In her Founder Letter this month, Dr. Heidi Jannenga talked about reviewing work performance and providing feedback to the staff in your rehab therapy clinic, stressing the importance of creating consistent and fair performance reviews. While rounds of applause and pats on the back are great, they can’t compete with detailed and data-based evaluations. But if you’ve never provided your staff with formal performance reviews, you may not know your options for doing so. To give you a head start, here are five common performance review methods:

1. Self-Evaluation

A self-evaluation requires an employee to judge his or her own performance against predetermined criteria. Usually, the self-evaluation is taken into consideration during an official performance review to allow for a more thorough discussion and to ensure employees understand how they will be judged. The self-evaluation may be too subjective to truly reflect work performance, as employees may rate themselves too high—or too low—but the discrepancies between employee and employer evaluations can be insightful.   

2. Behavioral Checklist

The behavioral checklist is exactly what it sounds like: a checklist of behaviors an employee must exhibit to be considered a valuable member of the team—and thus, to receive a favorable review. As explained in this article, the behaviors required of an employee differ based on job type. To complete the evaluation, the employer responds to a list of carefully worded yes-or-no questions, each of which may be weighted with a predetermined value.

3. 360-Degree Feedback

As the name suggests, a 360-degree feedback review provides a comprehensive look at an employee’s performance by pulling feedback from outside sources. The employee and his or her manager will still complete an assessment of the employee’s work performance and technical skill set, but this review method also includes feedback from peers, direct reports, and/or non-direct supervisors with whom the employee works regularly. Additionally, 360-degree feedback reviews can include an evaluation of the employee’s character and leadership skills.

4. Management by Objectives

As this article indicates, the management by objectives (MBO) performance appraisal method is a more modern approach to performance reviews, because it ropes the employee into the goal-setting process. With this method, the manager and his or her employee will “agree upon specific, obtainable objectives with a set deadline.” Unlike subjective evaluations, the MBO method makes it easy to define success and failure.

5. Ratings Scale

A ratings scale—or grading system—is probably the most commonly used performance review method. This method is based on a set of employer-developed criteria—which can include behaviors, traits, competencies, or completed projects—against which employees are judged. The employer assigns each criterion a numerical value, usually on a ten- or five-point scale. A word of caution to employers using this method: be sure your employees fully understand where success and failure fall on the scale. Some employees will consider a three-out-of-five to be merely average, but you may consider it to be above satisfactory. So, be sure to properly set expectations, especially if you require a self-evaluation.

While these methods each have their advantages, they might not all fit with your leadership style or your clinic’s culture. Consider the job roles—and the people who fill them—you’ll need to evaluate before you choose your review method. Regardless of the method you select, make sure your evaluation is rooted in metrics—not personal opinions. (If you use WebPT, our built-in tools can help you dig into job performance.) And remember, constructive criticism and clear goals for improvement are the keys to any good performance review.


How does your clinic conduct performance reviews? What are the pros and cons of your method? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.