The ultimate aim of any nursery manager is to run an outstanding nursery setting. The staff that you employ are the key component in ensuring that your setting is the best that it can be and the route to achieving an Outstanding OFSTED rating. Whilst a Nursery Employees Performance Review can seem intimidating to both the employer and employee, reviewing your employee’s performance can be critical to getting the best out of your team.

performance text with hand writing

Traditionally the Nursery employees performance tended to be conducted once a year and generally at a pre-determined point during the year. A performance review has in the past been seen as a rigid and uncomfortable process that is viewed negatively by both parties. One that historically doesn’t provide any useful outcome to increase productivity or success of the business. It has been viewed as a process that looks backwards on what has been done rather than forwards on how to develop and improve performance.

However, times are changing and Nursery Employees Performance Reviews are being transformed. Below are some key tips on how you can make your Nursery employees performance review process effective and valuable to your business and your staff.


One key change that is happening across the majority of businesses is to replace the annual review process with more regular reviews. This is being welcomed by employees too. For some this has been done by making the process quarterly rather than annually. For others the reviews are based on key milestones and can occur even more regularly. These reviews tend to be shorter than the traditional reviews but offer the opportunity to provide real time feedback on performance. It allows managers to offer specific praise on work that has been done well which demonstrates to the employee what they should be doing to succeed. It also provides an opportunity to correct performance and make improvements that are required at an earlier stage, rather than mistakes being made for up to a year before they are rectified as part of a review process.

Separate reviews – professional development vs pay review

It is not uncommon for performance related pay to be linked to an annual review. A benefit of having more regular Nursery employess performance reviews is that it allows businesses to separate performance development reviews from pay reviews. When endeavouring to discuss performance and focus on how improvements can be made, employees tend to be more closed to discussions when they know that any potential pay review is linked to the discussion. However, by separating these reviews it has been found that employees are more open and honest in reviewing performance and problem solving any issues, in order that these can be resolved prior to any pay review.

Take a back seat:

Some of the most successful reviews occur when the process is handed to the employee. Rather than a manager sitting an employee down and telling them how they have performed, employees can instead be asked to review themselves prior to the meeting. There are 3 key areas that the employee should be asked to review during your nursery employees performance review:

  • How have I performed?
  • What targets do I want to achieve and how will I measure the success of meeting the targets?
  • What do I require from the business to assist me in achieving my targets (training etc.)?

This process can really engage employees to aim higher and seek to achieve more goals than may otherwise have been considered as part of a traditional review process. There are no barriers to what the employee can seek to achieve. They can do this knowing that they can request any necessary support to get them to where they want to be. In the longer term this only adds value to any business whilst keeping the employee engaged and motivated.


As much as the employee review process is evolving, technology is evolving even faster. There has been a big increase in using technology to communicate and feedback. Employee engagement apps have become ever more popular, revolutionising the way in which employees are motivated, engaged and rewarded.

Whether you decide to conduct your Nursery employees performance review process following the traditional process or whether you choose to adopt some/all of the above techniques, the following are key tips that apply to any form of Employee Performance Review process:

  • Be Prepared, make ongoing notes whenever appropriate so you have specific examples to refer to during the review, and offer constructive advice where improvements are required.
  • Do not wait for the Review to offer feedback where improvements are required: Rather than surprising the employee in the Review with all of the areas you feel require improvement, provide immediate feedback to the employee and you can then discuss how the employee has responded to the feedback during the Review.
  • Invite employee feedback: Once you have offered some feedback, allow the employee to respond and give their thoughts – even if this is not going to alter the outcome it is vital to show the employee their views are important
  • Balance the Review: Ensure you cover what the employee has done well as well as discussing any areas where there could be improvement.
  • Above all be honest, and open to listening!

If you would like any further support with your Nursery Employees Performance Review Processes or any other area of your HR requirements, then please do get in touch – we are always delighted to speak with you, and offer the experience of our fully trained HR professionals.

Fiona Tyson

Operations Director

The Nursery HR People

01509 833121

Less HR More Learning!

Have you received your free copy of our ebook which shows you how to free up more of your time whist still delivering outstanding results in your setting? If not then click here to get your copy today!