Performance reviews are a value opportunity to assess and provide feedback on an employee's performance in order to develop their skills and professional growth. When conducted effectively, this can have a meaningful impact on employee engagement and boost company performance overall.
However, managers often face the challenge of using the review process to give constructive feedback without making their staff feel defensive. This can often lead to ineffectively simple reviews that avoid detail for fear of confrontation.
In the performance appraisal sample below, we look at essential elements you should have in a performance review, how to deliver a productive yet positive assessment, and how effective performance reviews can contribute to the success of your business.
A self-evaluation section allows employees to assess their own achievements, challenges, interests and areas of improvement. This not only allows you to assess your staff’s self-awareness but also provides insight into the skills employees are interested in developing or where they feel challenged.
In this section, it would be useful to allow your staff to share projects that they would like to highlight and discuss at the performance review meeting. This gives the staff a sense of ownership and allows you to understand what they deem important in their work. This creates a collaborative performance review that responds to the employees own insights and challenges.
Here are some performance appraisal sample questions that you can ask to help your team evaluate their own performance:
- What do you consider to be your biggest work achievement so far?
- What’s your favourite part of your job, and why?
- What’s your least favourite part of your job, and why?
- How do you think you can overcome some of your challenges?
Establishing job targets in your performance review helps to create benchmarks for growth according to the job scope. Reviewing which goals are achieved in this appraisal period also helps you determine new goals for the next review period.
When goal targets are unclear at the beginning of each review period, managers will find it hard to track employee progress. Employees, on the other hand, will lack clarity in their career direction and either end up just doing ‘whatever needs to be done’ or non-essential work - not a good scenario for employee motivation.
Here are some sample questions you can use to evaluate goal targets:
- What are your short-term goals?
- What are your long-term goals?
- What new skills would you like to develop?
- What current skills would you like to improve on?
The ‘meat’ of most performance reviews, this section shows how well your team member did according to key performance indicators (KPIs) in your company. This helps to engage your staff to assess where they are and where they are going based on a pre-established set of KPIs outlining what you and the business value in their staff.
To evaluate KPIs, a 360-degree approach is ideal: solicit feedback from all stakeholders that the employee regularly interacts with. This gives you a multi-faceted view of the employee’s strengths and weaknesses in the skills you’re evaluating. Having a rating system may also provide an objective way to assess members of the team and compare performance. This can be critical when bonuses are tied to performance review results.
When preparing for this section, ensure that your feedback is specific and actionable. An employee performance review should not be the first time negative feedback is raised, it should be an opportunity to evaluate their response to any challenges that have surfaced since the previous review.
There are two types of key performance indicators that are usually used in performance reviews:
These KPIs can be measured in numbers, and provide statistical proof of an employee’s performance based on their role. Depending on an employees’ role, different weightages should be given to such KPIs: for instance, reaching a target increase in assets under management and new customers are important benchmarks for relationship managers while someone in IT may be measured by service delivery error rate.
While not measurable in numbers, qualitative KPIs need to be taken into consideration in performance reviews. This is because they represent important soft-skills that can influence performance directly, such as knowing how to communicate, deliver customer service, problem solving, attitude and teamwork.
Training and development plans
Including training and development plans in a performance review serves two purposes: it helps suggests specific actions for improvement while ensuring accountability for future performance.
Having a section for training and development shows that you are committed to helping your team member address any shortcomings they may have and improve on their weaknesses.
In this section, you’ll need to address three questions:
- What key skills are required to allow the employee in review to meet their new goal targets?
- What is that employee’s current level of ability/confidence in those skills?
- What specific staff training or development activities are there that could help the employee in review meet their goal targets?
Follow-up dates and feedback
When managing teams of staff, we may forget about successful projects from 11 months ago and miss the opportunity to address it during the annual review. Instead there is a tendency to retain information about only the most recent events, basing the year’s performance on recent events and the trend of employees to work harder closer to a performance review meeting.
When concluding the review, add in follow-up dates to create opportunities for managers to deliver feedback to their team more frequently – every quarter, for instance. It is also valuable to create an opportunity for employees to provide feedback. This gives them a voice in the review process, instead of merely being a passive recipient of managerial feedback.
Utilise this performance appraisal sample in your next review
Communicate the performance of your employees effectively with this performance appraisal sample as your guide.
With the right appraisal structure, performance reviews can be a positive process that your team can use as an opportunity for their career growth and your business success.