15 Questions for Better Performance Reviews

Get the most out of performance reviews by asking the right questions

Updated on April 12, 2021

Performance reviews are crucial to gauge the satisfaction and effectiveness of your employees. And if you cringe at the idea of giving performance reviews because you think employees dread them, you’re wrong.

Performance reviews benefit employees—oftentimes more than they benefit you. It’s an opportunity for you to ensure your employee:

  • is in the right position,
  • has adequate training and resources,
  • and is happy in the company.

For employees, it’s an ideal time to:

  • ask for additional training,
  • inquire about a promotion,
  • or tell you something that can be improved.

Imgur You can't just run through the motions in performance reviews. You need to get meaningful feedback from your employee and they need to feel they have the opportunity to express themselves.

The best way to ensure you have impactful performance reviews is asking the right questions. So, here we go!

15 Questions for Performance Reviews

1. What is your favorite part of your job and working here?

Open the performance review with a lighthearted question like this. You want employees to feel like the performance review is a conversation, not an interrogation.

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2. What work accomplishments are you most proud of?

Similarly, draw attention to employee accomplishments before you get into areas of improvement.

3. Do you have adequate resources to do your job?

One of the many reasons employees are held back in their positions is lack of resources or decision-making power. If the employee doesn't have everything they need to effectively do their job, it's likely many other employees feel the same.

4. Do you have adequate time to accomplish what you need to in the work day?

Understanding your employee's bandwidth is crucial for maximizing performance and engagement. If they spend the whole day stressed because of their workload, it's likely their performance is suffering and changes need to be made.

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5. What are 1-3 professional areas you feel you could improve in?

Asking your employee where they could improve opens up the conversation on their terms. They may openly address the same areas you wanted to discuss, and if not, it's the perfect time for you to share your observations.

6. If given the opportunity, what would you change about your current role?

This performance review question gives you insight on aspects of the job that could be improved, or specific preferences of this employee that can help you better manage them.

7. What is the most challenging part of your job?

Learning the most challenging part of your employee's role gives you the opportunity to support them where they need it most. Or better yet, make changes to the role to alleviate unecessary challenges.

8. What are your top 3 goals for the upcoming quarter?

This question is a great way to understand how your employee views where they're at now, and where they hope to go. Your job is to help them get there! Which brings us to our next question...

9. What are some ways I can help you meet those goals?

As a manager, you are your employee's supporter, mentor, and champion. If you don't help your employees meet their goals, who will?

10. Do you prefer to be recognized for your work privately or in the open?

According to Harvard Business Review, 40 percent of workers in the US said they'd try harder at work if they were recognized more often. A different study by Gallup revealed that 28 percent of employees said that the most memorable recognition comes from their manager.

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11. What is your top motivator to come to work every day?

It's important that performance review questions help you better understand who your employee is and what motivates them. Learning their "why" behind what they do for work is just a start. :)

12. Do you have any questions on your current role or future at the company?

Employees often look forward to performance reviews because it's a time for them to be recognized, share their concerns and talk about promotions. Make sure employees have the opportunity to ask you about growth opportunities in every performance review. They will likely bring it up anyway, but when you ask the question, it shows them you care about their future.

13. What is your favorite part about our company culture?

Company culture isn't just the fun part of work with holiday parties, beer cart Fridays, and casual attire. It's actually so important, more than one-third of workers in the US and Canada wouldn't accept a job that was a perfect match if they didn't like the company culture, according to a study by Robert Half.

14. What would you change about our company culture?

Similar to the question above, employees are the greatest source of feedback on company culture because they are your company culture.

15. What can I do to make our meetings more efficient?

Meetings tend to be more of a problem than an asset in recent years. According to a study by MITSloan Management Review, "senior managers attend nearly 23 hours of meetings every week." It's practically safe to assume that if you're a company with regular meetings, many of them waste precious productivity time.

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Change Things Up

Consider doing performance reviews at a coffee shop instead of in the office. A change of scenery and some fresh air gives both you and employees a reason to look forward to the meeting!

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Self-Evaluation Performance Review

Incorporating self-evaluation performance reviews into your process gives you even more insight into how your employee views their performance. It helps employees recognize areas they can improve and allows you to ensure their work is aligned with company goals.

However, self-evaluations are no easy task. If you choose to incorporate one, be sure it is well thought out. In addition, be prepared to give your employee self evaluation sample answers, so they understand expectations and are not alone in this intimidating process.

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How Often Should You Do Performance Reviews?

If your company meets every quarter and updates company-wide objectives, then do reviews every quarter. Otherwise, do them every 6 months. Six months is long enough for substantial changes to be noticed but not so often that the information isn’t valuable.

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