4 min. read

DEI-Informed Performance Reviews

How to ensure fairness, employee development, and foster an inclusive workplace

Transparency and consistent processes build trust and ensure that all employees are evaluated fairly.

Which is crucial for maintaining morale and retaining talent in the competitive tech industry. Above all, it is important to clearly communicate the performance review process and criteria to all employees. Provide documentation and hold Q&A sessions to address any questions.

By following these 8 steps, you will foster a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.

1. Establish Objectives

Clear, objective criteria ensure that performance evaluations are fair and consistent, reducing the likelihood of bias and promoting transparency.


Specific Job Metrics: Define performance metrics such as code quality, project completion times, and innovation in problem-solving. Ensure these metrics are tailored to the specific roles within the tech team.

DEI Contributions: Include criteria for contributions to DEI initiatives, such as participation in ERGs (Employee Resource Groups), mentorship of underrepresented colleagues, or involvement in community outreach programmes.

Professional Development: Evaluate employees on their pursuit of professional development opportunities, such as attending DEI workshops, acquiring new technical certifications, or participating in conferences focused on diversity in tech.

2. Educate Managers

Providing training on DEI principles helps mitigate unconscious bias, ensuring fairer and more inclusive evaluations. It is essential to educate yourself! Don’t know where to start? Here’s our DEI resources hub.


Unconscious Bias Training: Regularly train managers to recognise and counteract their own biases. This can help them make more objective decisions and support a diverse team.

We recommend: Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji

Cultural Competency Workshops: Provide workshops on understanding and appreciating cultural differences, which can improve team dynamics and communication.

We recommend: We Can’t Talk about That at Work!: How to Talk about Race, Religion, Politics, and Other Polarizing Topics by Mary-Frances Winters

Inclusive Leadership Courses: Offer courses on how to lead inclusively, fostering an environment where all team members feel valued and included.

We recommend: How to Be an Inclusive Leader: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive by Jennifer Brown

3. Gather Comprehensive Feedback

Providing feedback from multiple sources provides a well-rounded view of an employee’s performance and contributions, reducing the risk of bias from any single reviewer.

We recommend: Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams by Stefanie K. Johnson


360-Degree Feedback: Collect feedback from peers, subordinates, and other colleagues. This can highlight contributions to team projects and collaborative efforts that might be overlooked in a top-down review.

Anonymous Surveys: Use anonymous surveys to collect honest feedback on DEI-related behaviours, such as inclusivity in team meetings or support for diverse perspectives in project planning.

Client and Stakeholder Input: Gather feedback from clients and stakeholders on how well the employee engages with diverse external partners and clients.

Standardised Forms: Use standardised performance review forms to ensure consistency in evaluations across the organisation.

4. Use Inclusive Language

This will help create a respectful and supportive environment, making all employees feel valued and understood.

We recommend: Subtle Acts of Exclusion: How to Understand, Identify, and Stop Microaggressions by Tiffany Jana and Michael Baran


Bias-Free Templates: Develop performance review templates that avoid gendered or culturally biased language. For instance, use terms like “team member” instead of “guy” or “girl.”

Positive Framing: Phrase feedback positively, focusing on growth and development. Instead of saying “You lack skills in X,” say “Developing skills in X could further enhance your contributions.”

Specific Examples: Provide concrete examples of behaviours and achievements. This makes feedback more actionable and fair, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings.

5. Analyse Data for Bias

Regularly analysing performance review data for patterns of bias helps identify and correct any inequities in the evaluation process.

We recommend: Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji


Review Disparities: Check for disparities in performance ratings across different demographic groups. If, for example, women consistently receive lower ratings, investigate potential biases in the review process.

Diverse Panels: Use diverse panels to review performance data. This can help identify biases that homogeneous panels might overlook.

Statistical Analysis: Employ statistical methods to analyse performance data, ensuring that any identified patterns are not due to chance but indicative of systemic issues.

6. Provide Constructive Feedback and Support

This can help employees understand their strengths and areas for improvement, fostering their professional growth.


Detailed Feedback: Offer specific, actionable feedback with clear examples. For instance, “Your code reviews are thorough, but improving your documentation could make your work even more accessible to new team members.”

Development Opportunities: Suggest development opportunities tailored to the employee’s career goals and DEI contributions, such as attending a coding bootcamp focused on inclusive design.

Mentorship and Coaching: Provide access to mentorship and coaching programmes, particularly for underrepresented groups in tech, to help them navigate their career paths.

Have a look at our guide on how to create an Executive Sponsorship program.

7. Follow-Up and Accountability

Regular follow-up and accountability ensure that feedback is acted upon and that employees receive the support they need to achieve their goals.

We recommend: Erasing Institutional Bias: How to Create Systemic Change for Organizational Inclusion by Ashley Diaz Mejias and Tiffany Jana


Scheduled Check-Ins: Schedule regular check-ins to review progress on performance goals and provide ongoing feedback. This helps keep employees on track and addresses any issues early.

Goal Tracking: Use tools to track progress on individual and team goals related to DEI and other performance metrics. This makes it easier to measure progress and adjust plans as needed.

Manager Accountability: Hold managers accountable for integrating DEI principles into performance reviews and for the fair treatment of their team members. Include DEI metrics in their own performance evaluations.

8. Solicit Feedback

Soliciting feedback on the performance review process ensures that it remains effective, fair, and aligned with DEI goals.


Employee Surveys: Conduct surveys to gather employee feedback on the performance review process. Ask about their experience and any suggestions for improvement.

Focus Groups: Organise focus groups with diverse employees to discuss the review process and identify any potential issues or areas for improvement.

Continuous Improvement: Use the feedback collected to make continuous improvements to the performance review process, ensuring it remains relevant and supportive of DEI objectives.


Don’t forget! Keep employees informed about any changes to the performance review process, explaining the reasons behind these changes and how they support DEI goals.

Simplicity is key. In Bhuvana Vijayan’s talk at our Tech Leadership Meetup at Delivery Hero, she advocates for: “ […] Clear and assertive communication during performance reviews. It’s essential to build a compelling narrative around achievements, focusing on objective outcomes rather than conforming to stereotypical attributes. Ask and answer fundamental questions about performance with clarity and purpose. Simplify the review process.”

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