Performance Reviews

How to set up your Performance Reviews in 2019: Example questions, case studies and more

New year's resolutions aren't limited to your personal life, we start each year off with new professional goals as well.

Whether it’s to not always have 1000 unread emails or to get better at delivering to promised deadlines, we often forget to track progress along the way. So when the end of year evaluation comes round in the form of the dreaded performance review, it's an unbearable chore.

Dreaded isn’t a term we use lightly, in fact according to Deloitte 92% of companies believe their performance management process is not highly effective in driving business value.

But in order to create a process that supports performance and growth it’s important to first understand what’s not working today. Here are the reasons that come up most often:

  1. Human nature — people don’t like giving or receiving feedback

  2. Inflexible — outdated frameworks that are prescribed

  3. Lack of time — it’s ‘extra’ work on top of busy day jobs

  4. Surprises — delayed feedback can be taken out of context and difficult to learn from

  5. Difficulty — complexity of completion

As with most things in life if you split the effort into smaller digestible pieces the task at hand becomes much more achievable and the value more easily recognized.  


But where do you start?

There are plenty of tools out there which can support with delivering value. While it may be instinctive to throw money at it and use technology to solve the problem, we recommend reviewing your existing processes first, identifying where the gaps are, and getting clarity on what you to achieve before opening your wallet.

If the challenges above sound familiar, there are few different types of reviews and processes you can benefit from in 2019. Our change management philosophy has long been “crawl before you run,” as such we often recommend that our customers start with one of the following three review types as they are the easiest way to quickly drive value and ultimately get user buy-in.

We’ve outlined three recommended review processes along with examples questions so you can get a better sense of the valuable insights and feedback that can be gathered with each approach. For a more detailed overview, check out our 2019 Guide to Modern Performance Management.

1. Leadership Reviews

During a Leadership Review the manager receives upward feedback from their direct reports. This type of review can help close the gap between what your leaders think and how their actions and styles are actually being received by their reports.

This is often a great place for fast growing organizations to start as they typically tend to promote from within and have a high percentage of first time managers who can benefit from this type of insight.

“By conducting leadership reviews, I have a consolidated overview of feedback from my team on specific topics. So immediately, I can identify one or two professional development goals that I should optimize and focus on.”
Alexander Draaijer, VP of Sales at Bynder.

When setting up a Leadership Review, rating scales are a lightweight way for people to provide feedback. Here are a few questions you can use to get started.

Example questions:

  • My manager has and communicates a clear vision/strategy for the team.

  • My manager and I have consistent and productive 1:1s

  • My manager could help support me better by… (Open ended question)


2. 360 Reviews

With a 360 Review individuals receive feedback from multiple sources including direct team members, colleagues they work closely with, managers, and direct reports.

Gathering feedback from multiple sources allows for less biased and more well-rounded feedback. This is particularly useful for organizations where individuals often work cross-functionally. 360 Reviews are also an effective way to support team development as they provide insights into how people’s actions and behaviors can impact others.

When setting up a 360 Review, the focus should be on capturing specific and detailed examples to ensure participants can define clear and actionable next steps. Free from questions are a great way to gather this type of insight, here are a few questions you can use to get started.

Example questions:

  • What has your colleague done really well in the last 3 months? How has this impacted you or the team?

  • What could your colleague improve going forward? What would be your suggestion to improve?


3. Performance Reviews

Performance Reviews can be done in a variety of different ways, they can include a self-assessment, manager feedback, and even additional colleagues. The aim of performance reviews is to align on performance to date, expectations, and personal development goals. They also create coaching-moments with tips on how to improve in the coming period.

Performance Reviews when done several times throughout the year in a light-weight manner can help companies and teams stay aligned and on task while minimizing the risk of miscommunication and surprises at the end of the year.

Example questions:

  • What were the key achievements of your team member since the last review?

    • Self-assessment alternative: What have been my key objectives and to which extent did I achieve this

  • Do you feel your team member has other strengths or skills that are not being utilized?

    • Self-assessment alternative: Do you feel you have other strengths or skills that are not being utilized?


While we have only highlighted three types of reviews, there are several others that might be also be right for your organization.

By increasing the number of touch points throughout the year and opening up the feedback channels to more employees within the organization, you create space for a more well-rounded more accurate review. This allows individuals and the organization to benefit from insights that create an opportunity to course correct, adapt, and grow in real-time.

Now it’s up to you to decide what type of reviews will work best for your organization based on your stage of growth, business challenges, and other important factors.

Download The 2019 Guide to Modern Performance Management to help you decide what review types will work best for your organization, as well as best practices and examples to get you started, today.