Whether you are a start-up or a scale-up or the industry leader, there’s no substitute for having a highly engaged, skilled workforce. Invest in employee development
Performance management has been one of the key priorities for organizations striving to unlock unprecedented growth. If you look closely, performance management focuses on measuring and improving employee performance to facilitate organizational success.
However, as organizations are moving towards becoming people-centric, focusing on the growth and wellbeing of their employees, the understanding of performance management is expanding. The focus is now on a more holistic and comprehensive idea of employee development. Performance management is being increasingly viewed with a more end-to-end vision and a continuous process, highlighting the need to foster a culture of development opportunities for employees.
The move to expand the meaning and scope of performance management towards employee development is critical for fast growing organizations as employees are the greatest asset which they can nurture, develop and ultimately who will contribute to success.
Through the course of this blog we will explore 5 major steps that can enable organizations to go from performance management to employee development. We will also highlight some of the best practices and essential guidance for fast growing organizations that will help them in early years of their growth journey.
Often, when it comes to performance management, organizational leaders and managers focus on the immediate and short-term goals to gauge if things are working out or not. However, to adopt the broader framework of employee development, it is important to expand the scope and focus on the big picture.
Performance and development of the employee needs to be gauged in relation with the long-term goals and vision, while the short-term goals should be used as milestones in the longer journey. The focus should be on how the employee can develop and grow in the entire journey towards the goal, rather than how well he/she has been able to perform so far.
To expand performance management to employee development, organizations need to adopt a futuristic lens and gauge what can be rather than simply measuring what is.
The idea is to broaden the perspective and focus on areas that take into account the employee lens, rather than simply highlighting the impact of the performance on the organizational bottom line.
It is a fact that performance management in its conventional sense revolves around organizational goals. However, most fast growing companies believe in expanding this myopic focus. That’s how they move from performance management to employee development.
Here, it is important to create an alignment between employee and organizational goals. In the absence of such an alignment, employee development will not take place, irrespective of any number of efforts towards achieving organizational goals.
To put it simply, when employee and organizational goals align, there are streamlined and strategic efforts that go towards their achievement. Since the end goal is the same, every effort and improvement towards organizational goals directly leads to employee development as it takes employees one step closer to their career goals. Also, 58% of employees (62% of Millennials and GenX) say that having professional development opportunities increases their job satisfaction and is a major driver of long term retention.
Therefore, organizations must focus on communicating organizational goals to their team members and also help them in charting out what they seek to achieve in the longer run. Based on the two mind maps, leaders and managers can help identify areas of convergence and transform performance management for organizational goals into employee development for career progression.
While alignment of employee and organizational goals is important, it is equally important to facilitate collective brainstorming to identify the path to those goals.
When the focus is solely on performance management, the leadership generally creates the goals along with roadmaps towards achieving the set goals. Since the focus is on organizational success, it is considered that the leadership knows best. However, to expand performance management to employee development, it is important to have the employee voice too.
This brings the notion of collective brainstorming to the forefront. The process asks employees to be active participants in the setting goals, and creating plans to monitor and improve their performance with incorporation of indicators that align with their priorities too.
Generally, in performance management, feedback is limited to an annual or biannual event. However, to reinvent the idea and expand the scope, employee development must focus on continuous feedback. There are multiple facets to the idea of continuous and holistic feedback.
First, feedback should be a regular affair. It should take place at least once every month to identify and address challenges in the beginning itself. To continuously understand the employee pulse and overall organizational sentiment, you must develop a daily feedback culture.
Second, for employee development, feedback should come in from different sources. Since employee development is about more factors than just how productive the employee has been, the feedback should reflect the same with self reflection, feedback from managers and peer feedback, to start with.
Third, the feedback cycle should be transformed into a two way street. While the myopic vision of performance management may focus on a top-down approach for feedback, employee development requires feedback all across.
This suggests that employees must be given the opportunity and space to share what they feel has been the progress like from an organizational and individual standpoint and how the same can be improved. Employee development requires facilitating employee participation in gauging and identifying what is going well and what requires work, on a regular basis.
There are some standard metrics for performance management, based on specific roles, including the number of deals closed, productivity, etc. Often, these metrics focus on organizational goals and hence, do not seek to gauge the progress made on the professional level for employees.
To transition to employee development, organizations need to widen the scope and create and implement new metrics which have a more expansive focus.
From an employee development lens, metric should focus on the learning and development curve for employees. Additionally, attention should be given to transforming the standard metrics to make them more meaningful to gauge how they ultimately contribute to employee development.
The bottom line here is that the standard metrics for performance management should not be discarded. Rather, new ones should be added that focus entirely on employee development and the existing ones can be delved into deeper to make a case for employee development.
What we discussed so far is a comprehensive approach for fast growing startups to move from performance management to continuous employee development.
In addition, based on our work with many fast growing organizations, we have created a list of a few best practices to facilitate employee development that supports overall growth:
Since the team is one of the biggest assets for fast growing companies, investing in learning and training sessions for them is extremely important. Customized learning modules based on the future trends and industry requirements can help hypergrowth organizations expand performance management to facilitate employee development. Here a learning-first work culture makes a lot of sense.
Most professionals who join fast growing companies come with a growth mindset and are willing to take risks to make an impact and leave behind a legacy. Therefore, providing coaching and mentorship support can truly add value for employee development.
Fast growing companies have a benefit over established organizations in terms of flexibility of roles and tasks. They can encourage team members to explore and experiment with different kinds of roles and tasks, to achieve a steep learning curve, which is integral to employee development.
For many employees, working in fast growing organizations is the first step towards crafting and fast tracking their career. Here, such organizations can encourage their leadership team to help employees create their career plans and a roadmap to achieve the same. Employee development can thus lead to better career outcomes for the employees. It also helps with increasing talent retention rate — as 87% millennial employees prioritize professional and career development opportunities over other benefits.
Growth and development occurs at an unprecedented rate when professionals work together and learn from each other. Fast growing companies have the opportunity to enable their team members to collaborate with each other, with fluid boundaries of business verticals. Collective work and diverse ideas can lead to employee development and go a step beyond performance management.
Whether you are a start-up or a scale-up or the industry leader, there’s no substitute for having a highly engaged, skilled workforce. There’s no substitute for investing in knowing and developing your employees. When you focus on mentoring, coaching, and developing your employees, they return the favor by going the extra mile in their respective roles.
As you grow as an organization, make sure to develop a culture that doesn’t stop at simple managing and improving immediate performance, but rather leads to continuous growth. Make sure to learn about the needs and pain-points of your employees through continuous feedback, let them know they are valued through 1:1 personalized coaching sessions, and set goals for them that help them grow too.
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In the recent years, there has been a lot of attention that is being given to employee feedback, performance reviews and evaluation as a part of the whole performance management system.
While a major focus has been to prepare managers to give feedback in a constructive and effective manner, paying attention to employee self evaluation is equally important. Knowing what self appraisal comments to use can play a major role in helping employees to effectively reflect and evaluate their performance and convey it effectively to the rest of the team.
The purposes of employee evaluation and performance review in general have been talked about time and again. However, self appraisal takes the process of evaluation at a very personal and individual level, leading to a more pronounced understanding of an employee’s performance. Some of the top benefits of employee self assessment include:
In the section above, we have talked about the purpose or the need of self evaluation mostly from the perspective of the employee. However, self appraisal, when done correctly, has equally compelling benefits for the team as well as managers. A quick snapshot is captured below:
With self appraisal, employees become active participants in their review and appraisal process, rather than simply being passive recipients. Consequently, they feel valued, motivated and the level of engagement increases. Furthermore, with greater engagement, levels of commitment, retention and productivity go up.
When employees take a step back to reflect on their performance with self appraisal, they become more receptive to diverse ideas. Put simply, in the absence of self reflection, they will have a hard time gauging where they need to improve. Consequently, they will be defensive when a manager or the team gives them feedback on the same. However, self evaluation will help them accept the gaps and be open to learning and growing.
When employees reflect on their performance and identify the development areas, they will don a problem solving hat on to accelerate their professional journey. Through the course of time, this problem solving attribute will become a part of their skill set which will benefit the team and the manager greatly.
As a result of greater alignment due to self reflection on the strengths and areas of development, teams will see a greater sense of accountability to bridge the gaps identified. Under conventional circumstances, performance improvement might be seen as just a tick in the box by employees. However, after self appraisal, employees truly acknowledge and accept the need to bridge those gaps and take greater ownership and accountability.
Now that you have an understanding of why self appraisal matters, let’s quickly look at how to make it most effective. If you are experimenting with self evaluation for the first time, it can be an overwhelming activity for your employees. It is human nature to feel uneasy when you’re expected to evaluate your own performance. However, if you provide your employees with some comments they can use for self evaluation as a starting point, you can make the journey easier for them.
Put simply, self appraisal comments are common statements that can be customized by your employees during the self evaluation process, especially, if they find themselves at a loss of words to describe their performance
These phrases are available for both strengths and areas of development to help employees paint a realistic picture of their performance. Here are the top 100 self appraisal phrases that you can use for different performance parameters.
Use these self phrases to reflect on your clarity of communication, willingness to listen to others, etc.
These self evaluation phrases reflect how reliable or dependable you are for your team members, especially under special circumstances.
Using these self appraisal phrases can help indicate how invested or engaged you are in taking ownership of work without being asked to at times.
Similar Read: 150+ performance review phrases for managers
The following self appraisal comments are important to help review your performance on the basis of how punctual and attentive you are.
Use these self evaluation phrases when you want to highlight your strengths/ areas of improvement of working with the team, your collaboration skills, etc.
Creativity self appraisal comments can help you in reflecting on how effectively you are able to come up with novel and innovative solutions to challenges and new ideas to augment the impact and value created.
The following phrase can create a picture of your quality of work and how much attention you pay while undertaking a particular task during your self reflection process.
You can use these self appraisal comments to illustrate how well you understand what is expected out of you and how well you are able to deliver on the same.
Customer satisfaction self evaluation performance phrases help gauge how effectively you are able to address customer requests or complaints that leads to a higher Net Promoter Score, brand credibility, etc.
Finally, these self-appraisal comments can help you highlight your growth plans towards your professional development and impact on the organization.
With a broad understanding of the more than 100+ self appraisal comments that you can use as a part of your self evaluation process, let’s move to this concluding section. Here, we will focus on sharing a few templates that employees can use to articulate their performance in an effective manner.
The self evaluation phrases mentioned above can be added at the right places in these templates to give a holistic picture of one’s performance. A few things to focus on include:
In the last <performance period>, I have successfully <activity/ initiative undertaken> which led to <tangible impact (metrics)> for the organization.
My focus was on <a detailed view of everything that was done> which resulted in <accomplishments>.
Overall, I believe that I have been able to create an impact by achieving <top 3 achievements> and seek to amplify the same in the future.
I believe that the last <performance period> has been full of learning and development for me.
While I was able to <quick snapshot of achievements>, I acknowledge that I need to pay attention to <areas of improvement>.
I believe that this focus will help me <intended outcome for improvement>.
Towards this, I will ensure that I consistently work towards <improvement plan (courses, behavioral changes)> to achieve <SMART goal>.
That said, self appraisal is an extremely crucial step of performance review. As a manager you must encourage your team members to provide honest reflection on their performance without being afraid of any negative consequences. Apart from providing the self appraisal comments mentioned above, you can also use assessment tools to make self appraisal a common practice within the organization.
Holistic performance reviews are integral for any organization that seeks to create a high performance culture. However, the nature of performance appraisals has undergone significant transformation with a focus on 360 feedback and review.
One of the key pillars for the same is employee self assessment and self appraisal. Through the course of this article, we will share with you why self assessment is important and how you, as a manager, can help your employees get it right to facilitate maximum impact.
As the name suggests, employee self assessment or self reflection is the practice or process where employees reflect on and assess their performance over a period of time to identify accomplishments, development areas and other performance aspects
The aim of self assessment is to get the employees’ view of their performance and add the information and data to manager and peer feedback. This can enable organizations to get a holistic understanding of the employee performance and gauge the overall contribution, some of which might be invisible from a macro view. Here are a few reasons why employee self assessment as a tool for performance review makes sense for growing organization:
With the rise of continuous performance management and regular review and appraisal, your self assessment process should follow a similar approach.
Instead of pushing employees to assess and reflect on their performance at the end of the year, you should encourage them to conduct regular self assessment
On one hand, regular and continuous performance linked self appraisal by employees will ensure that no part of their performance goes unnoticed. On the other hand, it will constantly give them a chance to reflect on their performance and improve on the development areas on the go, instead of waiting for the year end. Invariably, they will embark on the path of development and improvement at an accelerated pace.
Here, if you leverage employee pulse surveys which are short and frequent in nature, you can ensure consistent and continuous self reflection from employees. With as frequent as one question a day, you can encourage your employees to build a culture of performance-oriented self assessment.
With self assessment and reflection being a fairly new practice to performance management, many organizations and employees struggle with getting it right.
While some believe that employees might see it as a chance to explain their bad performance, others believe that it might end up biasing the manager’s perspective.
However, when done right, employee self assessment can be an extremely powerful tool to facilitate a high performance culture. Here are a few tips to get your employees conduct performance self assessment the right way:
Encourage your employees to be open and honest. Employees must not see self assessment as a place for self aggrandizing in the hope of a better rating, rather an honest assessment of one’s performance.
For self evaluation to be effective, your employees need to reflect on their performance without the worry of being penalized for identifying areas of development and improvement
It is important to not see self assessment as the sole foundation for promotions and appraisals, but rather as a journey towards growth.
Next, persuade your employees to reflect on their OKR performance. The idea is not only to assess what has been achieved with OKR grading. It should also include reflections from OKRs about the possible enablers and blockers to further refine them for the next performance period. The employee must be guided to reflect on what helped achieve the OKRs and what other support is required as well as what he or she would personally like to work towards.
Download: Free OKR grading template
Third, when self assessing for performance review, employees must incorporate feedback from their conversations with managers and peers. If your organization has a culture of regular 1:1s, this will be very easy for your workforce. The idea here is to motivate your employees to reflect on what feedback they have been able to gauge and whether or not according to them their performance is a reflection of the same. 360 degree feedback can also be a helpful tool for employees to understand all aspects of their performance.
Factors like what did the manager praise about their performance or what did a coworker thank them for are very important for self assessment.
Finally, as a part of performance review self assessment, employees need to reflect on the challenges and opportunities, both internal and external. Internally, they need to assess their attributes, skill sets and aspirations and align them with the expectations to gauge their level of performance. Similarly, external factors like resources, team support and their impact on performance needs to be documented.
When you share these above mentioned tips with your team members, they are bound to ask questions about the best practices for writing or filling up self assessment surveys in the most effective way. We have you covered for that as well. Here are a few quick tips to help your employees write effective self assessment:
If you look at these best practices closely, you will realize that the key to writing effective self assessment also lies in the questions that you ask.
Simply asking an open ended question like reflecting on your performance will seldom yield any substantial responses, mainly because your team members will struggle with starting their answers
Therefore, we have compiled a list of questions and potential answer prompts/ templates to help you make self assessment a part of your performance review process effectively.
Ensuring impact with self assessment is not only dependent on your team members. There are several ways in which managers of an organization can help build a culture of effective self evaluation.
Create an open culture where employee self reflection does not become the sole tool to penalize or promote employees, see it as an extended glimpse of performance
As we come to an end, it is clear that employee self assessments are an integral part of performance reviews and if conducted in the right manner have the potential to drive a high performing culture. However, we understand that administering and facilitating participation for self assessment can be daunting, especially for a growing organization.
Fortunately, custom pulse surveys by SuperBeings with automated sending and reminders, along with NLP based sentiment analysis can take care of the same for you. If interested, book a free demo today to learn more.
Reviews can be overwhelming for those giving it as well as those receiving it.
As a manager, you need to ensure that the performance review phrases and comments you use create the delicate balance between providing critical feedback covering areas of improvement and ensuring a positive attitude to motivate the employees
To make the entire process effective, we have compiled a list of 150+ performance review phrases and captions that you can use with a list of phrases to avoid and best practices for providing reviews on areas of improvement.
Before we jump onto the review phrase examples that you could use, let’s discuss how you should use them to ensure maximum efficacy.
While the intent of employee review phrases is to provide appropriate feedback to the employees, there are certain practices and comments that you should avoid. Often, using such phrases will dilute the impact of your conversation. To ensure high levels of effectiveness, you should avoid:
Steer away from using cliched review phrases which don’t have any substance or communicate impact like ‘Mr. A is an excellent communicator’
This is a generic statement. You should rather use phrases that add value to the statement like ‘Mr. A doesn’t shy away from asking questions in case he has doubts about the conversation.’
You need to ensure that your performance review phrases do not hint on any level of comparison between two employees.
Avoid statements like, ‘Ms. P was able to close 10 deals in 6 months, however, you closed only 6.’
On whichever side of the spectrum your performance review falls, ensure that your phrases are not absolute. Put simply, you should stay away from comments that include the terms Always/Never. Even if you want to show incidence of more than one time, use terms like seldom/frequently.
For instance, avoid phrases like, ‘Mr. Q never speaks up during meetings.’
The intent of using performance review phrases is to ensure that you are able to communicate your feedback in the most meaningful manner
Using statements that humiliate or look down upon the employees defeats the purpose. Ensure that your statements have a constructive tone to them.
It is best to negate statements like, ‘Ms. L is the worst person on the team, she can never get anything right.’
Finally, be very firm and sure of the performance review phrases you use.
Terms like maybe, I am not sure, etc. will downplay the impact because the employee will get a sense of your uncertainty and may not take the feedback very seriously
Avoid using phrases like ‘I think Mr. G has been outperforming his targets for the last 3 months.’
Not all instances where you will use performance review phrases will be completely positive in nature. Rather, there will be multiple instances when you will have to talk about the areas of improvement for your employees if you really want to see them grow. However, delivering reviews on the latter can be overwhelming. Fortunately, the following tips can help you be well prepared for it.
Don’t throw random generic statements when you want to speak of areas of improvement. It may seem a good way to avoid confrontation, but you will end up not yielding any impact.
For instance, instead of saying, ‘You did not perform well’, use statements like ‘Your performance in the last project was not upto the mark due to several missed deadlines’
Next, if you are providing review or feedback for areas of improvement, try to make it as soon as possible, once you identify the challenge. The sooner you share the review, the more relevant it will be.
For instance, saying, ‘Mr. X did not meet sales targets in the first quarter’ when you are sitting in the last quarter will not yield much impact.
Finally, ensure that the performance review phrases you use do not come across as a personal attack on your employees. They should focus on the behavior or attribute you wish to talk about and not the person specifically.
For instance, instead of commentating ‘You are not serious about your work’ use statements like ‘Your performance in the last quarter indicates a lack of taking ownership’
Let’s quickly walk through the top 150+ performance review phrases that you can use for performance management and feedback for your employees. We have categorized them under specific performance aspects to make them easier to comprehend.
You can use these phrases to describe your assessment of whether or not the quality of work has been as per company standards.
Generally, quality of work is intrinsically linked to high levels of motivation, commitment and productivity
Every role or job comes with a set of expectations and responsibilities. If an employee is foggy on this understanding, chances are high that he or she will be unable to deliver as per expectations.
Clear job knowledge will help employees set clear expectations of themselves and ensure effective performance
Attention to detail is a subset of quality of work and is critical for most roles.
Employees that have high levels of attention to detail are often more proactive and deliver error free work
On the other hand, a lack of the same leads to a high number of inaccuracies.
As a performance component, dependability refers to the degree to which you can rely upon your employees to deliver quality work consistently and put in extra effort if the need arises
Initiative is an attribute that is exhibited by only a few employees who take ownership of getting things done without being asked to.
Initiative is generally found among employees that feel a sense of affinity towards the vision and values of the organization and seek to make an impact
When you are working in an organization, you seldom work in silos. You often have to collaborate, co-create and collectively work with your team members towards a shared goal. An employee can be a great individual contributor but may not excel in teamwork. However, high levels of teamwork and collaboration lead to greater engagement, commitment and a positive culture.
Productivity refers to the output an employee is able to deliver, both in terms of quality and quantity. Employees that show high levels of productivity are an asset to the organization. Providing regular performance feedback on productivity can enhance the same by making employees aware about the gaps.
While it is true that employees must be given adequate time off, taking leave of absence very frequently and without prior notice can impact an organization in more than one way.
Attendance is not limited to showing up at work, but also permeates to meetings, sessions and learning initiatives. It is an overt display of commitment and engagement and low levels can be an indication of potential attrition
Poor communication among employees can lead to misunderstanding, high stress, poor company morale and much more. On the flip side, streamlined communication results in greater engagement and a better experience. Constant feedback on communication can help prevent instances of miscommunication and clarity at all levels.
Employees with high levels of integrity often align with strong moral values and believe in ethical business practices.
Guiding integrity through performance review statements can help build an attractive and reputable employer brand for the organization
Leadership as a quality is integral for your employees if you seek to build a healthy succession pipeline
Reviews on leadership capabilities can help budding leaders build the right skills, competencies and attitudes to take up new roles and positions without any challenge.
Problem solving is one of the most critical skills for the 21st century. Employees no longer have to just undertake repetitive tasks, but have to indulge in critical thinking to address real world challenges.
Creating a culture of problem solving can help you ensure resilience and business continuity even during uncertainty and ambiguity
Surrounded by uncertain market conditions, employees need to display high levels of adaptability. Be it picking up new skills, or pivoting priorities as the need arises, adaptability is highly critical today. Consistent feedback on adaptability can help employees gauge the importance of this quality and focus on developing the same.
Close to adaptability lies the quality of flexibility to describe employees who are not rigid and set in their own ways. They are open to new ideas and are willing to accommodate in case the need arises.
While it is important to innovate and think out of the box, a certain level of adherence and compliance to policies and practices is integral for a thriving culture. For instance, certain HR policies, POSH policy, etc. need to be adhered to, to ensure the maintenance of a professional decorum and create a safe workspace for everyone.
Though not exactly a performance parameter, it is very important to get in line performance review phrases that talk about achievements of the employees. While positive phrases can reinforce the achievements, areas of improvement can help reach the desired levels.
Despite the rise of a casual work culture, especially with the advent of remote work, there is a need to maintain a level of professionalism to ensure the right culture. Performance review phrases on professionalism can help employees understand what is desirable and how it ultimately impacts productivity, performance, retention and engagement at large.