The performance review can be an extremely stressful part of an employee's job. The performance review is typically a yearly examination from both the employer and employee concerning the employee's job performance and defining the employer's job demands and culture. Many employers want comments back from the employee once the review is done. While the types of comments depend on whether the review is good or bad, the process of commenting on the review should be the same no matter what the contents are.
Read the review a few times. The review process tends to be a bit mentally and emotionally overloading, so you may not at first fully process all the information that your supervisor has thrown at you.
Put the review away for at least 24 hours. You may be so fired up about the comments (both good and bad) that you want to respond immediately. Fight that urge and allow time for your brain to process the review. If the review was negative, this will allow you time to cool off and think constructively about what to say. Be pragmatic and understand that everyone can improve somewhere.
List both the positive comments and the negative comments on a word processing document. This will help you to organize your thoughts and break the positives and the negatives out for easy reading.
Gather positive comments that people have sent you about your job over the past year. If the review was positive, these comments will support your boss's review. If the review was negative, these will show your side of the same story and will be useful if you ever have to plead your case to upper management.
Review your job description to determine if you are being reviewed fairly based on the job you are doing. Talk to your manager and the human-resources department if the job description needs to be changed.
Comment on each section individually. For positive sections, note how you could excel even further. For negative sections, comment on how you feel you can improve and what the company can do to help you. Provide back up if you feel any negative comments are grossly unfair.
Make a copy for your records and discuss your comments with your boss. The performance review is a two-way conversation where both parties need to work together to make the business stronger.
If your manager refuses to listen to your comments (especially if they are in response to a negative review), you may have to escalate your comments to a higher manager. Make sure you have exhausted all opportunities to speak with your direct supervisor about the review before you do this.
Never make comments in anger. This will only undermine you and cause management not to take you seriously. Take time and cool off before starting this process.