Performance assessment is a mandatory activity company because it helps to know which direction the company is taking and to determine if there is anything that needs change.

If you hired new staff at the beginning of the year, it is likely that you are planning to conduct the first quarterly assessment. One thing that will determine the quality of the assessment is the kind of questions you ask. Some can make employees afraid of speaking up such that they only give away one-word or vague responses while others can create an environment where they can share a lot.

Even if they have worked in the company for a short while, they can give a lot of valuable information. For you to get enough, you should ask questions that cover a many aspects of work as possible. In the sections that follow, we have listed some questions to ask for different aspects and some guidelines on what to do before and during the assessment. Note that some questions may have to be paraphrased based on the need.

What to do before and during a performance assessment session

  1. Prepare simple questions summarized to tackle all the relevant areas.
  2. Choose a friendly environment: The environment that you choose to hold assessment tests in has a great impact on the respondents’ comfort and quality of answers that they provide. A good example of this is an open space in the office versus a closed space. In the former, employees might be afraid of what their colleagues might think if they hear the responses and for safety, reduce the responses to bare minimum.
  3. Limit the number of assessors: Having too many managers on the assessing end can make your team afraid of sharing any valuable information. If possible, limit the number of assessors to one.
  4. Make the session conversational.
  5. Create ease: Inform your team a few days before about the assessment rather than bombarding them. Let the team know that the assessment is not a life or death activity, but rather an activity that will help everyone to improve for the overall satisfaction and growth of everyone. Break the ice with a greeting and recap the objectives of the session. Give the employee a chance to ask any question that he/she may have about the session before it begins officially.

Assessing career growth and desires

The highest quality of information on career growth and desires can be acquired when managers and employees get a chance to speak up. Examples of questions that can help achieve this are as follows:

  • Do you feel that you have fully settled into the team? If yes, which activities and people had the greatest impact? If not, how can we help you feel more at ease?
  • Are there aspects of the company that you aren’t sure about yet and would need more clarification?
  • Describe your typical work day and an ideal work day. Is this what you expected when you were joining the company?
  • How do you think you have progressed in a span of a month or the entire time you have been here?
  • What have you learned so far? Who has been of the greatest help so far?
  • What is something you are good at that not many people know about?
  • How do you think the public perceives the company and why do you say so?
  • What was your biggest accomplishment for the month or the year so far?
  • Is there anything that is holding you back that you would like to share?
  • Which areas of your career have you experienced the greatest and least growth? Give reasons.
  • Are there specific activities that you would like to try out? Give reasons for each response.
  • What are you working towards for the next 3 or 6 months?
  • What do you think that you need to do, your team needs to do, or the managers need to do to achieve your goals?
  • Is there a person/people that you would like to work with? Give reasons.
  • Which areas would you like more or less support in? Describe your ideal support system?

Assessing ways of nurturing creativity

  • Which creative activities do you enjoy, both in and outside work? What is their impact in your life?
  • Are there activities that you think can be done in a different way to save on resources, time, or make work more exciting?
  • If you were a manager, what would you change as soon as you had the power? Give reasons.
  • Which creative activities would you like to take part in while at work?
  • Do you have a skill that you would like to share with others?

Assessing performance management

  • What do you think are the key motivators for you?
  • How often do you think performance should be assessed? Give reasons.
  • Which are the best indicators for your progress? Give reasons.
  • Which are the best indicators of progress for various professional lines? Give reasons.

Assessing time management

  • Which activities take up most and least of your time? Are you satisfied with the time allocation?
  • On average, how much time do you spend in internal and external meetings? Are you satisfied with that?
  • Which activities would you like to spend more or less time in? Give reasons.

Assessing the nature of communication

  • How would you rate the level of communication in the company? Are there areas of change that you can recommend?
  • Do you receive crucial information on time? Give examples and impact.
  • In your opinion, what would be the best mode of communication to ensure you or everyone gets information on time? Give reasons.
  • Are the messages that are relayed to the team always clear? Are there common areas of misunderstanding? How can this be avoided in future?
  • How often do you receive new information for any subject in your work? Is this too much or sufficient?

Assessing the nature of relationships

  • How do you think teams and individuals are performing?
  • Are you able to approach your team members or managers easily? Give reasons.
  • Who is the easiest/hardest person to approach? In case of challenges approaching the person, is there anyone else that you can approach? Does this affect your work in any way?
  • Which activities do you enjoy doing with your team?
  • Which activities do you enjoy doing alone?

Assessing the work environment

  • Do you find your working environment conducive? Are there common distractions that can be eliminated and help you to concentrate?
  • Do you have all the tools necessary for your job?

To conclude, 

An assessment would be a waste of time and resources if the responses are filed away. Use the feedback provided for the growth of all by looking for highlighted areas for change.