How to Conduct an Effective End-of-Year Employee Review

Your end-of-year employee review can be crucial to ensuring your company’s success in the upcoming year, but it can also be quite daunting if you’re not sure what to ask your employees or what your expectations are for them. Just as you should ask an important set of questions when hiring someone, you should also be specific during their yearly reviews. Here are some questions you should consider asking during your next end-of-year review, along with key performance indicators that will help you make necessary changes to help your team succeed in the future.

What goals were accomplished this year?

This is a tricky question because many employees take on new tasks and responsibilities at the end of the year. If you want to know what they accomplished, ask them what tasks they completed that were related to their original job description. You could also ask them about how they overcame any challenges, or what skills they picked up this year. Finally, you can let them know your expectations for next year and see if they are open to achieving those goals as well.

What goals were not accomplished this year, and why?

Ask your employees why they did not accomplish certain goals and how they could overcome that in the future. For example, if you ask a salesperson why they did not meet their quarterly goals and they say I don’t know, then you should spend some time diving deeper into that question. Did they place all the calls they were supposed to? Did they follow up? Was there a procedure in place to help them handle difficult contacts or onboard new ones?

By getting to the root of any issues that arise, you can better prepare your team to meet those goals in the future. If the employee’s answer is different from what you expected, it might be a sign that something needs to change. It’s important to remember that your end-of-year review should always be constructive – there should never be any negative feedback because ultimately this meeting is about improvement and growth. This does not mean you should not address negatives such as someone who does not follow the daily check-in schedule; it just means you should bring that up and try to address it positively, pointing out what is happening and asking for a change.

What did the employee do well this year?

This is the perfect place to give praise and highlight any good that the employee has done this year. They deserve it! 

What could the employee have done better this year?

Employees should be able to articulate what they could have done better this year and be specific so they are able to improve upon the points you mention. Be sure to ask questions that will allow them to reflect on the items you want them to improve upon. Make sure that you ask them what they think they could have done better first. Just as you let employees ask questions and provide comments during the interview process, allowing room for a conversation on both ends during reviews not only gives both parties a chance to speak, but it should help improve your team’s performance. Then, if your employee does not mention something that you have noticed, address that. Remember, be specific so they are able to improve upon that point next year. Just saying something like “your turn time wasn’t fast enough” won’t help. Tell them they turned in projects two days late every time and that needs to be fixed moving forward, as an example.

What are the employee’s goals for next year?

One of the best questions to ask during an end of year review is what goals employees have for next year. Goals are important because they give employees a sense of purpose and help them better understand how their work impacts the business. Setting measurable goals will also allow you as a manager, or company owner, to set clear expectations. For example, “I want you to increase sales by 20%, or I want you to reduce customer complaints by 10%.” This will make it easier for managers and employees alike to understand what’s expected in order to achieve success. Make sure that all goals are measurable so that there is no confusion about what needs done and how progress can be measured along the way. Just saying “get more sales” helps no one.

What are some key performance indicators that can be used to measure progress towards those goals?

In order to evaluate performance, ask employees what key performance indicators they want to measure. Goals and objectives should be set in advance. This will allow you to see how the employee is performing in relation to their goals and objectives. It will also give them a chance to talk about what obstacles they are facing, so that you can work with them on solutions. After employees have mentioned what they want to measure, it is then your turn to share what items you want to measure and how much you want to improve them.

For example, maybe your employee points out that their customers respond better to emails versus phone calls. You should take that feedback and focus more on KPIs (key performance indicators) around emails instead. Then, you can say that you want to see more new customers brought in via email, so you will also be measuring new leads to conversions via email.

What questions do you ask at your end of year reviews? Let us know so we can share them with the HireMyMom family!



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employee review, end of year, goals