How to Conduct Performance Appraisals at Your Startup In 2021

A startup is at its best when every hand is on deck. | Photo Credit: Unsplash

Most startups in their infancy are faced with different business hurdles to overcome. There are products and or services to provide, finding the right market for your product, customer research, dealing with limited capital, and reviewing the impact of marketing campaigns on the startup.

A performance review or appraisal is a general evaluation of an employee’s working performance and day-to-day contribution to a company. It examines the development, achievements, strengths, and strategies of the startup.

Setting Goals in Early Stage Startups

The foundation of startups is typically hinged on the provision of results. Different goals are set, and meeting those goals fosters the continuous development of the startup. Employees must achieve their daily tasks and also bring ideas to develop the business.

Performance appraisal at your startup is only effective to the degree of the goals set. This is why startups need to have clearly defined goals at their early stages. How do you set up goals in the early stages of a startup?

  • Identify the problems or gaps your startup aims at solving or filling.
  • Write out your startup’s solution and what makes it different from that of your competitors.
  • Carry out customer research to identify your target audience.
  • Determine how much sales you want to earn over a definite time and how you aim at achieving that.

Performance appraisals are a continuous process in a company’s progression. But startups should conduct their performance evaluation as often as every three months to track and ensure their growth and be sure it is heading in the right direction.

Setting Up Cadence to Review Startup Performance against Goals

There’s a lot of work in planning appropriate methods to undertake performance evaluation based on your startup company’s characteristics. Some of the steps to take note of are:

  • Reiterate Business Goals

Performance appraisals should be used to measure the growth and impact of the business. A good foundation for this is to reiterate the business’ goals continually. That way, everyone who is a part of the startup can have their performance per time measured against these goals.

When business goals are reiterated, the outcome of performance appraisals will be better, and it will help startups align performance with goals.

  • Update Job Descriptions

Before carrying out performance reviews, job descriptions should be updated at least yearly. A perfect way of undertaking this task is to let each employee evaluate each other based on daily records, statistics of assignments completed, and work efficiency.

Possessing an up-to-date system ensures accurate feedback and proper knowledge of each employee’s progress in that regard.

  • Re-emphasize Job Duties

This entails clarifying the reason for pre-existing jobs and ascertaining if these job functions need to be reviewed.

If a required function is needed for an existing job, startups should provide such a role. Also, if a replacement or total removal is required, it should be carried out to benefit the startup.

Knowing these essential job descriptions and carrying them out will help in conducting startup performance appraisals better.

  • Revisit Performance Expectations

After every performance appraisal, it is essential to review performance expectations. Everyone in the startup should know what is expected of them in the next appraisal. It also covers the progress the startup looks to record over a given period.

Performance expectations are simply the sum of expected progress, individual aims, and business objectives to be attained. These expectations also need to be in line with the goals and core values of your startup.

Separate meetings are required for goal setting. Each employee’s development, growth, and equipping them with the tool to meet their objectives should be the primary driver of the performance appraisal process.

Knowing all this, how to conduct performance appraisal at your startup in 2021 becomes a lot easier.

An employee being analysed. | Photo Credit: Unsplash

Conducting Performance Appraisals

Here are three simple methods of carrying out performance appraisal for your startup.

  • Inform and provide employees with the opportunity to complete their self-performance assessment forms.
  • Compile a list of employee performance documentation gathered throughout the year 2021. For reference and review processes
  • Plan face-to-face meetings to review the results of employee and head of department assessments.

Importance of Conducting Performance Appraisals at Your Startup

Conducting performance review is beneficial to your startup in several ways, and some of them include:

  • It makes your employees feel valued

Performance appraisal helps to inform employees about their strengths and weaknesses. In doing so, they feel valued, as this assessment can help them improve at their work.

Performance appraisal also helps you to identify the needs of employees. Getting to know your employees’ needs goes a long way in ensuring you provide the required training to your employees to increase their inherent talents and value, which ensures your company’s development.

  • It strengthens the bond between your employees

Performance appraisal is always an opportunity to allow everyone in a startup that the aim is to meet the goal. It also helps everyone know what role they are playing in the startup’s success and how they can play that role better. All of this helps strengthen the relationship between the employer and employees and create a good work environment.

  • It helps to access the training needs of your workers

Everyone on the working team of a startup has different strengths. The performance appraisal allows you to check your workforce’s efficiency and provide additional training and support where necessary. It also helps you know if there has to be a change in roles assigned to specific persons for better efficiency.

  • It helps to resolve any personal working relationship issues in your workspace

Usually, startup managers are continuously caught-up in the day-to-day demands of management to get a proper insight into employee’s frames of mind. The performance appraisal provides an excellent period to address any concerns anyone or the startup may have.


The greater the quality of your startup’s workforce, the better its potential is maximized. It is in the company’s best interest to ensure optimal productivity and better service delivery to prevent business stagnation. Conducting performance appraisal as often as required naturally ensures your startup’s success, especially in 2021.

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