Job Reviews – What Are They For?

How to achieve the best results

Reviews by their nature are a complicated best, they can be highly rewarding but have a reputation for being rather difficult for all involved as well. Often reviews can be non-existent, sporadic, ad – hoc, badly structured or a simple salary increase with no real conversation. Either way actually creating the opportunity between employee and employer in order to assess performance is the first step towards gaining overall increased job satisfaction and results for all concerned.

Ascertaining what YOU wish to achieve from the review requires thought and analysis prior to the big day. A review is not merely a platform to negotiate salary increases, there are many other elements that are important to consider and discuss. The following is a step-by-step guide designed to cover these issues and more, which will hopefully further prepare and assist all participants in achieving a successful and rewarding outcome.

Step one – Establish your aim

What is hoped to be achieved from this review? Your aims will change over time and the focus can be financial, professional, personal or all three depending on the circumstance. We would advise to think this through and carefully pinpoint what areas you wish to discuss whether the employer or employee. Once this aim has been established, break down each point accordingly.

Some aims of an Employee might be: to gain feedback on how they have been performing, to express an interest in an increase or change of duties, to request an increase in their remuneration or, to discuss concerns regarding their performance.

Some aims of an Employer might be: to discuss problems or concerns they may have with the staff member, to ascertain how satisfied they are with their current role, to praise them for their performance, to discuss future growth opportunities, or to really assess their long term ambition.

Step two – Dealing with each issue

No matter what the goal, it is recommended to make some notes and do some background research in order to be prepared. Each area of focus will require specific attention, as it will raise individual issues:


If the issue at hand is about money, be prepared to talk through this candidly with your employer or employee. Again we highlight that it is best to be prepared in order to handle this subject efficiently. Validating an increase or lack thereof can be supported from a number of areas apart from CPI (Consumer Price Index which is a percentage figure that reflects the cost of living and as such often forms a minimum expected increase) – these include market activity and research, increase, decrease or maintenance in duties, parity with existing Employees and of course overall changes in level of experience.

  • Market research – there are many available avenues that will assist you in ascertaining current market rates; these include the RAIA, some Agencies (Bloomfield Tremayne offer this service) and government bodies. Try to obtain accurate and objective information, talking only to colleagues or other practices will give you a skewed and very small market viewpoint and indeed this may hinder rather than help. Remember, some firms will pay higher than others who traditionally pay at the lower end (well known design orientated) of the scale.
  • Increase in duties – have the responsibilities changed since the last review? If so, in what way? Now is a good time to undertake a thorough self-analysis of what is actually done on a day-to-day basis. Questions to consider might be-
    • Have responsibilities increased? – in the office, on projects, with clients etc…
    • Have new skills been learnt?
    • Has the general performance improved since the last review? eg; coming up to speed on tasks set etc.
  • Make notes during this self-analysis and be prepared to talk about this – better still, if possible, have a record of previous reviews, use them as a comparison to the current performance. By doing this it will allow you to demonstrate as either an employee or employer that you have put thought and effort into this review, in fact this is an excellent opportunity to accurately demonstrate high levels professionalism and dedication to the process and people with whom you work.
  • Overall level of experience – Perhaps recently registered? Gained an additional qualification, or perhaps, not had a review for a few years? If this is the case it may warrant salary increases.


Are there any feelings of being limited or hindered professionally? Or being pushed in directions against what is wanted? Are people being overloaded or unsupported? Are people overstepping the mark, dumping or delegating work unfairly for example?

These are all things to consider when looking at how one is developing professionally within the current office. As above, it is imperative a thorough analysis of the above be undertake such that a mutually beneficial discussion can be facilitated. Target the issues and be prepared to offer solutions, bear in mind that this is not the time to complain or blame, but rather an opportunity to constructively ensure all parties feel a positive result has been achieved. Even if there is no immediate action, at least the forum will be been opened and all parties heard and concerns raised. All of which can be referred to later to ensure progress is being made.


Often discussing personal issues can be tricky, even uncomfortable for everyone. In saying this, now is the time to raise pressing personal concerns. This could be anything from personality clashes, office environment, sexual harassment issues, personal crisis, hygiene, marital issues…the list goes on.

Again be clear and level headed when rising personal issues, voice your concerns in a professional manner – it is imperative that these concerns should not be seen as a personal attack. if you have an open conversation, which allows a frank, but understanding approach, all will be much happier and feel progress has been made.

Step three – Listening to feedback

Bear in mind that it is important that this exercise is balanced, make sure you ask for feedback to your points raised, listen to what is being said or are being told with an open mind, remember if you have your say so should others. Try to create an open forum that allows for open conversation. This applies to both the Employer and the employee – after all this process is to the benefit of all and if dealt with well, then a successful outcome will only enhance performance and relationships.

Step four – Finalising negotiations

Regardless of how things have progressed throughout the review, make sure everyone is clear as to the final results, bearing in mind all previous points raised. Outline what will be put in writing and when, confirm any salary increases, changes in duty and generally what has been discussed; all such questions need to be addressed before you leave the review. Set dates and timelines for the responses!

Step five – Get it in writing

No matter what the final outcome, have the review put in writing, better yet, if you feel very important issues have been raised and wish to reconfirm your position, then it is prudent for both parties to put these thoughts in writing. Either way now is the time to make sure that there are no loose ends or misunderstandings. Having things in writing will also allow platforms of conversation from which to spring into next time or should problems arise!

Step six – Are you satisfied?

If both parties are happy with the outcome of your review and have covered all issues, then this is great!

If however, any one party is less than satisfied with the review, assess why this is the case and determine whether in fact it is worthy of raising once again and readdressing. Will this change anything? For example is it financially based? Is there dissatisfaction with the way in which the review was handled or received? Whatever the reasoning, if you (be it Employer or Employee) are not comfortable or satisfied, address it such that you can live with the outcome. This could mean seeking external advice, requesting a second meeting or simply dealing with the result and moving on. Either way be prepared to accept the decisions once they have been made.

We hope this helps all involved in the review process, if you have specific concerns or queries, please call us at anytime!

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