Top 20 Performance Review Questions to Ask Your Employees

Questions – that’s what separates an effective performance review from an ineffective one. Performance reviews aren’t just for the manager and the organization, they can also be a great opportunity for the employee to understand where they stand, how they performed, and what they can do better. It’s a chance at retrospection.

Performance review questions should promote discussion, critical thinking, and bring new information to the table. That means, a question like “do you like your current job position?” might not lead to actionable information. Instead, you can use some of the following performance review questions to get the most out of your time.

1. Before we start, is there something you want to say?

We believe this is the perfect question to start off the session with as it gives the employee a chance to say something which may not be directly related to the performance review but could affect it. While doing our research, we came across who received a bad news minutes before starting their session but didn’t get a chance to explain their behavior and as a result did poorly.

2. What according to you is the purpose of a performance review?

The answer to this question will determine the mentality with which the employee answer each question. For instance, some might see this as a discussion, others might see it as a do-or-die situation, and some might see it as an opportunity to express their feelings.

Knowing this will help you better judge their answers.

3. What was the biggest professional challenge you faced this year and how did you overcome it?

The purpose of this question to determine the problem-solving abilities of your employee that might not have been noticed. It also gives you insight into what they consider a big challenge.

4. What do you think is your biggest challenge next year? How are you preparing for it?

We chose this question over “What are you going to do next year?” as most people know what they want to do but they fail to take into account unforeseen circumstances and threats. The answer should display an employee’s awareness about their surroundings and the challenges that are to come. Planning is an important part of every process and by the end of the year, everyone should have a clear sense of direction of what they need to do next. Everyone has personal goals.

5. Do you think your personal goals align with the organizational goals? If not, then why?

The questions serve two purposes. First, it helps to find out whether or not the employee feels connected with the organization or not and the reason behind this connection or lack thereof. Second, it’s an indirect way of knowing whether or not the employee is growing as an individual or not.

6. If you could change one aspect of your current role, what would it be and how would you implement the change?

Chances are, the person working the job can provide a different and a more in-depth look into the shortcomings of a certain job position. The manager can use this information to improve different aspects of a job.

7. If you could make a change at the highest level, what would it be and how you would you implement it?

Lower-level employees will see shortcomings in the day to day working of the organization more so than top-level management. This question can lead to a creative new solution or make the employee how hard it is to implement big organizational changes. Either way, it’s a win-win.

8. Is there a company resource you found useful or do you wish that a particular company resource existed?

A better version of the question: how can the company help you perform better?

9. How do you like to receive feedback? Were you given enough constructive feedback in this year?

Not everyone wants to receive feedback in the same way. Some may want it to be in front of the office, others prefer to stay out of the spotlight, knowing this can improve morale all-around. The second part of the question is self-explanatory.

10. What skills make you efficient and effective in your current role?

This questions can help both the employee and the manager to understand whether or not they are the right person for the job.

11. Is there another company role you see yourself in, perhaps in the near future?

A good and not too direct way of asking the employee about their future in the organization, their aspirations, and other skills the manager may not know about.

12. What were your biggest shortcomings this year and why do you think they happened?

Another question that forces the employees to think about their previous as well as a display of their humility.

13. What did you do that delivered the best results this year?

An employee might think they did well on a project but the results might disagree. This question gives employees a chance to explain their performance.

14. Are you going to do anything differently next year?

A follow-up to the previous questions, this time focusing on how they will make the most out of next year.

15. Do you think there is any part of the organization that could be more efficient? Any part that wastes too much time?

Sometimes mandatory procedures can do more harm than good. Example: meetings that involve people who don’t have to be there.

16. What changes (if any) would you like to see in the workplace environment?

Similar to the previous question but this one focuses more on the physical, cultural, and psychological environment than organizational procedures.

17. What are some organizational hurdles that stop you or make it harder for you to accomplish goals?

Most employees won’t criticize the organization until you ask them explicitly, hence this question.

18. What would you do differently if you were a manager?

The purpose of previous questions was to know what the organization could do to help improve performance, this question focuses on what a manager can do to help.

19. Rate the following in order of importance to you: recognition, additional responsibility, lead your own team, and networking.

Personal goals drive an employee’s motivation. Knowing what they value more can help you design effective incentives.

20. Is there anything you want to ask me?

Managers choose to end the session with this question as the employee might have a question (or two).

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