Employees and managers alike say they dread a performance review, but they also recognize they’re an important part of a healthy organization. Performance reviews give employees a chance to speak up about their experience in the organization, receive feedback from their supervisors, and set expectations on both sides of the table. Unfortunately, many performance reviews aren’t conducted well, because you have to ask the right performance review questions. If not, that’s likely why many studies show performance reviews aren’t useful.
One of the main problems with performance reviews is that managers ask the wrong questions like “Are you happy in your job?” or “Do you feel like your compensation is fair?”. Or managers simply ask yes or no questions, which leaves little room for conversation. Reviews would go much better if questions were open-ended and specific to the worker. To help improve your organization’s reviews, here are three questions you should ask in every performance review.
Top Questions for Employee Review
1. What skills or interests do you have that we haven’t made the most of?
You never know what kind of secret weapon might be hiding in your staff. You might have a computer genius hiding in your sales department, or a copywriting expert wasting away as a cashier. Even if the skill or interest they mention doesn’t seem like much, make a note of it. An occasion may arise in the future when you need help with exactly what they are good at it. Plus, knowing where their interests lie may reveal how serious they are about a career with your organization.
2. Do you have the resources you need to excel at your job?
This question could drastically affect the productivity of your employees. It’s possible your employee has been struggling with software and they need additional help to master it. Or it could be something as small as getting a printer for an employee’s office so they don’t have to walk down the hall every five minutes. While your organization may not be able to provide the necessary resources immediately, knowing that you are making an effort to improve the employee’s work life is important.
3. What are your goals for the next six months?
Helping your employees set achievable goals is much better than forcing unrealistic ones on them. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by extreme expectations, they’ll be motivated to reach the milestones you worked together to set. And while employees typically focus on professional goals, you can also offer the opportunity for them to declare personal goals. Motivating your employees to improve their personal lives has the extra benefit of happier, healthier workers contributing to your organization’s mission.
Asking good performance review questions is just the beginning. Follow-up is key to effective performance reviews, so make sure you are checking in regularly with your employees. And be sure to recognize and celebrate employees who meet their goals. It will encourage them to keep up the good work and show you’re invested in their development.