Performance reviews can vary drastically in their effectiveness, which helps explain why 58% of companies believe such reviews are not a good use of time. But employee reviews do not have to be a waste of time. By asking the right questions, you can do a lot to ensure that your performance review accomplishes what you want it to – encouraging communication between management and employees, aligning employees with company goals, praising employee growth and identifying problem areas.
Asking the Right Questions – What do You Want to Know?
As you draft your review questions, it is important to consider what you want to get out of the review. What do you want or need, to know? The needs of you, your department and your company may not be the same as the needs of another. The more clearly you understand what you want to know from your reviews, the easier it will be to choose the right questions.
In general, you want your questions to do two things – open communication between you and employees so you can get honest, legitimate feedback, and help you discover ways to help your employees do even better in the future. If you can generate honest conversation and discover ways to improve performance and satisfaction, you and those you manage will get a lot more out of the performance review process.
Choosing Performance Review Questions
The “best” review questions have to be personalized to the needs of you and your company – but that does not mean you have to go groping blindly in the dark for ideas. You can look at the kinds of questions that have worked for others and pick and choose what will work for your needs, customizing them as you see fit.
Effective review questions include:
1. What is one thing you have accomplished since the last review that you are proud of?
One of the best ways to break the ice with a performance review is to start out with something positive questions that engage the employee and allow him or her to feel valued. By asking about an accomplishment that happened since the last review, you keep the question focused and encourage the employee to think about recent events.
2. What are you hoping to accomplish over the next quarter, six months and year?
Writing out goals for a specific time period can be useful for you and the employee. From the answers you can gauge what the employee thinks that he or she is capable of, and identify opportunities for coaching and/or assistance to help reach the goals.
3. Do you have access to all the tools and/or resources you need to do your job? If you don’t, what are the roadblocks that are keeping you from getting those tools and/or resources?
Management is not always aware of when employees lack the tools or resources they need to excel in their position. While sometimes there are reasons for the lack of resources (too expensive, for instance), sometimes the problem is simply one of communication.
4. Do you feel like you and your team work well together? If not, what are the problems you are experiencing?
Most employees are part of a larger group that is tasked with accomplishing a goal for the company, which is why teams must operate well together. It is important for management to be aware of problems within a team so that he or she can correct those problems and maintain efficiency.
5. What is one area where you feel like you could improve at your job? Is there anything you feel like management could do to help you improve?
Most employees want to do the best job they can do – they just do not always know how. Management can greatly benefit from knowing what the employee wants to improve at. Once you are aware of the need and desire to improve, you can develop actionable goals that can help the employee get where he or she wants to go.
6. What do you think the goals of our company are? What do you think the goals of your department are?
It can be surprising to discover that employees are not always aware of what the company is trying to do, or even their own department. Whether due to a gap in training, poor communication or some other reason, the overarching purpose of the company can be lost. You can ensure that the confusion is cleared up once you know that it exists.
7. Can you explain how management has helped you in doing your job? Can you also explain how you think management has hindered your job performance?
Chances are that management has both helped and hindered, so it can be useful to have the employee identify both what is working, and what is not.
8. Do you have any concerns that you would like to bring up about your department, or the company?
While the employee may have already explained any problems he or she was having in other questions, it can be useful to ask for feedback on problems directly.
Simple, Frequent Performance Reviews
Year-end reviews are intimidating because of how much time has passed. They are typically long and complicated, because they have to cover such a long period of time, and they put significant pressure on the employee and often on management. One way you can make the performance review process less stressful for everyone is by simplifying it and conducting reviews more frequently – such as every quarter, or after the completion of a project.
Using performance management software, you can create customized reviews based on your needs and schedule them for whenever works best. Online performance reviews make things even simpler, allowing you to send out reviews as needed, have employees complete them online, and then keep them organized automatically.
We are your resource for performance management solutions. If you would like to know more about employee performance management options, please contact us. We provide comprehensive systems that can help you achieve improved performance, while saving time and energy.