Performance Reviews – How Jefferson Consulting Group Ensures They are Effective for Employees and Managers

Performance reviews are a cornerstone of employee development and organizational growth.  They serve multiple purposes, benefiting employees, managers, and the company as a whole when done correctly.  They provide a structured framework for feedback, development, and strategic alignment. At Jefferson Consulting Group (Jefferson) we exemplify these principles, ensuring that performance reviews are a vital part of our organizational culture. 

There are numerous stories regarding the effectiveness of performance reviews and when they should occur, if at all.  But if done correctly and incorporated with ongoing feedback, performance reviews help employees grow professionally, allow the manager to understand the employee’s professional desires and with the support of the company, help the employee to achieve them. Our managers integrate ongoing feedback into the performance review process, ensuring continuous development and alignment with company goals. 

So, what can employees and managers do to ensure the process is working and the review is effective?  At Jefferson, both employees and managers are open to feedback. While the review is about the employee, our managers understand the importance of the employee feedback they receive about them and the company.  These managers use this feedback for self-improvement and the improvement of the company, making the environment better for the employees. 

For Employees. 

Writing an effective and informative self-assessment is a critical part of the performance review process at Jefferson. It provides valuable insights for the manager and helps ensure that the review is comprehensive and balanced. Here are five principles Jefferson encourages employees to utilize when developing their self-assessment to ensure it is effective and informative: 

1. Reflect on Achievements and Contributions. Highlight key accomplishments and list significant achievements and contributions made during the review period. Be specific about what was achieved, how it was done, and the impact it had on the team or company. Whenever possible, use data and metrics to quantify achievements. 

2. Be Honest and Objective. Provide an honest evaluation of your performance, highlighting both strengths and areas for improvement. This shows self-awareness and a commitment to personal growth. For some, it is difficult to write about yourself, so one way to do this is to think about what others would say about your performance and write in the third person.  Avoid exaggeration, being truthful and realistic in your assessment.  Overstating achievements can lead to credibility issues, while being too modest may result in undervaluing your contributions. 

3. Provide Specific Examples. Use concrete instances to support your claims with specific examples that illustrate your points. Instead of saying, “I improved team communication,” provide a detailed example such as, “I initiated a weekly team meeting that increased transparency and collaboration.”  Also, consider including comments made by others about your example and how it had influence. Showcase problem-solving by highlighting instances where you effectively solved problems or overcame challenges, demonstrating your critical thinking and resilience. Remember to use concrete examples. 

4. Align with Goals and Objectives.  Review your past goals, reflecting on them during the previous review period, and discuss how well you met them. Provide examples of how you worked towards these objectives. Connect your goals and achievements to Company objectives, aligning your achievements with the broader goals of the company, your business unit, contract, and/or team. This shows that you understand and contribute to the bigger picture. 

5. Discuss Development and Future Goals. Identify learning experiences by mentioning any training, courses, certifications achieved, or learning experiences you have undertaken and how they have contributed to your performance.  Learning experiences aren’t always in the classroom, so be sure to include any experience, even if “on the job.”  Propose new goals and objectives for the upcoming review period by using the SMART method. 

  • Specific – Be clear on what it is you want to achieve, including specific steps to get there. 
  • Measurable – Define how the goal will be measured to track progress. 
  • Achievable – Be realistic and determine if the goal is possible. Don’t make it too lofty. 
  • Relevant – Align the goal to your professional development and organizational goals. 
  • Time-bound – Define the deadline and interim steps needed to achieve the goal. 

Identify any resources, support, training, or other items needed to achieve your goals. This will show initiative and a proactive approach to professional development.   

For Managers. 

Writing an effective performance management review is crucial for fostering employee growth, improving productivity, and ensuring alignment with organizational goals. Jefferson emphasizes the importance of these elements and encourages managers to utilize these five principles to write a comprehensive and constructive performance review: 

1. Provide Specific and Measurable Goals and Achievements. Assess how well the employee met their goals, providing concrete examples and data.  Review future goals set by the employee in their self-assessment, ensuring they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) and align with goals for the company, team, business unit, and/or contact. Be sure to highlight employee achievements, detailing the employee’s accomplishments, quantifying them where possible, and highlighting how they had a positive impact. 

2. Deliver Constructive Feedback with Examples. Balance positive and negative feedback by starting with the positive observations and then addressing areas of improvement. Use specific examples to illustrate points rather than vague statements. Thoughtful employees will press you for examples, so be ready. Make sure to focus on behavior, and not personality by addressing behaviors and results, avoiding personal attributes or assumptions.  Employees will better understand the outcome or impact of a behavior, whereas commenting on personality will be viewed as an attack on their character. 

3. Read and Understand Employee Self-Assessment. Incorporate employee insights and reference their self-assessments to acknowledge their perspectives and insights.  Highlight where there is agreement and discrepancy between your review and the self-assessment to encourage open dialogue and mutual understanding. Be sure to comment on the employee’s strengths and areas of development. 

4. Highlight Development and Training Needs.  Identify any skills or knowledge areas where the employee could improve. Recommend specific training programs, workshops, certifications, or courses that could benefit the employee and support their professional development. Outline a clear plan for professional growth, including milestones, and be sure to discuss resources available to the employee (e.g., covering the expense of the training, making time available to attend, and providing opportunities to apply new skills).    Don’t be afraid to create a plan that goes beyond the next review period. 

5. Future Goals and Action Plans.  Set new objectives by establishing new, clear goals for the upcoming review period that align with the employee’s role and career aspirations.  Provide detailed action steps on how the employee can achieve these goals, including any support or resources the company will provide. Encourage ongoing communication by emphasizing the importance of regular check-ins and feedback sessions throughout the year to monitor progress and adjust as needed.  Performance management doesn’t occur just once per year. 


Performance reviews are a cornerstone of employee development and organizational growth, offering a structured framework for feedback, development, and strategic alignment. When done correctly and supplemented with ongoing feedback, performance reviews benefit employees, managers, and the company by fostering professional growth, clarifying professional aspirations, and aligning individual goals with organizational objectives. At Jefferson, these principles are at the heart of our performance review process. 

For employees, an effective self-assessment is crucial. Reflecting on achievements, being honest and objective, providing specific examples, aligning with goals, and discussing development and future goals ensure that the self-assessment is both informative and valuable to managers. This process not only highlights accomplishments but also demonstrates self-awareness and a proactive approach to professional growth. 

For managers, writing a comprehensive and constructive performance review involves providing specific and measurable goals and achievements, delivering balanced feedback with concrete examples, understanding and incorporating employee self-assessments, highlighting development and training needs, and setting clear future goals with action plans. This approach ensures that the review is fair, motivating, and aligned with both employee development and organizational goals. 

Ultimately, effective performance reviews and self-assessments create a culture of continuous improvement, open communication, and mutual understanding, driving both individual and organizational success. By committing to these practices, employees and managers at Jefferson ensure that performance reviews are not just an annual task but a meaningful part of professional development and organizational strategy. 

About the Author:  

Marty Mackes, the Chief Delivery Officer at Jefferson, stands as a testament to over three decades of distinguished service in delivering solutions to Federal Government clients. His expertise spans across Homeland Security, Defense, Intel, and Civilian agencies. Marty’s leadership has been instrumental in steering an exceptionally talented team, fostering a culture of extraordinary delivery while aligning with business growth and corporate strategies. He oversees Jefferson’s Mission Support Team, including Enterprise Program Management, Talent Acquisition, Contracts, and IT. 

His academic background includes a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Old Dominion University. Marty’s commitment to industry excellence is reflected in his chairmanship of the Homeland Defense Business Council (HSDBC). 

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