The Payroll Blog

News, tips, and advice for small business owners

5 questions to address in end of the year review - boss giving employee a review

5 Questions to Address in an End of Year Performance Review

Posted On

With the end of the year closing in, it’s time to tie up a variety of loose ends. For many companies, this means an end of year performance review with each employee.

The purpose of the review is to look back at the past 12 months, while also discussing what to expect in the year to come. This isn't something that most people look forward to, but it's a process that can keep everyone on the same page as the calendar turns.

Before we examine the questions to address during an end of year performance review, here is something to remember: no two employees are the same, so no two reviews will be identical.

Even though you should expect a unique experience with each worker, there are some basic questions to guide the process:

1. What were your top accomplishments over the past year?

In addition to letting the worker answer this question, don't be afraid to chime in and share your own thoughts. For example, you could touch on a particular project that had a positive impact on the company as a whole.   

2. What areas did you fall short, and how can we work together to avoid the same in the future?

It's more enjoyable to talk about the good things that happened during the year, but that doesn't mean you should avoid discussing the worker's shortcomings.

The key here is to approach the question in a constructive manner. This isn't a time to drag the person through the mud. Instead, provide constructive criticism as well as a plan for improving in the year to come.

3. What are your top priorities for the next 12 months?

This provides a clear overview of what the person hopes to accomplish in the near future.

It's your job to hear the person out, give feedback, and share some priorities of your own. Discussing this now will help avoid a miscommunication that could cause trouble down the road.

4. What can you do for the company during the next 12 months that you were unable to do in the past?

This may sound harsh, but it's a great way to push employees to new heights. If the person is lost for an answer, don't be shy about providing input based on the areas in which the company needs the most help.

For example, when speaking with a marketing associate, you can provide suggestions on fresh strategies for the new year. Maybe he or she can devote more time to social media marketing, content marketing, or something else that was overlooked in the past.  

5. What do you expect from the company as a whole moving forward? Did we come up short in meeting your expectations this past year?

Remember this: a performance review is an excellent time to discuss the worker's view of the company.

Find out what the person likes, what the person dislikes, and the changes they hope to see in the coming year. Not only does this give you a clear view of where he or she stands, but it's this type of feedback that can help improve the company's culture.  

These questions, among others, are designed to help both parties better understand the good and bad of the past work year. Just as important, they can help shape the next 12 months to ensure greater success for the employer and employee.

Regardless of your preparation, there are always challenges associated with end of year performance reviews. By remaining organized, by asking the same set of "starter" questions, you can improve the likelihood of moving through this process in a timely and efficient manner.