25 questions to ask in your employee’s next performance review to go from a good to great boss!

25 questions to ask in your next performance review to be a great boss by mesh

There seems to be a lot of buzz these days around performance reviews. When done right, performance reviews can help employees understand 

  • what they’re doing well, 
  • how they can improve, 
  • how their work aligns with larger company goals 
  • and what is expected of them. 

Managers who use performance reviews effectively can more easily recognize high performing employees, correct issues before they become insurmountable, communicate expectations, encourage growth and development, and foster employee engagement.


So what are performance reviews? 

A performance review is a formal assessment in which a manager evaluates an employee’s work performance, identifies strengths and weaknesses, offers feedback, and sets goals for future performance. Performance reviews are also called performance appraisals or performance evaluations.

In the past, many organizations conducted annual performance reviews for their entire workforce; however, more and more companies are moving toward a frequent feedback performance management system in which managers conduct quarterly, monthly, or even weekly reviews. In fact, some organizations are doing away with formal performance reviews altogether in favor of more casual manager check-ins and one-on-ones.

At Mesh, we’ve made a simple list of questions you want to ask your employees, and how you should rather frame the questions to get the most information out of your performance reviews. 

For overall performance related questions consider the following:

 What you want to ask:

  • How would you rate your performance this quarter?
  • Are you happy with your current role?

How to ask it:

  • What accomplishments this quarter are you most proud of? 
  • Which goals did you meet? Which goals fell short?
  • What motivates you to get your job done?
  • What can I do to make your job more enjoyable?
  • What are your ideal working conditions to be the most productive?

Employee strengths is something that many managers want to uncover, you could consider asking:

What you want to ask:

  • What are your biggest strengths?
  • Do you feel your strengths are maximized here?

How to ask it:

  • What personal strengths help you do your job effectively?
  • What makes you the best fit for your position?
  • What skills do you have that you believe we could use more effectively?
  • What kind of work comes easiest to you?

To discover areas of improvement consider the following:

What you want to ask:

  • What will you do differently next quarter?
  • Is something holding you back from doing your best work?

How to ask it:

  • What goals/deliverables were you least proud of? Why? How will you do those differently in the future?
  • What 2-3 things will you focus on in the next quarter to help you grow and develop?
  • What can I do to help you better meet your goals?

Questions regarding an employee’s current role are crucial in understanding satisfaction and motivation of employees. You can consider the following questions: 

What you want to ask:

  • Are you happy with your job?
  • Do you think this role is a good fit for you?

How to ask it:

  • Which job responsibilities/tasks do you enjoy most? Which do you least enjoy?
  • How do you think your role helps the company succeed?
  • What do you like least about your current role? What would you change?
  • What do you like most about working for this company?

 Asking questions about the future outlook makes employees feel you’re invested in them and their growth.

 What you want to ask:

  • What are your goals?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

How to ask it:

  • What are your most important goals for the next quarter?
  • What do you want your next position at this company to be? How would your responsibilities change?
  • What professional growth opportunities would you like to explore in order to get there?
  • What type of career growth is most important to you?

Manager-employee relationship related enquires are critical to form a trusting relationship, an aspect that’s critical for successful managers. This helps to ensure that your conversations are more like dialogues and not one way monologues. Consider the following: 

 What you want to ask:

  • Do you feel comfortable expressing your concerns with me?
  • Is there anything you’d change about our relationship? 

How to ask it:

  • What (if any) concerns do you have when it comes to giving me feedback? How can I alleviate those concerns?
  • How do you prefer to receive feedback and/or recognition for your work?
  • What are two to three things could I do differently to better manage you?
  • What do I do that is most/least helpful for you when it comes to completing your work?
  • What can we do to improve our relationship?

As the bias of the recency effect goes, follow-up questions leave the lasting impression and set grounds for the performance review. 

 Mediocre follow-up:

  • See you next quarter! Let me know if anything comes up.

Good follow-up:  

  • Our next formal performance review will be on ________ .
  • In the meantime, I want you to focus on__________. Come prepared to our one-on-one ready to discuss your progress.

Try asking these questions to be a better boss and see how your next performance review goes!


If you liked this article, there are a lot more that may interest you. Check them out here!

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