In our ever-evolving corporate world, the approach to performance appraisals is being re-evaluated. This reconsideration of performance reviews includes changes in frequency, execution, and anticipated outcomes – from both management and employees’ perspectives. The transformation involves a shift towards more candid and personable performance review conversations. Emphasizing that ‘the quality of the answers depends greatly on the quality of the questions asked,’ there is an increased focus on nurturing open, meaningful dialogues to enhance the effectiveness of these evaluations.


As we explore how performance appraisals are changing, we also delve into fundamental questions like what a performance review entails, why it’s important, who benefits from it, and what constitutes a good performance review. This article aims to answer these questions, offering insights and best practices to make performance appraisals an ideal opportunity for setting expectations for a productive and rewarding new year.

Table of Contents

Boosting Employee Productivity through Performance Reviews

Performance appraisals are essential for evaluating an employee’s contributions and challenges over a given period. Effectively executed, they can significantly increase productivity. These reviews offer a chance for reflection and acknowledgment of achievements, while pinpointing areas for improvement. They serve as a motivational tool, helping employees reach their potential and align their objectives with the organization’s wider goals. Preparation and planning are key: both the reviewer and reviewee should participate in assessing past performance metrics and setting clear, measurable goals for the future.

Early Employee Appraisals: Laying the Foundation for the Year

Very often, performance appraisals take place at the end or very beginning of the year, which strategically allows for the establishment of clear, attainable goals, while considering the previous year’s performance. This timing is crucial for aligning individual goals with the company’s future objectives, fostering a focused and goal-driven work environment.

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Feedback for Greater Productivity, Motivation, and Development

Performance reviews, when done right, can help to boost morale and motivation. A balanced review approach, focusing equally on strengths and areas for improvement with constructive feedback, is vital. Aligning individual goals with the organization’s broader objectives ensures employees contribute efficiently to the company’s success. Appraisals are crucial for professional development, identifying skill gaps and potential career progression. The aim here is to enhance the employee’s skill set and promote a continuous learning journey, helping them to be more adaptable and progressive in their roles. Appraisals also boost engagement and motivation by serving as a platform to resolve issues impacting productivity.

Two-Way Performance Reviews

There is a growing trend of performance reviews becoming a more reciprocal process, moving away from a one-sided critique to an engaging and balanced dialogue. Employees are encouraged to bring their own questions to the appraisal, making the experience more balanced and less like an interrogation. This approach brings a fresh perspective, deepening understanding between employees and managers, while mitigating stress on the part of the appraisee. By asking their own questions, employees tailor the interaction in a way that brings added relevance to them and helps to address areas they feel strongly about. As always, such appraisals require strong managerial skills to deliver unbiased, empathetic, and effective feedback and ensure a fair and productive appraisal process.

Examples of questions that an employee may be encouraged to ask their HR managers are:

  1. Is my work output meeting your expectations?
  2. What areas of improvement do you see as a priority for me?
  3. What do you consider my strengths in the team, and are they grounds for career