Why Questions Work
For employees and managers, an upcoming performance appraisal can be seen as a nerve-wracking task on the horizon. These reviews can have a profound effect on company culture. So why not put yourself in a position for success? One way to ensure a positive experience for employees and managers is to include a list of thoughtful and focused performance evaluation questions on your performance appraisal form(s). Such questions can go a long way toward helping you set a positive, supportive tone while giving your employees and managers a clear understanding of their roles, progress and continued goals.
Traditional vs. Non-Traditional Questions
It’s important to remember that with the inclusion of open-ended questions, your performance appraisals can represent not only a measure of performance, but also a useful dialogue between employee and manager. The key is to use questions that require more than just a “yes” or “no” answer (traditional). Surface questions like these won’t provide you with the useful information you need. You’ll want to focus on questions that solicit a deeper level of feedback while empowering the employee with a voice (non-traditional). This includes getting a feel for how employees perceive themselves and your business by asking questions that require reflective answers, like this:
- What’s the one thing you enjoy most about your job? What’s the one thing you like least?
- What can we as an organization do to be more effective in reaching our goals?
Choosing to include these types of questions in your appraisal can also grant you real insight into your workforce, and how your organization can become a more effective catalyst for their success. Questions can also be used more like landmarks; inspiring future-focused thinking about life and work.
- What are your personal and professional goals?
- What are your strongest motivators to come to work every day?
- What are you working on when you feel the most purposeful?
- Why is this activity meaningful to you?
- What would you attempt to do in the next year if you knew you could not fail?
In addition to highlighting your own performance, some questions may focus also on those around you. While the below list may not work for your organization, and it might seem a bit counterintuitive, the answers you receive from these can paint a unique internal picture of your organization.
- Who is the most productive person on the team?
- Who is the least productive person?
- What are three things you can do to make yourself more productive?
These questions acknowledge not only your work but also the way you view other people’s work. Also it lets your manager (or leadership) know about any office politics, as well as giving you a goal to work toward. If Employee A is the most productive, what can you do to emulate his/her work style?
The bottom line is that including variations of these non-traditional questions within your performance evaluation software can provide you with a unique opportunity for collaboration, where there wasn’t one before. Listening to the input of your employees regarding business practices and systems can greatly improve your business. This can also ensure that employees feel they are more invested in the bigger picture. Knowing they have their own voice can help increase employee engagement and, therefore, improve office workflow as well as the quality of the products or services your company offers.