Performance reviews are renowned for being nerve wrecking, overly time-consuming and—worst of all—ineffective. The good news is that they don’t have to be any of those disappointments. Preparing a list of conscientious and focused performance review questions can go a long way toward helping you set a positive, supportive tone while giving your employees a clear understanding of their roles, progress and continued goals.

Create a better evaluation experience for everyone involved by taking a look at the following top performance review questions for managers. While preparing for your next round of reviews, consider each question as it relates to your employees, and use the below as a performance review template.

What questions do managers need to be asking their employees?

  • What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
    Starting off on a positive note helps employees shake off any nerves and feel more comfortable opening up during the rest of the meeting.
  • In which area(s) would you like to improve?
    This is a natural follow up to the previous question that reveals whether an employee’s perception of his weaknesses is in line with your evaluation.
  • What have I done to help you do your job better? What have I done to hinder your job performance?
    While it’s true that your employee is the main focus of the evaluation, your leadership is a major factor in your employee's success or shortcomings. Take advantage of this meeting and ask for honest feedback on how your guidance affects your employee.
  • Do you have the resources and tools you need to perform your job?
    Potentially one of the most constructive performance appraisal questions at your disposal, this discussion can generate immediate plans for how you, other employees, or the company as a whole could contribute to stronger performances from your employee.
  • What are your goals for the next six months/year?
    Identifying and discussing measurable benchmarks gives your employee a clear path for achieving success at their next performance review. Be ready as well to discuss what you believe should be included in your employee’s short and long-term goals.
  • What do you want your next position at this company to be?
    Simply asking your employee about career goals can lead to a vague answer. This question provides a more direct way to gauge plans for advancement and determine whether those goals have changed since the last performance review. The response to this question also opens the door for you both to create a plan and a list of milestones that your employee should work on, providing the best chance of reaching the next level.
  • Are there any other concerns you have going forward?
    Remember that your employee evaluation forms can’t possibly cover every aspect of an employee’s situation. This question provides the opportunity to share issues that may not be on your radar. Be open to these comments and be prepared to respond appropriately—even if “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” is the honest response.
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Performance reviews can be a great time to gauge accomplishments, set priorities and prepare for future success, but they must be thoughtfully completed, with a focus on open dialogue and honest feedback. If you’re nervous about conducting a performance review, print out these questions and use them as a performance review template to help guide your conversation.

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