Mastering Performance Reviews: 20 Essential Questions for Managers

Mastering Performance Reviews: 20 Essential Questions for Managers

Performance reviews serve as a critical process in managing a team, akin to monitoring ongoing projects for adjustments in time or scope.

These reviews are more than just routine tasks, they are valuable opportunities for growth, improvement, and collaboration. Taking the time to prepare and engage in performance reviews can significantly enhance team efficiency and cohesion.

Preparing for performance reviews requires careful consideration, one crucial aspect of which involves crafting well-thought-out review questions.

These questions should be designed to gather meaningful insights, fostering a two-way conversation with your team members.

The more thought and effort you put into your performance reviews, the more you and your team will get out of it.

To help you plan for performance reviews, we have prepared 20 performance review questions you should ask on your next performance review.

What are performance reviews?

Performance review session

1. What has made you proud to work in this company since the last time we had a performance review?


A great way to break the ice during the performance review — which is usually stressful for many people — is to ask this positive question. By asking this question, you engage the employee and allow them to feel valued from the start.

2. Do you have any feedback for us before we start?


This review question often comes up at the end. But putting it at the start gives the employee a chance to say something they might not mention after the review is done. Based on how the review goes, an employee might change their mind about asking that question.

3. Do you have access to all the resources you need to do your job in the best possible way?


At most companies, management is not usually aware of what tools and resources the employees need to excel at what they do. While sometimes there are understandable reasons for why the employees are missing needed resources, other times the problem is simply the lack of communication.

By asking this question, your employees will see that you care about their needs and value their opinion.

4. What is one area where you feel like you could improve at your job?


Most employees want to be the best at their job; however, they sometimes don’t have the right knowledge or opportunity to do so. As their manager, you can benefit from knowing whether or not an employee is satisfied with their own performance.

Once you know that an employee desires to grow, you can develop actionable steps to help that employee develop in the desired direction.

5. Do you feel like you and your team have the right synergy?


Most of the time, employees work in teams or a larger groups that work on tasks with the same common goal or vision. Because of this, team members must work well with each other.

It is essential for you as their manager to be aware of any problems among teammates so that you can help them correct those problems and maintain productivity and efficiency.

6. Can you explain how the management has helped you in doing your job?


Employee feedback on your performance should be a part of the performance evaluation for the employee.

There are high chances that you or another manager in the company has both helped and hindered an employee’s performance. Thus, it is crucial to receive employee feedback, which will clarify what is working and what is not.

7. What are the key success drivers in the company?


Sometimes, we all get lost in work and forget about what is important and why we do what we do. As a manager, it is your job to ensure that employees know what the success drivers in your company are. A performance review is an excellent opportunity to discover and reinforce them to the employee if they are unaware.

8. Which of our company goals do you feel is most aligned with your personal goals?


One of the great performance review questions to ask your employees is how they view themselves in the company. The answer to this question will help you learn if the employee feels connected with the company they work for. This performance review question is great when combined with the previous one, as it’s even better if you asked back to back.

Performance review session

9. Do you have any concerns that you would like to bring up about your company?


Even though an employee may have already explained potential problems they were having with the team in one of the previous performance review questions, it can be useful to ask for feedback on issues directly before making an appearance. Being direct is almost always better than not saying anything, and the performance review is the best time to get this type of input from your employees.

10. Would you change something about your role?


This is one of the more important performance review questions to ask your employees. Use this question to learn about your employees’ pain points and see what you can do to help get them fixed.

11. What are you hoping to accomplish over the next three months, six months, and one year?


If you want to achieve your goals, it is best to have them in writing. Writing out goals for the coming months can be very useful for your employees, helping boost their performance.

Based on their answer, you can gauge what the employee thinks they are capable of and identify any opportunities to help them reach those goals, which should positively affect your employee retention.

12. If you were in my position — what would you do differently?


As their manager, you have to improve how you do your work continually. Sometimes, you might get feedback that is not easy to hear, and that is perfectly fine. Use the employee’s input to improve yourself and how you manage your people.

13. How are you coping with the corporate culture here?


Another great performance review question to see how your employees work with each other. Employees make the company culture but management also plays a key role in leading that culture. This performance question will help you assess if the current company culture needs changing in any way and if the employees need any assistance with navigating it.

14. What can I do to make your job easier?


Another of the performance review questions where you — as the manager — are being reviewed. The answer to this question should help you see what motivates the employee to be great at the job and how you can make their work a bit more fun and enjoyable.

15. What are your ideal working conditions?


Sometimes it might be something as easy as moving someone’s seat away from a window.

16. Do you think there is anything we can do to be more efficient as a company?


The answer to this question will help you see how the employee reflects on your department and overall business.

Group discussing opportunities to grow as a company

17. What strengths do you have that you feel we are not using to their full capacity?


This answer to this question should help you understand what sort of responsibilities you need to give to the employee, and what opportunity you might not be utilizing.

18. Where do you see yourself in the future?


The answer to this question will show you if an employee believes in your vision and the ways you can help them to achieve their long term career goals and stay with the company, even in the distant future.

19. Is there a part of your job you would do differently?


Sometimes employees have solutions for certain problems at the company, but they cannot submit them. This question will give them the best chance to do so.

20. Would you change something about the company?


Similar to one of the previous performance review questions, ask this question if you want to hear an employee’s opinion about what the company does well and what could they improve. Sometimes, the management of the company can be unaware of the day-to-day activities of regular employees and this is a great question to have that insight.



We hope you start asking some of these questions on your next performance review. Let us know how well they’ve been perceived and the impact they’ve produced.

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