Posted by Robert Half on 03 July 2017
Most companies have a performance review process to assess how well their employees are doing.
However according to Forbes, managers often face the challenge of using the review process to give constructive feedback without making their staff feel defensive. In the performance appraisal sample below, we look at essential elements you should have in a performance review and how they can contribute to the success of your business.
A self-evaluation section documents achievements, challenges, interests and areas of improvement - as perceived by the staff being reviewed. This section usually uses the SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) method to analyse job performance and is completed in advance by the reviewee. This also allows you to assess your staff’s self-awareness (strength/weaknesses) and problem-solving skills (opportunities/threats).
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.
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?
Going through job targets in your performance review helps re-frame employee performance according to the job scope. This keeps the review discussion focused on what matters in their role.
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 work productivity.
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. Having a pre-established set of KPIs will serve as a guide on what you and the business value in their staff. Often, KPIs are either related to individual or company goals, or upcoming special projects.
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. If you need to deliver negative reviews, let them know about it beforehand so that they have ample time to process the feedback – and their response – before the 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. Examples of these include Increase in assets under management, revenue, new leads or new customers or percentage of error-free service delivery.
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.
To evaluate qualitative 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.
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?
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.
This happens due to the ‘recency effect’, or the tendency to retain information about only the most recent events. HR.com, a human resource social network, has reported on a common tendency among managers to base the year’s performance based on a recent event and the trend of employees to work harder closer to a performance review meeting.
Adding follow-up dates in performance appraisals helps remind managers to deliver feedback to their team more frequently – every quarter, for instance.
Having the next performance review date in writing also helps employees to stay on track with their progress.
End a performance review with 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.
Taking a step further, encourage your team member to provide feedback about the performance review meeting.
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.