Ideally, a performance review isn’t conducted as a monologue. Instead, in addition to providing feedback on an employee’s performance, you’ll also help the employee set goals, gain clarity on their needs, and get a better understanding of how they can best reach their fullest potential.
Asking the right questions during each performance review that you conduct is the key. Not only will it help you stay focused on the topics that are most important to your organisation’s success, but you’ll also gain clear insights on how you can help each employee become the best version of themselves.
Below, discover 5 great questions you can start using in your next performance reviews.
What goals do you have for the next quarter?
As previously mentioned, a performance review isn’t just a space for you to discuss an employee’s strengths and any areas of improvement. It’s also the ideal opportunity to set goals. Goal-setting provides your employees with a clear roadmap to success that they can revisit again and again to keep them on track and progressing in their projects.
Asking your employees this question also allows you to determine which employees show initiative. Do they already have goals in mind for the future? Have they considered new projects or ideas, or do they have thoughts on taking current projects to the next level?
Organisations thrive when employees are motivated and excited by the opportunity to contribute their best work. Asking this question may just help you find employees who you might want to consider for future promotions, or who might excel as team leads for certain projects.
What do you expect to be the most challenging about your goals for this quarter?
Asking this question can help you brainstorm strategies with your employees that address obstacles they expect might arise as they work toward their goals.
The truth is, anticipating challenges is one of the most overlooked aspects of goal-setting. Most of us have no problem coming up with goals. A lot of us excel at building out the stepping stones toward those goals as well. But too many forget to troubleshoot any likely challenges in advance. As a result, when these obstacles arise, it can throw a project severely off course, potentially leading to missed deadlines, lost clients, and a dent in profits.
The solution is to plan ahead. It’s not enough to simply set goals with your employees. Think about how those goals might be challenging. Will the employee require support, certain resources, or additional training? Do they need you to help them assemble a team? Are there any logistical obstacles with the project itself? What does the employee view as potential weak spots in accomplishing the task at hand? All these questions will inform a robust action plan that is sure to help your employee succeed.
What support can the department provide for you that will help you reach these goals?
This goes hand in hand with the previous question. The truth is we’re all continuously learning. Even top-performing executives, leaders, and managers seek out coaches or master classes to continue honing their skills and reaching the next level in their personal development. Why should it be any different for the employees in your company?
The more you contribute to your team and build up their skills, the more your organisation will thrive as a result. However, employees aren’t always forthcoming about resources they may require or gaps in their skillset that need to be addressed for their performance to improve. The fear of being replaced might be a reason, which is why it’s important to create a learning culture in the workplace, where the pursuit of more knowledge and skills is celebrated.
You want employees who are eager to learn, grow, and further develop themselves. And you want them to understand that you’re there to connect them with whatever training and/or resources they may need. By asking this question, you begin the conversation that will help your employees get the support they need.
What impact has your performance had on the team? The organisation?
This is a great question to ask when you’d like to gain clarity on an employee’s sense of self-perception.
We all want to feel like we’re a part of something bigger. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that when employees feel like there’s purpose or significance in their work, they have a happier and more positive outlook on their contributions to a company.
Why? Because people don’t just want to be cogs in a machine. They want to be working toward something meaningful and something that has value. The problem is that employees don’t always see how they fit into the company’s bigger picture.
By asking this question, you’ll get a sense of how the employee feels their work impacts their team and the organisation as a whole. And if they struggle with their answer, you can help them understand why they’re a valued member of the company and why what they do is so important. This will boost their morale and give them the sense of purpose in their work that so many employees daily seek.
How can I be a better manager for you?
This is perhaps one of the most important questions during a performance review.
Every employee on your team will have different needs. With so many distinct personalities and behavioral types under one roof, people need different things from their leaders.
You might find that one employee needs to have more ownership over their projects, allowing them to exercise their creativity and derive more fulfillment from their work. Another employee, however, might crave more direction from you. Some may need daily face-to-face talks in order to stay on track with their projects, while others might work best with minimal interaction.
It’s all about discovering what helps each employee do their best work and be the best version of themselves. In learning this, you’ll help create a working environment where your employees feel valued and understood, thus allowing them to thrive.