Questions To Ask Your Team Before Employee Performance Appraisals

Posted by Michelle • May 3, 2016 (Last modified December 13, 2022) • 4 min read

Creating a collaborative environment for your employee performance appraisal process can make the experience more meaningful and ensure you’re touching on what the employee finds important. Ask these 7 questions before the next performance appraisal and you might be surprised how much more engaged in the process your employees become!


What were your goals for this past year or past months?

This is a fairly basic question that probably makes an appearance in your current process already. Be sure to begin recording those aspirations within the employee’s file or the performance management system so you can revisit them periodically throughout the year and specifically during the employee performance review.


How did you approach meeting those goals?

One benefit of asking for this prior to the performance appraisal is that your employee is given ample time to gather their thoughts on actionable tasks they have planned or completed, including possibly providing actual numbers or statistics. If they haven’t met some of the goals in question, analyzing their process can give you both insight into why. It also shows the employee that despite missing a specific goal, they did (hopefully) make progress toward it.


Read more on How to Hold Employees Accountable in Feedback.

What are your goals for the next few months?

It might be a slight overlap from the previous question, but if you aren’t asking your employees to build goals within your organization than you’re missing an opportunity to develop happier employees. If the employee has difficulty selecting their own goals, work with them to decide what direction they are hoping to take within the organization or areas where improvement can be made.


What did you do to better our organization or team?

One study found that 42% of managers don’t believe employees are properly rewarded for job performance. This question invites employees to think critically about what they wished leadership noticed, whether it be soft skill talents like leading a colleague through a moment of panic or hard skills they built outside of the office and under your nose. This humblebrag allows those who don’t have very tactical jobs the chance to better explain their worth. But again, present it early so your employees have time to collect their thoughts. This also helps each employee better align themselves with corporate goals.


Read more on Making Performance Feedback Count.

What could you be doing better?

Self appraisals are really great for learning how reflective your employees are. If an employee made a mistake or had a decline in their results, you would like to them to notice that and begin altering their approach, right? This question not only allows the employee to begin building that trait, it gives them the floor in admitting their own faults. Some people feel better about admitting their mistakes over having them pointed out by an authority.


What will make me a better leader/manager?

If there’s any way to make the performance appraisal system more genuine, it’s by allowing employees the ability to be honest about their leaders. By asking this question prior to the review, you are allowing the employee to think of a professional approach to criticizing their own manager. Of course, this takes some practice on your part as you have to accept criticism with grace and be truly inviting. Chances are employees will not be forthcoming with their real thoughts unless you have welcomed this feedback prior, so continue to encourage and be open to honesty.


Who on the team seems to really be excelling?

Employees are highly motivated by compliments from their colleagues. In fact, 57% of HR professionals who introduced peer-to-peer recognition programs reported higher levels of employee engagement. Share the feedback with the employee anonymously and explain why you are happy to hear about the attention to teamwork.

Bonus Tip: Practice makes perfect and when you increase the frequency of employee performance appraisals, your employees become more familiar with the process, language, and even constructive feedback.


Read more on the Importance of Adding Continuous Feedback to Your Assessment Tool.

Read more about Great Performance Review Questions For Leaders.

Sometimes just beginning the performance review is difficult. Using these questions as starting points will make for a more conversational feel and allows the employee to be more involved in the compliments and criticisms. If navigating employee performance appraisals has you stumped, the team at Trakstar is happy to act as a resource. Drop us an email or give us a call!

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