EMPLOYEE REVIEWS: Benefits & Sample Questions For Evaluation

Employee Reviews

If you’re intending to introduce employee performance reviews for the first time, want to revamp your company’s approach, or simply need a reference guide, here’s all you need to know. We’ve also included some employee performance review sample questions that you may use right away.

What are Employee Reviews?

Employee reviews are assessments of an employee’s performance that are often undertaken by the employee’s boss. Employee reviews are a necessary but uncomfortable aspect of a company’s hiring and employee retention processes. Many people regard these gatherings as arbitrary, a corporate necessity with no genuine purpose or significance. Employee reviews, when used correctly and handled successfully, can help transform long-term employees into team members.

What is the Importance of Employee Performance Reviews?

Employee performance reviews, in addition to long-term good effects, provide an immediate boost – not only for businesses but also for individuals who desire an assessment of their strengths and weaknesses and development in their careers. Here are some of the advantages that performance reviews can provide:

#1. Aligning personal roles with business objectives

A job performance review is an opportunity to ensure that everyone knows the organization’s vision and goals, as well as how their work fits into the overall picture. Individual performance is the driving force behind organizational performance.

#2. A thorough awareness of job responsibilities

Individuals are empowered by performance management to consider their role within the organization and clarify any areas in which they have questions. Any ambiguity in the workplace is avoided when employees and supervisors thoroughly grasp and own their unique job obligations. Everyone is responsible for their own job and obligations.

#3. Performance evaluations are given on a regular basis.

Regular feedback helps to improve overall workplace communication. Performance reviews assist in identifying an individual’s strengths and limitations, as well as providing employees with a better grasp of the expectations that are placed on them.
Performance management may be a motivating tool, pushing employees not just to be more content with their work but also to go above and beyond the call of duty.

#4. Advancement of one’s career

The performance review provides an opportunity to plan for and set goals to further an employee’s career. Performance management will also assist them in obtaining any additional training or mentoring that will serve as a foundation for HR’s creation of future succession planning.

#5. Good performance is rewarded.

Performance management provides rewards other than pay that demonstrate gratitude for a job well done, such as time off and bonuses. The promise of a performance review that is better than ‘exceeds expectations’ – one in which it is recognized that you have gone above and beyond – is a motivation to perform well and may open the door to future career progress.

Do Employee Reviews Motivate Them to Improve?

Gallup, an American analytics and advisory firm, discovered that only 14% of employees strongly feel that their performance reviews motivate them to develop.
While a performance review may be intended to recognize and praise good work, the fact is that they are frequently viewed as either a box-ticking exercise or an occasion for criticism.

How Can We Better Motivate People to Improve?

69% of employees think they would work harder if their contributions were recognized more.
While both positive and negative feedback is necessary for future development, praising someone for a job well done provides a sense of satisfaction and appreciation, which can inspire a good attitude toward work in the future.

Rather than devoting an hour or two once a year to discussing an employee’s achievements with the firm, one of the most effective methods to motivate people to work harder is to provide ongoing, honest feedback.

Giving praise and criticism at the moment not only helps an employee learn but also allows them to adjust or enhance their working methods and have their efforts recognized practically immediately. This is a much more efficient method of encouraging constant change in your team. It demonstrates that you are paying attention to your team members and speaking up because you believe it is important, not simply because it is on your calendar.

Who Is in Charge of an Employee Performance Review?

It is usually the person’s line manager, as they are the most knowledgeable about the employee’s function and present work. In some circumstances, the review may be led by a leadership group, team leader, or a more senior leader, or by someone from human resources.

An Employee Review: How to Conduct It

Consider the following steps to conduct a thorough and productive review for your employee.

#1. Start at the beginning.

Beginning with the employee’s start date and progressing through their employment helps to build a clear path for the review. This procedure allows you and the employee to reflect on their performance and provides a framework for addressing expectations and opportunities for development. Discuss any positive developments you’ve noticed or how the employee has grown as a professional.

#2. Goals should be highlighted.

Reviewing prior goals set for your employee is an effective technique to evaluate the work they have completed within a specified time frame. SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goals) might assist both of you to stay on track with your objectives. This should continue to be the primary emphasis of the employee performance review. Add as much information as you need to clear up any confusion and reaffirm expectations.

To appear helpful rather than judgmental, state the “what” and “how” of each aim for unachieved goals or objects that could use some work. Remember to consider the employee’s perspective and use it to help them.

#3. Talk about the future.

Planning ahead of time benefits both you and your employees in terms of enhancing and maintaining performance. Examine areas where your employee can improve and develop short- and long-term goals that will lead to improvement. Focusing on the future for a portion of the review can assist both the manager and the employee see how these goals tie in with the company’s vision and help you figure out how to achieve them within the time frame you’ve set.

#4. Set goals that are attainable, reasonable, and equitable.

There is no such thing as a little goal, and inspiring your employee with future expectations helps enhance their abilities. This is also an excellent approach to guide the review to its conclusion.

#5. Use words of encouragement

As you encourage your employee to be specific about their goals, be specific about your positive feedback in return. A positive remark can assure the employee’s good response to feedback, so take advantage of this opportunity to highlight their strengths, positive work habits, and anything else that is commendable about their performance.

#6. Comment and ask questions at the end.

Allowing questions during the review is a good method to make employees feel valued, empowered, and certain of job requirements. Inquire if they have any questions about their role, your role, or anything else that concerns them. Not only do questions and answers give security for your employee, but they also provide security for you. This type of feedback allows you to identify ways that you and your department can better support your employees.

Allowing your employee to ask questions or discuss the basis for your review promotes transparency and confidence. As an example:

  • Do you have any comments or questions about your review?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?
  • What else can we do to assist you in your development?

Naturally, the employee may have questions or concerns, and you should be prepared to address them to the best of your ability. They may inquire about the following:

  • Why was I given this score?
  • How can I increase my performance?
  • What are some of the potential roadblocks to this process?

It’s a good idea to provide space at the bottom of your written review for these questions and concerns. Recognize and address each issue during your chat as your employee responds, and make notes in that section. This demonstrates that you are committed to both listening to and remembering what your employee has to say. After your meeting, provide the employee with an updated version of the review that includes the notes you took. Employees like small follow-ups like this, which keep both sides informed.

Templates for Employee Performance Review

Nobody can or should conduct a performance review on the spur of the moment. It is critical to use customizable templates that cover all of the required feedback categories and KPIs while also providing a positive review that energizes, motivates, and engages individual employees.

Examples of Comments and Questions For Employee Performance Reviews

Regardless of the performance review methodology you choose, offering comments in the clear, positive language is critical to keeping the review goal-focused and productive. Managers and other raters must be specific with their remarks, remain supportive, and suggest solutions to help the employee progress while writing performance reviews.

Criteria will differ depending on your organization’s size, breadth, and culture. However, there are a few features that practically all businesses have in common. Here are a few examples of issues to consider when developing your employee evaluation criteria:

  • Achieving objectives
  • Sets difficult goals for himself/herself
  • Assists others in achieving their goals
  • Prioritizes his or her work in accordance with the needs of the firm and its consumers
  • Even when faced with obstacles and problems, he or she achieves his or her goals.
  • Leadership characteristics
  • When making judgments, considers team members’ ideas and opinions.
  • Assists team members in resolving work-related issues
  • Holds team members accountable for meeting their goals.
  • Communication
  • Listens actively to others
  • Adapts his or her communication to the audience’s demands
  • Clear and simple communication
  • Teamwork
  • Effectively collaborates with other team members
  • Provides positive and beneficial feedback to others
  • Treats others with dignity
  • Team members’ differences are valued and respected.
  • Listens and participates actively in a work-related discussion
  • Culture/Values
  • Every day, he demonstrates the company’s principles.
  • Serves as a role model
  • Makes a good working environment

The content of a performance review will vary based on the job function and company, however, it may be beneficial to design some generic questions for managers to ask, such as:

  • What is [Subject’s Name’s] greatest strength, and what can he/she do to continue growing?
  • What is [Subject’s Name’s] biggest opportunity, and what can he/she do to improve?

Comments To Avoid in Employee Performance Reviews

Although both performance review templates and performance reviews are customizable, it is critical to be conscious of the messages you send. Great review talks foster an employee’s performance, development, and manager-employee relationship, whereas ineffective ones can harm employee engagement and even corporate success as key employees leave.
Here are some true blunders – while some of these may appear a touch exaggerated, they definitely highlight clearly what NOT to say and why not:

  • “You do such a fantastic job that I have nothing constructive to say to you.” Even your most talented employees will have areas where they may grow or develop their talents. Comments like this convey the appearance that you haven’t bothered to look closely at their work.
  • “If you double your targets this year, we may consider promoting you to the C-suite next year.” Avoid using ‘if/then’ sentences since they sound like hollow promises based on unrealistic aspirations.
  • “You’re never on time at your desk. And you’re often late for meetings.” Avoid using absolute phrases like ‘always’ and ‘never’ because no one is ever on time 100% of the time.
  • “You’re an excellent employee. “Keep up the good work.” This offers nothing about what the employee does well, how they can improve, or what they can do to ‘keep it up’. You must describe in detail what the employee performed well and their development goals in order for them to keep up the good job.
Read Also: EMPLOYEE EVALUATION: How to Write Employee Evaluation Form
  • “I heard you handled that financial services account poorly, which was, to say the least, disappointing.” The reviewer is relying on hearsay rather than first-hand observation here, and the employee is not given the opportunity to present their perspective before being condemned. True, it is peer observation, but using 360 feedback instead of the office gossip mill is far more productive.
  • “You knocked the other two designers off their feet. Their prototypes were garbage in comparison to yours.” Comparing coworkers and colleagues in a performance review is a no-no. You’re only reviewing one person’s accomplishments; leave the failures (and successes) of others to their own, independent performance talks.
  • “I cannot believe it! I expected you to do a good job on this, but you did not.” The reviewer injects emotion into the assessment, which will only irritate or agitate the employee receiving the review. There is no constructive feedback, and this level of antagonism is likely to lead the employee to seek employment elsewhere.
  • “You’re extremely fortunate to have received this promotion. “Do not squander the opportunity.” Much condescension and resentment? You should never belittle your employees but rather appreciate and promote their accomplishments. Forcing employees to accept a promotion does not imply that it is the best option for them; they have the right to choose.

Avoiding Pitfalls in Employee Performance Reviews

By being aware of these possible failure points when you prepare or review your performance review process, you can save time and money.

#1. Loss of connection between procedure and goal

Make sure your performance management system’s aim drives the process, and be prepared to make modifications if necessary. Understanding how well your organization’s goals align with the day-to-day work of individuals and teams is critical in this situation.

#2. Not prioritizing a feedback culture

If your organization does not already have a feedback culture, invest time and resources upfront to clarify the underlying purpose of performance reviews and build trust in the process.

#3. Failure to include your stakeholders

Bringing decision-makers and corporate executives on board from the start will raise buy-in, and participation rates, and set your program up for success.

#4. Not establishing a support network

Follow-up and feedback must be included in the project from the start. Set early expectations for employees and managers so they know who to turn to for help and support.

#5. Communication breakdown

The most important aspect of establishing a new or enhanced performance management system is communication. When com­mu­ni­ca­tion about the process is authentic and trans­par­ent, per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tems suc­ceed.

#6. Managers have insufficient training and support.

There will be no per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem suc­cess unless the peo­ple involved invest in the process. Employees will mirror their bosses’ attitude toward the performance man­age­ment sys­tem if they perceive it. Managers must take control and lead by example, and they must be supported and adequately trained to do so.

Alternative Methods for Gathering Feedback

Employee performance reviews are the most effective tool for many firms to convey and collect employee feedback. However, new techniques are emerging as a result of the increase in experience-led businesses and a new appreciation of the significance of employee experience.

#1. 360-degree feedback

Staff members can receive feedback from peers and junior staff members as well as managers in a 360 feedback process. They can also review themselves, resulting in a comprehensive – or 360-degree – assessment of their strengths and prospects. However, this type of application should only be used for development and not for performance evaluation.

#2. Constant feedback

Some businesses decide to forego the formal format of a performance review and instead provide feedback on an as-needed basis. This may be a viable solution for small enterprises and new ventures. However, without a formal milestone, there is a risk that staff would lack clarity on how they are progressing and what they need to concentrate on.

#3. Pulse reviews from employees

The employee pulse review is a happy medium between ongoing feedback and a large once-yearly performance review. It is a smaller-scale employee review that is done on a more regular basis, such as monthly or quarterly. Pulse feedback is more often linked with employee engagement surveys, but it also works well for sharing input in the opposite way because it provides clear measures and is quick and simple to complete.

Should Employee Reviews Be Eliminated?

The effectiveness of your employee reviews is greatly reliant on what you intend to gain from them and how you use the information that is revealed. It is possible that you will need to revise your current review strategy, replace it with another type of regular input, or abandon the idea of a formal review entirely.

Employee reviews will be ineffective when managers believe they are simply jumping through hoops to satisfy their HR department. Similarly, if they are not held frequently enough to provide meaningful continuous feedback, or if employee pleas for assistance in improving their performance are ignored, nothing of value may be obtained from the talk.
Examine your current procedures and consult with employees, managers, and key


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