. Manager and employee review job/position description, update as needed, discuss past year’s performance
  2. Review is written; employee is informed that it will be part of his/her MIT personnel file; employee signs and receives a copy.


BEST PRACTICES (Baseline Practices plus ...)
  1. Manager encourages employee to share responsibility in a reciprocal process
  2. Process begins with written self-appraisal by employee
  3. Manager solicits feedback from colleagues, customers, and direct reports
  4. Every employee, including senior managers, receives a review
  5. Department provides training for employees about their roles and responsibilities in performance development
  6. Department management selects review forms that are meaningful and consistent within department

Tips for Successful Performance Reviews

Frequent Conversations Prepare Managers and Employees for the Annual Review

Midyear conversations present opportunities to assess progress toward goals and to make midyear corrections. Learn more about preparing and conducting the review conversation.

Keep Job/Position Descriptions Up-to-Date

Job/position descriptions should be reviewed annually to reflect the frequent change in responsibilities and duties in MIT's positions.

Document the Conversations

A written performance review form or memo is important because it documents a shared understanding of past performance and provides a record of expectations for the work going forward.

Create a Reciprocal Process

Frequent conversations about performance create a reciprocal process and an atmosphere of shared responsibility for the work.

Managers and employees who do meet regularly to discuss performance goals report that the annual review conversation becomes a summary—a low-stress "non-event" that is just part of an ongoing cycle.

Start with a Self-Appraisal

Individual managers can also ensure that every employee receives an annual review and that the review process is based on a self-appraisal form completed by the employee.

Consider Multi-rater Feedback

Finally, a richer view of the employee's contributions can often be gained by including feedback from colleagues and customers. Get more information on creating an informal multi-rater review.

Differentiating Pay

One of our priorities as an employer is to retain the many talented employees who work at MIT. Studies show that one of the most effective ways to retain top performers is to reward them based on job performance. One way managers can do this most effectively is by carefully distributing their merit pool. We encourage managers to differentiate merit increase amounts to recognize each employee's performance, contributions, and past year's achievements. Individuals who demonstrate superior performance should be recognized with review increases at or above the established merit allocation amounts, even though lesser amounts will then be available for individuals who demonstrate average performance. In addition, we recommend that managers engage in open communication with staff regarding the specific merit allocation so that employees understand their level of performance as it compares to the merit range established.

Learn more.

A Successful Performance Review Conversation Needs

  • Careful planning by manager and employee
  • Constructive communication
  • Collaborative attitude
  • Openness to giving and receiving feedback
  • Commitment to "continuous improvement"
  • High level of accountability—good follow-through on commitments made during conversation
  • Openness to redefining or readjusting goals as needed (for the department and/or for the employee)