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10 ways Microsoft Teams can improve performance reviews

Use Teams for performance reviews

Need to manage and track employee performance and KPI achievements?

Microsoft Teams is a great tool for managing projects that have a start and end date, but it also works well for managing ongoing work, and is super helpful for managing and tracking the achievement of goals – so it’s a perfect tool for employee performance reviews.

Whether you have regular 1-2-1s with your team, or 6 monthly/annual reviews, these best practice tips will work for you.

1. Set up a Team for each Employee

Consider setting up a separate Team for each staff member you manage, then inviting each individual staff member to join their respective team. This way, the team is secure access for just you two, and it’s easier to manage than creating a master Team with private channels. You could name it specifically for the individual, e.g. ‘Susan KPIs’, or anything you want, but if you manage lots of staff, you’ll want to pop the name or ID of the staff member in the Team name to make it meaningful to you and easy to locate.

2. Set up a Channel for each review period

Once you have your Team (e.g. Susan KPIs), add a channel for the review period, i.e. 2020, 2021, quarter 2, quarter 3 etc. You can then store work, conversations and relevant info in the respective year (or review period). You aren’t limited to creating channels for the review period, if the employee works on long projects, create a channel for each project.

3. Display KPIs or Objectives in the Wiki

Every Channel comes with a Wiki, which is a plain web page that can easily be edited, and content added to. In a general sense, it works well as a place to pop the Terms of Reference of a project, or a table of pictures and contact numbers for the project team. However, for performance reviews, it’s perfect for outlining the key objectives or performance indicators for your employee.

4. Store relevant documents and proof of achievement in the Files Library

Each Channel has a Files Library where files that are uploaded to the Conversation feed are stored, or you can upload directly to the Files Library using drag and drop or the Upload button.

For performance reviews, staff can add files to this library throughout the year (or review period) as proof of achievement, as and when they complete the doc, or just before the review meeting. Or they can link to the files in the Conversation feed, if they’re already stored the file in SharePoint, OneDrive or another Team.

5. Celebrate Success in the Conversation feed

This is where those fun gifs and emojis come into their own! As the Manager, you can informally thank or congratulate team members on the Conversation feed. This content will all be searchable later if you want to count how many “thanks” you gave or acknowledge the total number of “we rock!” gifs you used over the year. Remember, at times you’ll want to share some of the celebrating success moments with a wider group than your 1-2-1 Team, and you’ll want to include any compliments your staff member received in other Teams they belong to. What a nice way to be thanked for your efforts. I personally think it’s a great thing when Management formally acknowledges these micro-successes at review time.

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6. Manage Performance in the Conversation feed

You may want to hold off on the gifs and emojis if you need to manage a performance issue or have a serious problem to address. In fact, you should consider if using Teams is appropriate in the first instance for managing performance, as nothing beats a face to face (or at least voice to voice) for addressing big issues and I’m not sure how well a “you’re late again” post would go down – it’s unlikely to motivate better time management.

If, however, you’re just wanting to send a wee reminder of how things should be done, or a note on how to improve on something for next time, or things to discuss at next review, Conversation feed is a good place to do this informally.

I use this technique for reminding staff when they’re deviating from a formal process: I link to our policy guide and outline the key reasons why process needs to be followed, and if possible I relate it back to the employee’s KPIs or our company objectives.

7. Search or Scroll for History

You can use Search or scroll through the history of conversations at any time, but this is particularly handy when performance review time comes around. I search for keywords based on KPIs, as well as scrolling to see any performance notes I’ve made to assess if there’s been improvement, and I also look for the “thanks” notes I’ve left when we’ve celebrated the employee’s success or achievement.

8. Run your Performance Review Meeting right there in MS Teams

When your performance review or 1-2-1 meeting needs to be held, you can do so right there in the MS Teams channel. So handy! You can either use Meet Now or invite the Team Members (in this scenario, the individual employee who is a member of the Team) using Calendar. A Meeting Notes tab is generated, and you can take minutes or actions right there within the Teams screen. You can even record the meeting if you want to refer to it again at a later stage.

9. Use Planner Tasks to manage actions

During the review, add any actions or tasks directly to a Planner board. You can easily breakdown a task into sub-tasks, as well as add a completion date, which could be as far away as next review date. 

10. Use Teams as a Management Tool

Teams is such a useful tool for conversing informally with my colleagues and staff, and it’s a seamless fit for managing my staff’s ongoing work in progress, which in turn provides me a place to research and reflect when it comes time to assess performance and whether they’re meeting their KPIs and personal objectives.

I support my team with encouraging words (or gifs and smiley faces!) and gentle reminders of procedure or best practice. It helps me identify employee strengths and weaknesses, which in turn enables me to be a better manager, allowing me to offer more support or training, as and when it’s needed.

Susan Carlow

Susan is a dedicated and energetic IT professional with over 25 years experience working with world-class IT systems, methodologies and organisations and over 20 years of experience in training and development.

She has the knack of relating to users, easily translating techie-speak and complex system processes into real-life terms to ensure learners ‘get it’.  She specialises in identifying your business issues and any barriers that stop users from getting what they need from their technology.

Susan is a certified Microsoft® Office Specialist specialising in OneNote, Office 365, Teams and SharePoint.

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