Performance review season is a difficult time for everyone. For employees, it means proving themselves to HR and upper management, and for HR, it means developing effective and detailed investigative questionnaires. Both sides have a lot riding on their performance. If employees goof their performance reviews, they could miss out on a promotion, or worse, get fired. If HR produces a sloppy measure, the entire company can suffer. So what are some phrases to put in your performance reviews and why?
This is because performance reviews play a vital role in businesses. Reviews highlight where employees need more training, whether workers are performing productively, who is worth promoting, where the company has succeeded over the past few months, and much more. Teasing out all this information requires some carefully worded lines of questioning. Therefore, phrasing is everything. To take some weight off your HR team’s shoulders, we’ve gone ahead and made a short primer of phrases that can boost your company’s performance review process. Check them out here.
While it’s not possible to generalize a performance review to every single employee in the company (some departments require more specific questions), the categories we have selected are standard to most performance reviews. They cover the broader skills that employees need to work productively in a company.
Keep in mind that, in order to build a truly effective review, you may need to include more than what we have shown here.
- Has the employee shown leadership potential? Does the employee benefit his coworkers through direct engagement or influence? Are others’ skills improved through the employee’s work?
- How can the employee become a better leader?
- Can you recall any specific situations when the employee exemplified what it means to be a leader? What skills did they show at the time?
- Are others excited to work with this employee? Does the employee make others feel included?
- How has the employee’s work directly affected the team, organization, and overall goals of the business?
- Rate the employee’s level of impact on the organization from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest level of impact.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how effective is this employee in their position?
- What is one thing the employee could start doing to be a more productive, more impactful employee?
- How well does the employee match the workplace culture? Give an example of a time when the employee embodied the workplace culture.
- Does the employee live up to the standard of other workers in the company?
- Does the employee come to work ready to do their job?
- Is the employee proactive about finding solutions to problems?
- Give an example of a time when the employee came up with a creative solution to a problem
- How well does the employee think on their toes when faced with new challenges?
- Does the employee complete assignments before the deadline?
- Does the employee give accurate time estimates for how soon they will turn in work?
- What could the employee have done better to manage their time?
- How could the employee better prioritize their work in the future?
- Can you give an example of a situation where the employee was unable to complete an assignment without supervision?
- Has the employee ever missed deadlines due to unproductivity?
- Does the employee relay information in a clear and concise manner?
- How could the employee communicate more effectively?
- Does the employee work well with others?
- How well does the employee listen and take direction?
- Give an example of a time when the employee provided you with feedback. Was their feedback constructive or critical?
- Does the employee take on a leadership role in a team or fade into the background?
- Would you describe the employee as a team player? Why?
- Give an example of a time when the employee’s efforts directly benefited a team project
- What is something the employee could have done better to improve the team project?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, how well does the employee contribute to the team’s workload.
- What should you start doing to improve in the future?
- Give a recent example of your impact on the company.
- What work are you most happy with?
- Where do you think you could have done better in the last year?
- What are your career goals for the next year?
- Over the course of your career, what do you wish you would have accomplished?
- Where do you see yourself in ten years? What are your long-term goals in the company?
- Where do you struggle, and where do you succeed in your job? What interests you, and what doesn’t?
Peer Review Questions
- What is one piece of advice you would give to this employee to make them a more productive member of the team?
- What changes could this employee make to help them grow into a more effective employee?
Looking into the Details
As you may have noticed, there are a few repeated styles of questions or phrases. Many are direct, to-the-point questions about an employee’s performance. Some ask the reviewer to rate the employee on a scale. Others have the reviewer look back on the employee’s past work and connect it into the future. Asking a variety of question types helps to provide a rounder, more detailed image of the employee. These types of questions also help to guide the employee towards their future goals and expectations.
Writing an effective performance review requires a specific tone and a specific set of measures. With so much riding on a well-conducted performance review cycle, it’s crucial to master the art of phrasing the performance review. Sticking to similar phrasing, as shown here, will guarantee that you tease out all the necessary information in a professional way. With the right information, you’ll be able to make the appropriate changes to your company in the coming year. Download the ebook, “The Skeptics Guide to Performance Management“ and get started on improving your performance management process.