Many small business owners have no formal employee performance review process, and unfortunately, that means they are missing out on growth opportunities for employees and the business.
Unlike traditional performance reviews that focus solely on “areas for improvement”, small business owners should use this one-on-one time with employees to not only give feedback, but also to hear from the employees. Everyone has different experiences with the company and the customer, and these conversations can be a valuable way to gain intel that will boost your employees’ performance and your bottom line.
Here are five performance review questions to ask your employees so you can get the most from your year-end reviews:
1. How did you feel the past year went?
This question allows you to address any problems as well as successes for the employee in the past year. It is the most standard part of a review, and it’s there for a reason. Besides an opportunity to give feedback, it also serves to provide standard and fair evaluations and raises/bonuses.
2. Are there any areas for development or improvement that you see?
Getting employees to think about their own improvement can help give them ownership over their performance. Maybe there is a training they would like to attend or a new program they would like to learn. Or maybe they want to find a mentor, within the company or externally.
3. What would you like to see your team/department/function do in the next year?
Whether or not you’ve already set specific company goals, this question can help with business planning for the next year. To get the most from this question, try to get employees to be specific, whether big or small ideas. Events to participate in, charities to contribute to, team-building outings, new software, new products, or new priorities may emerge during the conversation.
4. What is your biggest pain point in your job?
Not all employees complain when there is a frustrating aspect of their job, so you may not know where the internal pain points and roadblocks are. For example, employees may be frustrated at having to provide clients with their personal cell number for when they are out of the office. In this case, you could consider investing in a second business line service, such as NetLines. Not all problems may be as easy to solve, but at least you’ll know what they are!
5. What do you see as our customer/client/user’s biggest pain point with our product/solution/service?
You may already know your business’s problem areas, but even still, you may get some surprising answers to this question. And the results can be illuminating. Is your website too difficult to navigate? Is there a packaging problem? Answers to this question can help drive priorities in the coming year. Year-end performance reviews are a must for small business owners. You need to stay agile and adapt quickly, and your employees may have valuable ideas and information that you won’t know without formally asking them.