A Guide to Performance Reporting (With Examples and How-to)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 28, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Reporting on performance is an excellent method for fostering an environment of continuous learning. A performance report allows individuals and organizations to evaluate their overall performance. You can develop professional skills and qualifications by learning more about performance reports. In this article, we explain what performance reporting is, provide a step-by-step guide on how to create a performance report, review an example report, and explore frequently asked questions.

What is performance reporting?

Performance reporting provides a context for performance measurement, quality assurance, and accountability data. A performance report provides insight into an individual or group's performance to determine if they're meeting their goals. Performance reports can have different targets. For example, a performance report may focus on specific projects, individual team members, or an entire organization. Charts, graphs, and statistics often accompany performance reports to provide a visual balance to the text. By generating performance reports, you can communicate project information, inform stakeholders or leaders about a project's progress, and forecast future projections. There are various types of performance reports, including:

  • Status report: A status report provides detailed information about the status of projects, including budgets, scope, cost, and quality assurance.

  • Progress report: A progress report details the progress made on a project since the last report.

  • Forecasting report: A forecast report illustrates the current expectations and projections for a project, often predicting its performance across a range of different parameters.

  • Variance report: The variance report provides details on the differences between the planned and actual progress of a project.

  • Trend report: You use trend reporting for specific periods, such as quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, to see if there are positive or negative trends.

  • Earned value report: A report on earned value contains a summary of the project scope, costs, and schedules, which commonly appear in status reports.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Report Writing

How to create a performance report

Here are five steps you can follow to create a performance report:

1. Determine the purpose of the report

To create a performance report, it's essential to first establish what or whose performance you're evaluating. For example, if you work in marketing, your overall goal may be to reach and influence a certain percentage of our target audience. Your performance report may include information about your latest marketing campaign's performance.

Related: How to Write a Business Report in 4 Actionable Steps

2. Write a summary

A summary can give you an overview of all the aspects of your subject's operations. It's a concise review of the information that the performance report provides. You may handwrite the outline or use a professional template. Outlining your report can make it easier to attach the related data and information. While outlining the report, it's important to remember that many performance reports include:

  • Concise introduction

  • Structured and easy-to-read sections

  • Conclusion

  • Suggestions for next steps or recommendations

  • Content references

  • Contact information for the person who conducted the report

3. Write the performance report

Preparing an accurate and thorough performance report is crucial. Several employees may work together to create performance reports. For example, a large firm may consult individual departments for information about expected revenue, completed sales, sales pending, and future sales forecasts. Using visual elements can improve the engagement and clarity of your performance reports. For example, you may include a section devoted to trend analysis that summarizes the performance data over a specified period using graphical depictions. Here are some examples of information that you may include in a performance report:

  • Work performance information: The information compiled from activities within the project goes through an examination of specific results. The results may indicate the percentage of complete work, the time elapsed, and the budget spent on the project.

  • Work performance measurement: Performance measurements may include projected versus actual performance, projected versus actual cost performance, and estimated versus actual technical performance.

  • Organizational process resources: Reporting project performance requires the use of organizational assets, such as report templates, measurement indicators, and varying project, activity, or company limitations.

  • Budget performance reports: Budget reports include information about the amount of funding required to complete the remaining project work, and the total amount required to complete the project.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Business Reports (With an Example)

4. Proofread the report

It's important to proofread your report thoroughly. It may be helpful to print a paper copy to help you spot any errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, or format. Depending on the size of your report, you may choose to share it with colleagues to review. By having a colleague review the performance report, you can ensure that all the figures and data are accurate.

How frequently you share and update the performance reports depends on the organization, the project, or the goal. Establish a regular review period that works for you, like daily, weekly, quarterly, or annually. To stay on top of metrics and resolve potential issues, it's important to monitor the subject of the performance report continuously.

Related: Performance Review Goals (Definition, Types, and Importance)

Example of a performance report

Here is an example of a performance report for a marketing company:

[Company name]
[Date of report]

In the marketing industry, it's difficult to compete with established marketing companies on a small budget. The report summarizes the results and efforts of both the company's print and digital marketing performance.

Performance results

  • The company created three new social media channels with weekly updates on each.

  • An initial social outreach resulted in ten new contracts.

  • A customer satisfaction survey resulted in a 90% average customer satisfaction rating.

  • Followings were at 100 or more within the first month, with fewer gains each month thereafter.

  • New discount offers provided value-added incentives to customers far beyond those of our competitors for a combined cost of only $1500.

  • After rebranding the company logo, the clientele doubled.

Visual aids
[This section may include visuals such as charts and statistical graphs that further depict the performance findings and data.]

Research shows customers find our service exceptional and our rates competitive. Through engaging content, shares, and likes, our social media presence impacted our customer growth and established future leads. Social media also provided a platform for networking within the community and promoting learning from other experienced professionals.

Next steps

  • Next season, achieve a customer retention rate of 85% or higher.

  • To increase content creation, hire an additional digital marketing director.

  • Create a website to enhance growth and establish a digital footprint.

[This section includes information about where you found your results, such as from surveys, competitor analysis, and customer reviews.]

Contact information
[This section may include additional contact information for various departments within the company that were involved in the performance report.]

Performance reporting FAQs

Here are a few frequently asked questions about performance reports:

What is the difference between a performance review and a performance report?

A performance review is a formal, regulated assessment process of an employee conducted by an employer or other key stakeholders. The aim is to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses and to provide constructive feedback for future skill development. Performance reports can pertain to an organization, a department, or an individual. As a comprehensive strategy, it addresses all aspects of employee lifecycles. Its goal is to assist you in setting up an environment in which employees can perform at their best.

Are performance reports a part of project management?

Project managers use performance reporting to analyze a project's progress and report forecasts and status to stakeholders. It's the goal of project management to get a team to accomplish all project goals within the regulations of the project. Project managers typically create a project document at the beginning of the development process with the regulation information. The project's scope, budget, and timeline limitations are the most common restrictions.

What are the benefits of a performance report?

An individual or a management team can use performance reports to identify growth opportunities within organizations and to improve their performance overall. They also aid in formulating strategies for achieving business goals and objectives. It can optimize different aspects of business processes by tracking various parameters, including inventory or employee turnovers, customer satisfaction levels, and company growth. Performance reports can also offer financial information related to sales volume, profits, expenditures, and production.

Communicating effectively is essential for productivity, team synergy, and performance. Effective performance reporting allows employees and stakeholders to build relationships, which can reduce workplace conflict because well-understood individuals can achieve superior results more quickly. Continuously learning new processes is crucial for employees to make informed decisions. By setting and achieving realistic targets through the help of a performance report, companies can further improve their performance and productivity.

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