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25 performance review questions (and how to use them)

July 19, 2022 - 15 min read

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6 performance review questions about teamwork 

8 performance review questions about the manager-employee relationship 

5 performance review questions about strengths 

6 performance review questions about growth opportunities 

6 tips to help prepare for a performance review

If you’ve stumbled across this post, you’ve hit it. It’s performance review season. 

Some organizations — like BetterUp — have ongoing, regular career conversations throughout the year. Other organizations may have performance reviews a couple of times during the year with touchpoints in between. Still, other companies may still be on a traditional annual performance review cycle. 

Regardless of how your company conducts performance reviews, there’s one thing all organizations need. Great performance review questions. 

So, as a hiring manager, where do you start? What questions do you ask your individual contributors or direct reports?

Well, for starters, let’s think about the goal of a performance review. Sure, it can feel like the adult version of a report card. But when I really think about the purpose, performance reviews are meant to help tap into areas of opportunity, areas of potential.

It’s meant to help your employees grow, develop, and flourish in their roles. It’s meant to prompt reflection. It’s meant to be used as a tool to better ourselves — and our organizations. After all, we all have room to grow. 

With BetterUp, you can identify the strengths, talents, and potential within your workforce. It all starts with asking the right questions. 

We’ve broken down our favorite performance review questions into categories. Below you’ll find questions to help guide you as a manager through how your employees work together as well as work with you. You’ll also find questions about strengths and areas of potential growth. 

6 performance review questions about teamwork 

“Good” questions about teamwork and collaboration 

  1. How well do you work with others? 
  2. Are you happy/satisfied with your collaboration skills?   
  3. Do you feel comfortable giving feedback to other team members? 

Great questions about teamwork and collaboration 

  1. How would team members describe working with you?  
  2. What’s one accomplishment you achieved because of your collaboration skills? 
  3. How has your team enabled you to help reach your full potential?  

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8 performance review questions about the manager-employee relationship 

“Good” questions about the manager-employee relationship 

  1. Do you feel comfortable coming to me with feedback?   
  2. What would you change about our relationship?  

Great questions about the manager-employee relationship 

  1. How can I support you in reaching your professional goals?  
  2. I need feedback to be a better leader to help you and the company reach its goals. How can I make sure you feel comfortable coming to me with feedback? Is there anything I can do to alleviate any concerns? 
  3. What can I do differently to help support you? (i.e. check in more frequently, help you with your career path, help define future plans)  
  4. In what ways can I support your employee development at this company? 
  5. What new skills do you want to develop and how can I help support your development? 
  6. How can I help support your overall well-being

performance-review-questions-two-colleagues-walking-in-office

5 performance review questions about strengths 

“Good” questions about your employees’ strengths 

  1. What are your strengths?  
  2. Why are your strengths important for your role?  

Great questions about your employees’ strengths

  1. How have you been able to use your strengths in your role?  
  2. When looking at your own performance, how have you been able to flex your strengths? What are you most proud of? 
  3. In your own self-assessment, how have your strengths helped you in your professional growth?  

6 performance review questions about growth opportunities 

“Good” questions about growth opportunities 

  1. What important goals do you have for yourself? 
  2. What do you think you need to work on?  

Great questions about growth opportunities 

  1. Before your next performance review, what skills do you want to invest in?  
  2. What’s one project you would do differently should you have to do it again? Why? What did you learn?   
  3. What can I do to help you do your best work? 
  4. What areas of improvement have you identified that you’d like to work on? 

6 tips to help prepare for a performance review

The performance review process is no easy feat. It’s a new muscle to exercise, especially if you’re new to being a manager. Before you let your employees just into their employee review questions, use these eight tips to help prepare. 

For managers 

  • Lean on your coaching skills. Employee evaluation questions can inherently lend themselves to be transactional. While it’s easy to fall into a back-and-forth, question-answer format, leave room for coaching.

    As a manager, how are you leaning into the conversation with your company values guiding your responses? How are you coaching your employees to succeed? Have you worked with your own career coach on how to best run a performance review conversation? 
  • Ask for feedback in addition to giving it. Feedback can be a scary word. For some, you might think of feedback coming from the top down. But in reality, feedback works best when it’s reciprocal. After all, your employees providing upward feedback is just as valuable as you providing feedback on their performance.

    Make sure you’re making space for your employees to provide feedback. Put your growth mindset to use. Are you receptive to feedback? Are you instilling trust and psychological safety in your team so they feel comfortable giving you feedback? How are you fostering a sense of belonging to ensure your direct reports feel comfortable providing feedback? 
  • Be specific, clear, and concise. Performance conversations can be anxiety-inducing. For many employees, it’s nerve-wracking to go into a conversation about performance, especially if there’s constructive feedback or constructive criticism to be provided.

    Be specific, clear, and concise in your communication. If you are asking for feedback from your direct reports, be clear in what you’re asking them to do. 

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For employees 

  • Use your growth mindset. Your performance evaluation may bring up uncomfortable conversations. You might be in a position where you’re receiving feedback that may be hard to hear. But here’s the thing about feedback: it’s an opportunity for growth.

    Every person on this planet has an opportunity for growth, regardless of experience, background, zip code, or salary. Feedback is a gift. It means the person helping to guide your development is truly invested in you.

    Make sure you’re in a growth mindset. By looking at the performance review process as an opportunity for growth as well as an opportunity to showcase your wins, you’ll be set up for success. 
  • Don’t overlook the importance of follow-up. Many times, employees and managers alike go through the performance review process and then quickly jump back into the busy work day. Without self-awareness and attention to the key takeaways from the review, it’s easy to forget about actionable steps.

    Don’t overlook the importance of following up, especially in your regular one-on-ones. For example, let’s say your boss gave you some feedback on your attention to detail. Ever since your performance review, you’ve put in extra effort and time to double-check your work. Don’t be afraid to ask: how’s my progress on my goal of paying more attention to detail?

    The more openly (and frequently) you can discuss your goals, the better equipped you will be to meet them. You can talk with your coach about how to best follow up after your performance evaluation, too.

    Many companies use performance management systems to help stay accountable for following up. Make sure you’re leveraging the systems to help enable your success. 
  • Invest in your own professional development. It’s likely that you’ve identified a skill or two that you’d like to work on. After all, as humans, we all have something that we could get better at.

    How are you investing in your own professional development? In what ways are you setting goals to help reach your professional goals? 

Keep these 13 top performance review questions handy

Before you go into your next performance review, keep these 13 best questions handy. 

Nail your employee performance review 

Your employees’ performance reviews matter more than you may think. It’s a way to tap into and capitalize on employee strengths. It’s a mechanism to help increase employee engagement. It’s a conversation that can often catapult your employees into the next phase of their professional development. Ultimately, it's the stepping stone to help them get to the next level in their career. 

But performance reviews can be tricky. Sometimes, feedback can feel uncomfortable. Or, as a manager, you might not know how to approach the conversation to reach desired outcomes. Developing teams is harder than it looks. 

With BetterUp, your workforce can seamlessly navigate the employee performance review process. A coach can help with your leaders one-on-one to ensure they’re tapping into the potential of their direct reports. Together, with virtual coaching, we can help your people thrive and grow.

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Published July 19, 2022

Madeline Miles

Madeline is a writer, communicator, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change. She holds a bachelor's in English Creative Writing and Communication Studies and lives in Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, she's usually somewhere outside (preferably in the mountains) — and enjoys poetry and fiction.

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