Your Guide to Annual Reviews: Questions to Ask & Metrics to Measure
Annual job performance reviews can be a time of hope and excitement or stress and contention. How employees feel about their annual review largely depends on the workplace culture and how safe they feel discussing their work experience with their manager.
An annual review is often a meeting place for employees to provide feedback on their colleagues and managers and set personal goals for the next 12 months while simultaneously receiving feedback on their performance. Today, we see these reviews happening on more than an annual cadence as some organizations have opened their doors to bi-annual or quarterly reviews and frequent 1:1 meetings.
During annual reviews, it’s essential for a manager to maintain a meeting structure and/or agenda to guide the conversation. However, ensuring employees have the time to ask questions and converse is equally important. This is also a time for employees to gather feedback and ask important questions that may determine whether they need to start looking for a new job.
The following guide will identify questions all employers and employees should consider when preparing for and conducting annual reviews.
Metrics to Measure
When determining which metrics to measure, consider who provides the information. Implementing a 360° feedback method allows employees to give and receive feedback from their peers without feeling targeted. Introduce the idea of 360° feedback through anonymous surveys conducted through dedicated software.
Metrics you should consider when evaluating your team include their productivity, willingness to learn and participate in the organization, key performance indicators, sales goals (if applicable), and general comradery throughout the organization.
When considering metrics for your annual review, first audit your engagement in the company. A few questions to consider are
- Do I know what is expected of me at work?
- Do my daily tasks and job responsibilities align with my formal job description?
- Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
- Is there someone at work who encourages my professional development?
- Does someone speak to you regularly about your progress?
Depending on how you answer those questions, you may already have the tools you need to participate in an effective and thoughtful annual review.
As you prepare for your review, consider your contributions to the organization over the last year. Is there a project that you excelled at? If so, address that experience and share how you grew during the opportunity and how it positively impacted the organization.
Questions to Ask During an Annual Review
When beginning the review, an employer can approach the evaluation in a few different ways. A succinct approach centers around two questions: “What did the person do well?” and “What could the person improve?”
A more in-depth approach that is quite popular is a four-step structure: beginning with an overall summary of the person’s performance and leading into a discussion around the things the person could start doing to make an impact in the organization. From there, discuss things a person could refrain from doing not to restrict their growth. Finally, discuss items the person should continue doing because of the success and growth achieved thus far.
Should you elect to conduct a 360° review, include questions in your employee survey like,
- How would you rate [NAME]’s operational knowledge?
- How would you rate [NAME]’s performance capacity?
- How would you rate [NAME]’s contribution to our company?
- Does [NAME] deploy the organization’s values?
For performance-oriented feedback phrasing, take a look at this list.
During an annual review, it is common for an employee to be forward-thinking. You may wonder if a promotion is ahead or what growth opportunities will cross their path. Employees should most definitely be awarded time during the review to ask questions of their manager.
Here are a few questions you should consider asking:
- Is there room for growth in this position?
- What opportunities for professional development will be available to me this year?
- Can you name a few of my strengths and weaknesses?
- How can I support my team better this year?
One of the most important elements of an annual review is the feedback given to employees and employers. To give effective feedback, you must remember a few things:
- Helpfully approach conversations and don’t overly criticize.
- Instead of revisiting errors made in the past, provide feedback that will help them in the future. Some call this feedforward.
- Explain your perspective—what didn’t work for you might have worked for others. When explaining your feedback, be specific about your personal experience.
Feedback is one of the greatest gifts we are given in our careers. Whether you work in an office, on a ranch, or in the field, constructive criticism is the key to your success. Positive feedback will help employees feel more motivated, which can support employee retention, and routine reviews are a great opportunity for employers and employees to thrive.
Interested in More Employment Resources?
Whether looking for a job or seeking new candidates, the Better Together Blog is packed with advice and insights to help you succeed. Subscribe below to receive the latest content in your inbox—directly from staffing industry experts.
Enter your email address to receive updates when we publish new content.