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Help Center

Creating an Effective Performance Management System with Visual Communication

Written by: Jennifer Gaskin

Aug 20, 2021

performance management

Consistent, successful performance management can be the difference between helping a talented team member achieve their goals and seeing them leave for another organization. There are many types of performance management, but creating engaged, thriving employees is the goal in each one.

Performance management can refer to formal tools like annual reviews or informal tools like quick chats or one-on-one check-ins. Most organizations use many types of performance management.

These tools are useful on their own even when they consist of just a blank sheet of paper, but incorporating visual communication into performance management processes can make them even more effective and engaging.

Let’s take a deep dive into what it is and how you can boost your employee performance management systems with visuals that you can easily create using Venngage.

Click to jump ahead:

What is performance management?

Performance management refers to the continuous process of monitoring, evaluating and improving the work of employees in an organization. Performance management occurs in formal and informal ways, and it’s best done in an ongoing manner.

In most organizations, there are many types of performance management that take place throughout a given week or even a single workday, but the most commonly known type of performance management is an annual performance review.

What are examples of performance management?

Performance management is a vast term, and examples of it are all around in any workplace. A supervisor praising a person’s work or offering constructive criticism is an example of informal performance management.

But effective performance management is best done in both informal and formal ways, and here are some examples of formal performance management tools:

Quarterly review

performance management

Conducted four times per year, a quarterly review is an excellent way to give team members quick feedback that they can put into practice immediately rather than waiting until the end of the year.

performance management

Specificity is important in performance management, as team members need to know exactly what areas they need to work on most, and this example gives a supervisor the chance to rate a worker using numbers.

Related: 21 Engaging Performance Review Examples

Annual review

The most common method of performance management is an annual review, which takes place once per year.

performance management

In many companies, all reviews take place at the same time, while others conduct annual reviews near each employee’s start date. Like quarterly reviews, annual performance reviews help team members see where they excel and where they need to improve.

performance management

Year-end performance reviews like the one above should give managers a chance to rate workers in a variety of categories, including soft skills like communication and hard skills related to each individual job. In this example, the manager also establishes a numeric performance level.

performance management

Before you start your employees’ review process, make sure you’re doing it the right way by following this infographic, and check out even more performance review examples.

And if you’re looking for another reason to do reviews more than once a year: More than nine in 10 employees say they value regular feedback, and 83% appreciate it regardless of whether it’s positive or negative.


performance management

Many companies include a self-assessment in employee performance reviews, and these can be useful tools for expanding communication between workers and the company. This lengthy example shows how expansive a self-assessment can be.

performance management

Self-assessments can also be combined with supervisor assessments, as this quadrant-based review shows. Often, seeing where the parties overlap (or disagree) can be helpful for both employer and employee.


Microlearning is a relatively new method of performance management and employee development in which workers take a series of brief courses related to an aspect of their jobs.

performance management

Companies can ramp up the performance management aspect of the process by creating a leaderboard showing which employees have completed the most coursework.

Related: How to Write Actionable Learning Objectives [Examples Included]

performance management

Like other forms of project management, microlearning is an ongoing process, and companies should strive to keep team members engaged by updating them on a regular basis about the microlearning campaign itself. This example monthly update is a great way to do that.

Individual development plan

performance management

Individual development plans can be created in conjunction with the annual review process or as a separate method of performance appraisal.

In this process, team members and supervisors work to establish goals and plans for improving the worker’s performance by following the steps listed above.

performance management

Individual development plans are intended not only to meet an organization’s goals but to ensure that each worker is able to achieve the objectives they have for their career, and performance evaluation goals can change regularly. In this example, the worker establishes an area in which they want to improve.

Looking for even more employee development plans and advice on how to put one together? Check out this action plan.

Return to Table of Contents

What are the benefits of performance management?

The benefits of a robust performance management program are many, and having a good program in place can even improve an organization’s bottom line. Here are the biggest benefits of regular performance management:

Employee engagement

Performance management programs let workers know the company is invested in them, and engaged employees are better employees. Only one-third of U.S. workers are considered engaged in their jobs.

Training and skills development

Companies that invest in performance management and development can help team members build skills necessary for the company to perform at a high level.

Improved internal communication

Performance management that takes place regularly helps keep a two-way communication line open, rather than workers feeling that management simply talks at them.

Clarity of expectations, processes and objectives

Only about half of employees know what’s expected of them. Team members should never be in the dark when it comes to the specific tasks assigned to them.

Identification of risks and skills gaps

A necessary part of helping employees set goals is determining where they fall short, and doing this is helpful for the entire organization. It can help a company determine if new staff is needed altogether.

Increased efficiency and productivity

Becoming better at a job usually means being more efficient and producing more output, or at least producing better output. Whatever the case, better workers create a better bottom line, whether the company saves money or creates a better product.

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What are common performance management systems?

Performance management systems, whether they come in the form of performance appraisals like quarterly reviews, annual reviews, self-assessments or something else, generally fall into a few types, though some may overlap:

  • Competency-based: This is a common performance management system in which an individual’s work product is measured against established competencies necessary for their job.
  • Objective-based: In this system, performance is measured by the number of objectives an individual met versus what was expected of them.
  • Ratings-based: These types of systems list several factors against which a manager rates an employee’s performance. It typically ranges from unsatisfactory to outstanding, similar to a child’s report card.
performance management

As we mentioned, specific performance management processes may include one or all of these systems. The performance review template above, for example, includes objectives and competencies.

performance management

This performance review template touches on all three of the performance appraisal systems — competencies, objectives and ratings.

Return to Table of Contents

What are the six basic elements of a performance management program?

Regardless of the format they take, performance management programs should all have a few things in common. Here are the six basic elements of an effective performance management program:

  • Well-established expectations: At every level of an organization, team members must know what is expected of them, and in any performance management program, making those clear is the single most important thing you can do.
  • Fairness and accuracy: Employee evaluation systems that focus on hard numbers can often miss out on important context. Fairness and accuracy must be part of every review. Consider each worker’s potential when providing feedback.
  • Consistent monitoring: Annual reviews are useful for giving out raises, but managers must constantly monitor progress toward goals, objectives and expectations.
  • Individual and organizational goals: Good business performance management takes into account organizational goals as well as individual goals. In helping team members meet their own objectives, companies build a better workforce.
  • Constructive feedback: It’s not enough to tell employees the areas in which they need to improve, and performance management tools should be specific enough to offer action items team members can use to get better.
  • Flexibility: Some team members may benefit from other forms of performance management than what has been done for others. For workers who fall out of traditional systems, consider changes that will help them meet their potential.

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Effective performance management examples with visuals

Here are some more examples of how organizations can incorporate visual communication into their performance management tools, whether through annual or quarterly reviews, development plans or other methods.

Performance reviews

performance management

Consider creating a visuals-driven year-end performance review template like this one. Employees can see at a glance where they are excelling and where they need improvement.

performance management

Traditional performance reviews don’t have to be boring, and you can easily create templates that use your brand colors to reinforce your corporate identity with Venngage for Business.

performance management

If simplicity is your goal, consider this employee evaluation example that uses just two shades of green, which lets the review information stand out.

performance management

This quarterly performance appraisal example provides another take on a minimalist design style, using a couple of shades of gray along with a brick red to create a visual structure.

performance management

If minimalism appeals to you, consider this template that consists of gray, white and black in a landscape design that breaks from the traditional office document rut.

performance management

Or consider a play on the previous template with a minimalist gray performance review template in a portrait format.

performance management

Combine a standard performance review format with data-driven assessments by customizing this template. This review template is an excellent hybrid approach that gives team members action items but also appeals to their visual sense.


performance management

Not sure how to go about using a quadrant-based assessment or performance review template? We’ve got you covered.

performance management

Use this template as part of your annual evaluation process to let employees see where they stand when it comes to how well they are meeting objectives and expectations.

performance management

Consider this matrix-style diagram to evaluate employees across a range of competencies and practices. An evaluation tool like this is a quick way to help workers prioritize learning and development in various aspects of their jobs.

performance management

Understanding what your team members feel about the work they did in the previous year can be instructive when it comes to figuring out how to motivate them in the future. Consider incorporating this self-evaluation into your performance management program.


performance management

Add a dash of competition to your team’s microlearning programs by putting together a simple leaderboard showing how many courses your team members have completed toward an established goal.

performance management

Create badges to encourage team members to complete additional modules in their microlearning and add them to your leaderboard infographic.

Related: 7 Ways to Use eLearning Infographics

Development plans

performance management

Individual development plans are popular tools in performance management. This worksheet will take a team member just a few minutes to fill out, but it will give managers an excellent roadmap for helping the worker meet their goals.

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Performance management FAQs

Do you have questions about creating a performance management program at your company? We’ve got answers.

What is the performance management process?

The performance management process is an ongoing task in any organization, as employees work toward and achieve goals that have been set and managers evaluate their progress and, as necessary, set new goals and expectations.

What are the key elements of performance management?

The most important elements of performance management are expectation setting and consistent, honest evaluation of employee success.

What are the stages of the performance management cycle?

Performance management is a never-ending prospect, as everyone could stand to improve. It begins with setting expectations, then evaluating progress toward expectations, and then finally re-establishing new expectations.

In summary: Using visuals in your performance management system can help keep employees engaged and working toward their goals

An effective performance management program benefits not just the worker who learns a new skill but the entire organization that benefits from their newfound expertise. Make sure your performance management materials are engaging and visually stimulating.

Not a designer? No problem. You can start by signing up for a free Venngage account and customize our easy-to-edit, professional-looking performance appraisal template or employee evaluation template, with our drag-and-drop editor.

About Jennifer Gaskin

A veteran of newsrooms and agencies, Jennifer Gaskin is a writer, editor and designer who is the only living person not to have strong feelings on the Oxford comma. She's an award-winning practitioner of journalism and information design who spent the better part of a decade as the creative director of a digital marketing shop. As a writer, Jennifer contributes to a variety of publications while working with clients as well as taking on her own projects.