Kira Vermond: The good, the bad and the ugly-Performance Reviews

And what if it doesn't? What if you discover you're performing poorly? Well, it could be time to start looking for another job. But there's something else to consider. In some of these situations, the problem isn't actually the employee. The problem can be found in the performance standards. Or the lack of them.

In other words, when people fail to live up to performance standards at work, it's often because they don't know what the expectations are. Nobody ever told them.

So how does a company formalize the process so employees know what job they're doing and how to do it well?

First things first. Employees need to know the basics. What are their tasks and responsibilities? How long should a job take? What results are their bosses looking for?

And companies can't forget to mention why these goals are important, for the employee too. Because we all want to know, "what's in it for me?" The answer might be as simple as "meet deadlines, get promoted."

All of this needs to be put in writing of course.

Here's one more thing to consider. In order to exceed expectations, some people need examples of what makes a good employee great.

So if someone in the office writes stellar reports, other employees should read one. That way they know what a star employee delivers. Or if a worker is amazing at offering customer service, have struggling employees see her in action. Sometimes that's all it takes to turn things around.

Or maybe not. Because if an employee is truly a bad fit for the job, performance reviews can only help so much.