Performance reviews are an unsettling time for everyone — employees must be able to hear and withstand criticism, and managers must be able to confidently offer help without crushing team spirit. Plan ahead for your next performance review, whether you’re asking the questions or answering them. Here are 13 performance review questions for managers AND employees to get you started.
Performance Review Questions for Employees
Talking to your boss can be nerve-wracking in the best of situations, but for many employees, review time makes that discomfort worse. Reimagine this scenario with your boss as someone who wants to help you. Instead of thinking of them as an adversary, consider then an advocate. How often do you get a chance to hear from a direct supervisor how you can perform better at your job? It’s kind of like having a secret recipe for success.
The performance review is an opportunity for your manager to rethink your importance in the company. Ask these questions before you walk out of your boss’s office:
1. Where do I Need to Grow?
It’s important to ask this question, but it’s equally important to be ready to hear it. You’ve likely worked your hardest and there’s little you can imagine improving on, but perspective is everything. A manager might be able to offer insight into growth areas that could really advance your career.
2. How Can I Facilitate Company Goals?
Make sure your boss understands that you care about growing with the company, not just growing for your own advancement. When you consider what the bigger objectives are, it makes focusing on your own work easier.
3. How Can I get to the Next Level?
For most of us, the next level means more money, either from a raise, a promotion or a bonus, but this isn’t the time to talk about cash. Express the question in terms of how to get up the next rung of the ladder.
4. How Can I Make Your Job Easier?
Walking into a performance review where your manager says you’re amazing and to keep doing what you’re doing is a dream for many. If you find yourself in that situation, don’t leave your review without asking this crucial question — what can I do to make your life better? It suggests not only a team spirit, but that you care about the difficulty of your manager’s position. It’s an example of how people with strong soft skills get ahead.
5. When Is My Next Performance Review?
This is a loaded question — but in a good way. If your manager sees that you’re eager to implement the changes you’ve discussed, they’ll see it as a positive sign. Usually, these are yearly, but if you’re looking to make an impression, ask for a quarterly or six-month check-in to discuss progress.
6. Who Else Should I Talk To?
Your manager is likely one in a team of supervisors. If you want to make sure your company knows you’re there for the whole team, not just for one boss, then expand your horizons, and ask for feedback from other sources. Remember, you want to be helpful to as many people as possible.
Performance Review Questions for Managers
Management during performance review time can be tricky — you have a lot to get across to each individual, but you still need them to work as a team. Crushing a part of the team by being overly critical doesn’t help anyone.
It’s a delicate dance, but if you come prepared with performance review questions that encourage both positive and critical responses, the experience will be more pleasant for everyone. Here are some suggestions for you to ask your employees during their reviews:
1. How Can I Make Your Job Easier?
Sound familiar? The question of how to make YOUR job easier is a great question for both employees and managers because it suggests empathy, which is crucial for building a positive company culture. When you think of how you can streamline your team’s workload, it means better production, too.
2. Are There Tools or Resources That Would Help You do Your Job Better?
Some people feel like there are always better tools to do the task in front of them than the ones they have on hand, but you can’t know what might work better for your team without asking them. If you aren’t ready to implement new resources, asking the question can assure your employees that their needs are under consideration.
3. What are Your Greatest Achievements This Year?
You may think you know your team’s successes as it relates to work, but they may be most proud of something that you don’t even know about — and it might be a component that has streamlined the workload of the company. It also creates a positive moment in the middle of an otherwise tense review.
4. Where do You Believe You Need Improvement?
As a manager, you may have a list of two ways an employee can improve or 25. In either situation, a top concern is an employee’s insight into ways they can do better. It’s also a great follow-up to the previous question — it balances positive and negative elements of a performance review.
5. What are Your Goals for the Next Six Months? The Next Year?
Fetter out who wants to get ahead and what motivates them by asking employees about future goals. Their answers can give a lot of insight into their interests as well. Let the response open the door to discussion on where they should be focusing their efforts and how you can help them reach their goals and be happier in their position.
6. Where do You Want Your Next Position to be Here?
Though you’ve already asked about goals, this question pushes further for details. Some people will be vague about their ambitions, so for clarity’s sake, see if you can get to know how the scope of where this person fits into the company’s future.
7. What are Your Concerns for the Future?
You can’t map everything in a performance review out on a piece of paper. A question that tackles concerns about what’s next widens the conversation. It gives employees an opportunity to discuss issues — past and future — that you might not have thought about.
Be Empathetic for a Better Performance Review
Performance review questions work like an outline, giving you a place to jump into the conversation as an employee or a way to encourage a more open dialogue as a manager. Regardless of which side of the table you’re on, understanding the perspective of the other person will make any performance review more productive.
Put away the idea that you’re at odds — even if you have been in the past. Reflect on how together, you’re part of a team. Anything said in a review should facilitate growth in the workplace.
What questions are you asking at your next performance review? Let us know in the comments! And to get more advice to help you grow your career and crush your next review, subscribe to the career newsletter!
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