Performance Reviews

4 Types of effective performance review questions

By on October 25, 2017

Performance review is the workplace equivalent of a report card that helps employees identify their strengths and weaknesses. In the past we have written a great deal about the frequency of these reviews. Now we would like to explain what goes into the actual process. It is imperative that performance reviews are carefully crafted and the right kind of questions are asked, that actually make the difference.

4 Types of Effective Performance Review Questions

An employee review is a type of meeting that takes place between a manager and employee, usually at the end of the year. It’s a discussion that covers employee performance and where feedback is openly exchanged by both parties.

Performance reviews are the perfect opportunity to provide constructive feedback to your employees, to understand their personal goals and to make a plan to attain them together. In fact, giving and receiving feedback is a pillar to any performance review. It’s also a chance for managers to become better leaders by gaining valuable takeaways from their team.

  • Overall performance and accomplishments
  • Employee strengths
  • Areas of improvement
  • Current role
  • Future outlook
  • Manager-employee relationship
  • Company culture

Performance review questions for self assessment

Self assessments are crucial as employees know inside out about their work. By participating in the performance review process, they  become more accountable. It gives them a chance to examine their own performance and clarify their goals. They are able to identify areas of weakness on their own and subsequently take help from their managers or peers to overcome them.

This exchange of questions and answers between a team member and direct manager plays a crucial role in building a healthy, functional professional relationship between them. It also adds to an employee’s sense of value and keeps them better aligned with the company’s overall goals.

Additionally, self assessments make it easier for employees to describe negative experiences. Self assessments also help employees admit and learn from their mistakes. Their desire to do more effectively in the coming period displays their commitment to excellence and continuous improvement.

Self assessment questions should be a combination of both personal development questions as well as professional achievement questions.

For example:

Performance review questions for Employees

Performance review questions for Personal well-being:

  • Do you maintain a healthy work-life balance?
  • Did you take care of your mind, body and spirit?
  • What motivates you?
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses. What steps will be taken to address the latter?

Performance review questions for Professional development:

  • What were your accomplishments in the last 3 months?
  • Did your achievements have any impact on the company’s goals? If yes, what were they?
  • What could have been done better?
  • Is there anything that you would like to change about the company?
  • In what ways can your manager help you to perform better?
  • Are there any professional development opportunities that you are interested in?

Performance review questions for Managers

An employee’s reporting manager is most closely associated with his or her performance and as such is better equipped to analyse it comprehensively. They are also better poised to both recognise and solve any issue as and when it arises. Good managers are known to check-in on a weekly basis to identify what is working and what isn’t. It is a great way of performance management, that helps in spotting and fixing inefficiencies and making sure work is continued without delays.

For example:

  • What has been the highlight of your subordinate’s performance in this period?
  • Were there any bottlenecks that hampered their progress?
  • What steps are being taken to improve their performance?
  • What are their goals in the coming quarter?
  • Are there any additional responsibilities that they could take on?
  • Questions to ask reporting manager

These questions help employees assess their performance from the manager’s perspective. However many times it happens that performance evaluation becomes a one-sided affair where only the managers share their feedback. Instead employees need to look at these reviews as opportunities for self-growth and development. Encourage employees to be prepared to have a detailed discussion on their work, performance and career. They should capitalize on this opportunity and ask questions to their reporting managers that can further improve their performance.

For example

  • What were the highlights of my performance?
  • Are there any actionable areas of development that should be focused upon?
  • What were my strengths and weaknesses according to you?
  • What could have been avoided?
  • How do I become more effective?
  • Was my work able to contribute to team/company goals? If so, how?

360 review questions

To get comprehensive information about employee performance, the safest bet is to opt for 360 degree feedback reviews. It enables the management to get key information from all the individuals who work with a particular employee, including customers, managers as well as peers.

For example:

  • Was this employee able to assist you as expected?
  • Which 3 qualities impressed you the most?
  • What should a person improve on?
  • Would you recommend this person based on his or her performance?

Performance Review Tips

Performance Review Tips

Performance reviews help to motivate team members by focusing on the appropriate goals, and improve performance levels. The next position to take is to ensure proper execution of the goals set in the review, and its success depends on how positive of an experience the employee performance review process was. Here are a few tips on conducting effective performance reviews and negate the pain points.


Managers and employees should be prepared with notes and talking points, along with essentials like employee’s personnel file, documentation from past reviews that include goals set previously, objectives, and more. Managers can also seek feedback and notes from supervisors or coworkers, relevant performance data, customer feedback, and SWOT analysis to conduct efficient reviews.

Both parties would benefit from having the agenda shared beforehand, and managers can practice being friendly because employees usually expect an interrogation during reviews. Managers can also ask employees to share topics they might want to address or understand better.

Asking right questions at the right time

Managers who focus on specific language to make employees think in positive terms, help their company succeed in getting their message across most of the time. By emphasizing that the goal of the review process is to identify ways to finish the project better, managers can ensure both the employee and the company grow. By taking a constructive approach, managers can keep employees looking forward to the future.

Hear out the concerns

Performance reviews should be a two-way conversation, where employees get to review the performance of their managers too. In reality, employees merely answer questions, show their achievements over the period and hope for the best. By changing the script and asking employees to mention pointers that can help the manager improve, the mood of the review changes from being an interrogation to a conversation. Being actively interested in what employees say, and providing solutions or further steps is the best way to put them at ease and have productive discussions, and build a better manager employee relationship.

Highlight achievements and areas of improvement

When managers provide concrete examples for good achievements and areas of improvement, team members are more inclined to listen. The advantage of highlighting these factors is that the discussion then veers towards what can be done to improve, while showing employees that the organization is paying attention to their positives and is easy to help them with the not-so-positives.

Be ready with the next steps

Any fruitful meeting leaves attendees with a sense of accomplishment, hope for the future, and a clear understanding of what needs to be done next. The performance review meeting is no different – managers and employees should review notes from what was discussed during the meeting, and define next steps that help points discussed in the meeting to be addressed.

Be regular with review meetings

It is imperative that there is consistency in the performance review cycles of employees, but the time between meetings is important too. Annual reviews are a strict no, while monthly or weekly reviews seem a better fit for employee engagement. Also, managers must ensure that these meetings do take place, and not pushed aside due to their work commitments – employee development is a huge part of their job responsibility. By treating these one on one review meetings as a part of routine work, managers can instill a sense of ownership among their teammates.

Performance review has long been a part of company cultures. But they were primarily used to determine employee compensation. It is time companies let go of this traditional thought process and instead focus on developing their employees through these reviews. It’s also important to note that conversations shouldn’t be limited to just performance reviews. Constructive discussions can happen outside of scheduled appraisals. An open-door policy can help employees feel more comfortable talking about potential issues or paths to improvement at other times. This level of openness can help you make continuous performance a part of your culture instead of an unhelpful annual event.Develop a culture where everyone asks the right questions at the right time and most of your problems will get solved as soon as they arise or simply not appear.

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