While performance reviews are often nerve-racking for employees, they can be incredibly insightful for managers, providing a deeper understanding of each employee and their overall job performance and skill development. And since they can deliver constructive feedback for both employees and managers, evaluations can also build the trust necessary to facilitate better working relationships.
But how do you strike the right balance between asking employees questions about their performance and encouraging them in their work? The more thoughtful and relevant your performance review questions are, the more likely you’ll convey key sentiments like these to employees:
- They’re a valued member of the team.
- Their development is important.
- Their voice and opinions matter.
- You’re here to help them.
To help you make the most of these one-on-one sessions, here are 45 employee review questions to ask in your next performance review.
Overall job performance
Since performance review questions can be especially stressful for employees, it’s best to start off with questions that encourage them to think about the positive aspects of their performance. This will start things on the right note and give you a sense of their perspective.
- What are your proudest accomplishments this quarter/year? Why?
- What other goals have you achieved? How?
- What motivates you to do your best work?
- What made your greatest accomplishment at work this year so satisfying?
Now that you have greater insight into their overall performance, it’s time to home in on why they have the job they do: their skills. By focusing on your employees’ strengths, you can assess whether their perceptions of their job performance align with yours and unlock some of their untapped potential.
- What are your top strengths?
- How do you use those strengths in this role?
- Are you underusing any of your skills in your role? How can we use them more effectively?
- What kind of work do you find easiest?
Though it’s difficult for anyone to evaluate their own shortcomings, this section is easily one of the most important to include in your employee review questions. By learning what your employees are struggling with or looking to improve, you can help them get where they need to be. Just remember to be constructive rather than critical in your feedback so you don’t discourage them from opening up to you.
- What do you see as your biggest opportunity for improvement?
- How are you going to actively work on it over the next year?
- Which deliverables or projects were you least proud of this year? Why?
- What was your biggest disappointment this year?
- What did you learn from it?
- What are your top three work goals this next year/quarter?
- What kind of work do you struggle with most?
Current and future career outlook
You should have a robust understanding of your employees’ everyday tasks and responsibilities. Analyzing their workload can help you better support them and boost their motivation and productivity. By asking them about their plans, you can evaluate their drive and whether they feel sufficiently challenged, while also offering encouragement.
- Why are you the best person for your current position?
- What do you like most about your role?
- What do you like the least?
- Would you change anything about your current role? If so, what?
- What ideal working conditions maximize your productivity?
- Which job responsibilities are your favorite?
- Which are your least favorite?
- How does your role help the company meet its goals?
- Which parts of your job do you find most fulfilling?
- Which are most stressful and/or draining?
- How would you like to see your career grow?
- What are your short-term career goals?
- What are your long-term career goals?
- How would you like to develop within this company? Is there a different position you’re interested in or working toward? If so, why?
- What professional growth opportunities would you be willing to explore to get there?
- What can management do to support your overall performance and development?
Performance reviews can be effective, in part, because they open lines of communication between managers and employees. But just as an employee has to be willing to receive constructive feedback, so, too, does their manager in order to make positive change.
- Do you feel comfortable giving me feedback?
- How can I alleviate your concerns or discomfort about giving me feedback?
- How do you prefer to receive feedback or recognition for your work?
- How do you think I can manage you more effectively?
- What do I do that you find most helpful in completing your work?
- What do I do that you find the least helpful?
- What can we do to improve our relationship?
Strong work cultures are more likely to both attain and retain valuable employees (as well as be more productive overall), so it’s important to evaluate your company culture during performance reviews.
- Is there anything in your department that you believe needs work?
- How has your experience been with the management team and with your department?
- What do you most like about working for this company? What do you least like?
- What do you see as the company’s main drivers of success?
- Are you comfortable with our company culture?
- What can we improve?
- How can we become more inclusive and diverse?
Now that you have some standard employee evaluation questions in your back pocket, you can personalize them to match your company and brand. Online form builder Jotform can help with that, thanks to its wide variety of powerful, easy-to-use, and fully customizable employee evaluation form templates (like self-evaluation and supervisor evaluation forms). You can also start from scratch to create the perfect form for your performance review needs with Jotform’s drag-and-drop form builder to customize the layout, add rating scales and other question types, collect e-signatures, and more.
Performance reviews can be trying for everyone involved, but they’re imperative for boosting employee morale, improving teamwork, and building a positive company culture. The more your employees feel supported and heard, the more motivated and engaged they’ll be, resulting in greater profitability, productivity, and employee retention.