As an employer, it can be challenging to create an effective performance review process that provides meaningful feedback. It requires asking the right questions that elicit honest and valuable insights into how employees perform so you can identify areas for improvement.
But sometimes, employees may not be open or forthcoming with their thoughts when managers or human resources leaders ask the questions. They may feel nervous or intimidated about being completely honest with an authority figure.
Having co-workers ask these questions can make it feel more like a performance conversation than an assessment. Peer reviews can add a layer of nuance to your performance management programs. They help give employers a fuller picture of each employee and their team at large.
Peer Review Best Practices
Before we dive into the questions, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you set up a successful peer review process.
Asking employees to pose open-ended questions can prompt more valuable and insightful responses because they are not limited to yes or no answers. Instead, these questions allow people to elaborate on their responses and provide greater insight into their thoughts, processes, and experiences.
Enforce Privacy and Anonymity
Be sure to set expectations with all employees that they can't share or talk about answers given in a peer-to-peer review. Privacy enables employees to share honest, open feedback without fear of repercussions. It helps create a safe environment for people to be candid and address any challenges they're facing.
Likewise, let employees know the answers they give to their peers are only shared with human resources management and direct managers.
Evaluate Peer Reviews with Manager Reviews
Gathering insights from both peer and managerial perspectives allows employers to analyze feedback from different angles. With a complete picture, you can better formulate more accurate assessments and evaluations of your employees and develop more successful strategies for their career development.
To get the most impact from peer reviews, encourage your employees to ask the right questions that will lead to meaningful and insightful responses. You can even give them a list of questions — like the one below — that they can choose from.
Knowing how an employee gauges their success or performance can help you get on the same page so you can address issues or identify successes.
For example, imagine an employee has consistently met their targets but says they haven't been successful in their role. What’s causing this? It could be that the organization needs to do a better job of showing how individual effort contributes to overall success. Or, it could be that the employee is a workaholic who feels they can’t do enough and they need additional encouragement to take PTO.
Performance questions are a great way to dig into issues like this. Examples you can ask include:
- What were your biggest successes this review period, and how did you accomplish them?
- Which goals have you achieved since your last evaluation that you are proud of, and how did they impact the workplace or team environment overall?
- What are your greatest strengths, and how have you used them at work recently to achieve success in a project or goal?
- Have you acquired any new skills since the last review cycle?
- What skills are you hoping to learn in the next quarter or next year?
- What additional skills would be beneficial for achieving success in this role over time?
- Are there any projects or tasks you struggled with in the past year, and if so, what did you learn from them?
- Do you see any areas of improvement in your job performance, and what would that look like?
- What areas could you improve on to better contribute to your team?
- Are there any strategies that have worked well for you in accomplishing tasks and achieving goals?
- Are there areas in the organization where you feel comfortable or interested in taking on more responsibility?
Personnel, Team, and Colleague Review Questions
How employees answer questions about colleagues and teamwork can reveal whether or not employees feel supported and how well teams collaborate.
If these questions uncover roadblocks in communication and collaboration, you can make a plan to help remove them. Alternatively, if one employee stands out as an interpersonal communications superstar, you might have a great candidate to lead a communications mentorship program!
Here are some peer-to-peer questions that can evaluate interpersonal relationships:
- Does your manager provide enough support for you to succeed in your current role, and how can they better support you?
- Does your manager provide clear goals and expectations for the team overall?
- How could your manager better evaluate and assist your performance or provide more support or resources?
- Is feedback given clearly and frequently enough by management to help develop yourself professionally within the company?
- How did you help collaborate with team members during a challenging project, and what kind of feedback did you receive from them?
- Can you describe a successful collaboration between yourself and other employees or teams?
- How could your team better collaborate on projects or tasks?
- How could the team use more efficient communication to improve project outcomes?
Workflow, Resources, Tools, and Systems Questions
To get a complete picture of an employee's performance, you can ask questions about their workflow and the tools they use. These inquiries can provide valuable insights into how employees optimize their work processes. You can find out if they’re able to access the right resources and systems for success or if additional tools or features could help them be more productive in their roles.
Here are a few questions employees can ask each other:
- Are there any tools or software that would make completing tasks easier or more efficient?
- Are there any changes or modifications to tools, systems, or processes that can help make your job easier or more enjoyable?
- Do other departments have resources that could potentially benefit this department’s workflow?
- Have there been any changes lately to how things are done at work, such as new processes, procedures, or technologies? If so, what were they, and how did they affect your role specifically?
- Is management open to employee suggestions and ideas when it comes to improving processes, procedures, and systems?
- (For remote teams, specifically) Does working remotely pose any challenges for completing certain tasks effectively compared to in-office collaborations?
Employee Experience Questions
Having peers ask employee experience-related questions can help you gauge employee satisfaction and engagement. This type of employee feedback gives you a complete picture of how they view the workplace environment. It also allows you to make changes or adjustments that contribute to a strong company culture.
Here are some examples of employee experience-related questions:
- How have you been able to stay motivated and productive during the last quarter?
- What strategies do you use to manage stress in the workplace?
- What are your biggest challenges in the workplace, and how have you managed them?
- Do you believe the company provides you with adequate professional development or career growth opportunities?
- Do you feel the company values and prioritizes employee wellbeing and work-life wellness?
- What could our company do to make you feel more engaged in the workplace?
Peer Feedback-Related Questions
Finally, it's helpful to ask a couple of questions about the peer review process itself so you know whether employees find it valuable. You can use their answers to evaluate and improve the process. Consider asking:
- Do you think peer feedback has been a helpful tool in developing yourself professionally within the company?
- What suggestions would you have for making peer review questions more effective and helpful for employee evaluations?
Focus on Improving the Employee Experience
Peer reviews are an effective way to gain insights into how employees feel about their work and your organization. They are an effective way to gather boots-on-the-ground information about how things are going at your organization and ways the employee experience could be improved.
Insights into your employee experience are increasingly valuable. Today's workers want employers that support their personal wellbeing just as much as they foster professional growth. As detailed in our 2022 State of Work-Life Wellness report, 75% of employees say their wellbeing is just as important as their salary.
If you’re interested in offering a wellness program that demonstrates your dedication to employee wellbeing, reach out to a Gympass wellbeing specialist today.
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.