The CHRO's Guide to Performance Management

11 questions you should ask in your next performance review

How often do you evaluate your employees’ performance? Is it annually? Quarterly, perhaps?

When it comes to performance management, traditional employee performance reviews are go-tos for many human resource (HR) professionals and companies. 

While these reviews provide a systematic way to measure individual and team performance, they might not go far enough.

Truth be told, TINYpulse research has found that 41% of employees think their performance review process is ineffective. In other words, relying solely on performance reviews means you may be missing out on other opportunities to evaluate performance and provide feedback.

Continuous performance management, on the other hand, gives you a better way to stay on top of employees’ performance year round. 

What is continuous performance management?

Like the name suggests, continuous performance management is the ongoing employee evaluation that takes place in an organization. Rather than a once-a-year event like the annual performance review, several types of performance evaluation techniques are used.

What are the benefits of continuous performance management in the workplace? 

With continuous performance management, employees receive:

  • Timely performance feedback
  • Real-time positive behavior recognition
  • Consistent, meaningful feedback at regular intervals

Increased communication comes naturally with continuous performance management. This is a great thing because more frequent communication and feedback can help you strengthen relationships and build trust within your teams.

This, in turn, creates a company culture that supports growth and where productivity flourishes. 

Employees want ongoing feedback — and continuous performance management gives them that. In fact, research has shown that when employees know what’s expected of them, productivity increases by as much as 10%

The role of performance reviews in continuous performance management

Selecting the right combination of performance review systems is key to implementing continuous performance management. For many organizations, this will include a formal performance review in addition to more frequent check-ins — like one-on-one meetings.

Whether you're evaluating your employees quarterly or annually, a performance review is often a recap of what’s happened throughout the review period. Continuous performance management means there shouldn’t be any surprises at the end of the year.

It’s a time to reflect on performance and identify developmental opportunities for your employees and teams.

11 examples of performance review questions

It’s no secret that HR plays a critical role in the performance review process. 

At an organizational level, you can ensure the way your company evaluates performance is fair and effective. At an individual level, you can help employees feel more involved in the process and ensure their voices are heard.

Ideally the performance review questions you use targets two types of performance: 

  • Individual performance
  • Overall team performance

Example individual performance review questions

Questions for an employee to evaluate their own performance.

1. Which of our organizational goals do you connect with most and why?

2. What is one thing you think you should start doing more of at work?

3. What is one thing you think you should keep doing at work?

4. What is one thing you think you should stop doing at work?

5. What do you think your biggest challenge will be in the coming year? How do you plan to handle it?

Example team performance review questions

Questions for an employee to evaluate their team’s performance:

6. How well do you feel your team works together to meet performance goals? 

7. How well do you feel you can voice your opinion with your team without facing negative consequences?

8. How well do you feel tasks are fairly distributed within your team?

9. How well do you feel your team provides constructive feedback to each other

10. How frequently do you feel your team recognizes each other?

11. What, if any, changes would you like to see for your team?

5 steps to implementing continuous performance management

The performance review is just one component of continuous performance management. While it can be challenging introducing a continuous performance system to your organization, it’s much easier when you follow these five basic steps, which will make the process easier and less intimidating.

With that in mind, here’s how you can implement continuous performance management at your company.

Step 1: Identify your organization’s goals for performance management

The first step in any performance management cycle is performance planning. More than likely, your company has already defined their strategic vision and objectives. It’s critical these are the foundation of your performance management strategy.

Take, for example, an organizational goal to increase knowledge sharing. A successful continuous performance management plan hinges on identifying which behaviors and results support this. 

Step 2: Determine how individual and team performance will be measured

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), less than 40% of employees feel that their company’s systems establish clear performance goals. Before you determine how to measure team and individual performance, you’ll need to identify what you’re measuring in the first place.

What does “excellent” performance look like for your teams? What will employees need to do to make that happen? How do these support your organizational goals?

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While you can create standard goals for teams based on their role in the company, try to leave some flexibility with individual measurements. This will allow managers and their employees to create individual goals that target performance and development.

With continuous performance management, try to avoid putting too much emphasis on long-term goals. The SHRM recommends setting three to five shorter, more specific performance goals.

Step 3: Decide which continuous performance management strategies to use

Continuous performance management is a combination of strategies and techniques. Here are some of the most effective performance management strategies to use in conjunction with quarterly, bi-yearly, or annual performance evaluations.

One-on-one meetings

One-on-one meetings are popular — and for good reason. Not only do they help strengthen relationships and build trust, they also provide an opportunity for regular performance feedback and development planning.

Download TINYpulse’s Handbook for 1-on-1 Meetings to discover how to run inspiring and productive one-on-one meetings.

Peer recognition

Did you know peers are the number one motivator when it comes to going the extra mile?

Leveraging peer recognition can help you create a collaborative environment and improve individual and team performance. Peer recognition tools like TINYpulse’s Peers for Cheers work because they validate employees’ performance and help employees feel appreciated.

COACHING AND DEVELOPMENT

Like leadership, coaching is often thought to be a natural gift some leaders possess. While that is true to some extent, the skills required to effectively coach and mentor employees can be learned.

HR is in a unique position to be able to take an organization-wide approach to growth and development. You can help your company build a culture of coaching by teaching your managers and leaders how to coach their employees effectively.

Employee performance rewards

Employees want to be recognized for a job well done. While monetary and physical rewards are just one piece of the puzzle, they do play a role in performance motivation.

One of the keys to a successful performance rewards program is providing the right reward. The challenge is knowing what your employees want.

If you're stuck for ideas, check out these 121 creative ways to reward employees

Once you have a list of might be a good organizational fit, send a survey to your employees asking them to rank their top choices. They may even have some new ideas to share.

On-the-spot performance feedback

While one-on-one meetings and performance reviews are a great time to monitor goal progress, giving feedback in the moment can often be just as (if not more) effective.

After all, 65% of employees want more feedback. 

When you provide performance feedback in the moment, it prevents employees from being caught off guard. And the feedback doesn’t have to be negative. It’s just as important to focus on the positives.

360-degree feedback

Rather than just soliciting feedback from supervisors and employees during the performance review, many organizations are moving to 360-degree feedback.

That’s because 360-degree feedback provides a variety of perspectives which can lead to a more balanced performance evaluation. These perspectives can also reveal new opportunities for development.

Step 4: Create a performance management communications plan

Change is often met with resistance. When it comes to implementing continuous performance management, a solid communications plan can help create buy in.

Start by thinking about your why. Why is continuous performance management important to your organization? What benefits does it bring?

Before sharing your plans with your entire company, work on getting all of your managers onboard. They’re the ones who will be providing most of the continuous feedback, so you’ll need their support. 

Once you have their buy in, you can develop an internal communications plan to introduce continuous performance management to your employees.

Step 5: Evaluate your continuous performance management system

After you go live with continuous performance management, it’s crucial to periodically evaluate its effectiveness. 

Try to collect both qualitative and quantitative data from employees and supervisors. You can do this with surveys, virtual focus groups, and interviews.

Evaluate your continuous performance management system as a whole as well as each individual strategy you’re using. This will help you better understand your system’s overall effectiveness while drilling down to see what’s driving it.

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How can HR help improve employee performance?

Continuous performance management is an effective way to improve employee performance, engagement, and morale.

From peer recognition to 360-degree feedback, there are many techniques available that can help your organization get to the next level. At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the combination that meets your company’s unique needs. 

Start by setting performance goals that support your organizational goals then get your employees’ feedback about what they need to feel supported. With their input, you can develop a continuous performance management plan that works — and helps your organization grow into a stronger, more customer-obsessed company that delivers increasing value to all of your clients.

Here’s to building a stronger, happier, more effective team!

Lori Li

Lori Li

September 30, 2021

 

 

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