Performance Reviews

4 Types of questions that make performance reviews effective

By on October 25, 2017

Performance review is the workplace equivalent of a report card that help 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.

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 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:

Personal questions for performance review:

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

Professional questions for performance review:

  1. What were your accomplishment in the last 3 months?
  2. Did your achievements have any impact on the company’s goals? If yes, what were they?
  3. What could have been done better?
  4. Is there anything that you would like to change about the company?
  5. In what ways can your manager help you to perform better?


Questions reporting managers should ask

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 for spotting and fixing inefficiencies and making sure work is continued without delays.

For example:

  1. What has been the highlight of your subordinate’s performance in this period?
  2. Were there any bottlenecks that hampered their progress?
  3. What steps are being taken to improve their performance?
  4. What are their goals in the coming quarter?
  5. Are there any additional responsibilities that they could take on?


Questions to ask your reporting manager

These questions help employees assess their performance from the manager’s perspective. However many times it happens that performance evaluations become 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

  1. What were the highlights of my performance?
  2. Are there any actionable areas of development that should be focused upon?
  3. What were me strengths and weaknesses according to you?
  4. What could have been avoided?
  5. How do I become more effective?
  6. 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:

  1. Was this employee able to assist you as expected?
  2. Which 3 qualities impressed you the most?
  3. What should he or she person improve on?
  4. Would you recommend this person based on his or her performance?

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. 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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