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35 win-win performance review questions

We’re willing to bet that your employees are used to having really poor performance reviews at previous jobs. Not “poor” because they didn’t hit their KPIs, but because the manager wasn’t actively invested in their development. At many offices, it’s just a date in a calendar that both the manager and team member dreads. But it doesn’t have to be so uncomfortable and frankly, ineffective.

By asking thoughtful, open-ended questions, you can establish a line of communication that will concretely benefit both the company’s goals and your employee’s career.

Here are some questions to ask your employees during a performance review to foster (squirm-free) conversation.

Questions for the employee to answer

Project Management

● Do you have everything you need to do your job well?

● How well do you prioritize and manage your workload?

● What type of support do you most appreciate when trying to complete a project?

● Do you have enough time during the work week to do your job?


● What are the main drivers of success in the company?

● Are you comfortable with our corporate culture? How can we do better?

● How do you embody our company values outside of work?

● How do you like to receive feedback and recognition for your work?

Goal Setting and Career Development

● What skills do you have that could be used more effectively?

● What kind of work comes easiest to you?

● What kind of work do you get the most fulfillment from?

● What will you focus on in the next quarter to help you grow and develop?

● Are there any professional growth opportunities would you like to explore?

● What can I do to help you better meet your goals?

Communication and relationships

● Do you feel that the team is working well together?

● Where has management helped and hindered your work?

● What could I do differently to better manage you?

● What can we do to improve our relationship?

Overall Performance Review

● What was your greatest accomplishment this year (or quarter)?

● What’s something that didn’t go according to plan?

● What personal strengths help you do your job effectively?

Questions for the manager to reflect on

A performance review is also your time, as a manager, to provide constructive feedback and recognition to the team member. To discuss what they should stop, start and continue doing in their everyday life at the office.

Here are some questions for you to consider when building the framework for this part of the performance review:

● What are their strengths?

● What could they improve on?

● In what areas do you see the most potential for this person? How do you hope to see this person grow?

● To what extent does this person embody our company values?

● Do they communicate well with others?

● How effective of a leader is this person (through management and/or influence)?

● Is this employee proactive or reactive?

● Does this person come up with innovative solutions in their work?

● Does the employee take direction well?

● How well does this person give feedback to others? How do they receive it?

● Are they engaged in their work?

● Are they a ‘team player’?

● How do they contribute to the overall success and function of the team?

● Does this person effectively manage their time and workload?

A performance review is most effective when it’s a transparent conversation, not just a checklist you run through every year because you think you have to. If you want to be a good leader, you must grant your employees an opportunity to grow.

Of course, just talking about growth and going your separate ways until next quarter isn’t going to make the magic happen. Take your commitment to your employees one step further by implementing a full performance management system.

Our performance management system is a light-touch but structured framework that helps you achieve that pie in the sky: a healthy, high-performance company culture. Through agile goal setting, real-time feedback and succession planning, your employees can develop their skills and become more effective team members right under your wing.

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