Engaging employees in performance reviews

As we come to performance reviews at year-end, leaders should be preparing to have formalised conversations with their people. In many organisations, this consists of a formal meeting where the manager tells the employee how he or she has performed (or not) during the year, and it is clear that the employee would rather be munching on glass shards than be there.

The employee has virtually nothing to say, and breathes a visible sigh of relief when the meeting is over. The manager ticks the box on the form, thankful that the dreaded process is over for another year. Let’s assume that isn’t you! If you are having regular discussions with your employees, there should be no issues with sitting down to formalise the process. However, a good performance review is also a coaching dialogue.

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Here are some ideas for questions you might want to ask – to get insights and to create engagement in a genuine discussion about performance and development options:

  • What do you enjoy most about your role?
  • What do you like the least?
  • What are you really good at?
  • What do you find most challenging?
  • Are there any skills you have that you feel are not being utilised?
  • Are there any skills you need to be successful in your role that you don’t currently have?
  • If you could change something about your job, what would it be?
  • What have you achieved that you are most proud of?
  • What would you like to have done better?
  • What do you think are the top three achievements you have had this year?
  • What are your biggest performance gaps?
  • What development needs do you have?
  • What are your career aspirations and what would you need to do to achieve them?
  • How can I help you succeed?

And so on.

It may help to give your list of questions to your employees prior to the meetings and ask them to come prepared. Then use the list as the basis for your conversation and see how much more interesting and interactive your performance reviews can be.

Rosalind Cardinal

Rosalind Cardinal is the Principal Consultant of Shaping Change, a Hobart based consultancy, specialising in improving business outcomes by developing individuals, teams and organisations. Ros is a solutions and results oriented facilitator and coach, with a career in the Human Resources and Organisational Development field spanning more than 20 years. Ros brings an energetic and proactive approach combined with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Her expertise spans leadership development, organisational culture, team building, change and transition management, organisational behaviour, employee engagement and motivation, strategic direction and management.


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