Powerful performance review questions examples for HRs

Performance appraisal remains an essential element in nurturing and strengthening employee growth. However, conventional practices have proved to be inefficient and, in some cases, detrimental to employee performance. By 2015, 5% of Fortune 500 companies had ceased to rank their employees in appraisals. . 

Modern HR practices have shifted to continuous evaluation, which engages employees in a supportive and positive manner. According to Gallup, employees who receive weekly feedback are more likely to feel that the engagement was meaningful. Yet, smart performance review questions remain relevant in uncovering growth opportunities, building mutual trust, and nipping possible issues in the bud. 

Therefore, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that derail the goal of performance appraisals, such as merging OKR and performance review. OKR is primarily meant to support operational efficiency, and the close integration of OKR and performance appraisal often leads to inaccuracy when evaluating employees. 

Here’s how to implement OKR and performance appraisal without undesired consequences.

3 Types Of Reviews That Require Carefully-Crafted Questions 

Companies are shifting away from traditional annual reviews to harmonious integrations of one or more progressive appraisal sessions. Each of the following types of appraisals is designed to support professional growth, increase productivity and promote better collaboration between managers and employees. 

360-degree feedback 

360-degree appraisal involves aggregating feedback through peers, managers, self-evaluation, and direct reports. It provides a holistic insight into the employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Employees are evaluated from different perspectives, which helps managers better measure team members' performance competencies. Managers usually conduct the appraisal anonymously to create a safe and honest space for all participants. 

Leadership review

Leadership review is a direct but anonymous feedback system for managers. This type of review is essential to help managers foster a better professional relationship with team members. Managers receive various perspectives of their professionalism and style through designated questions when collaborating with the team. 

Performance review

Performance review is a high-focused appraisal program that helps employees identify potential challenges in meeting pre-determined goals. During the appraisal, employees perform self or superior evaluation in a non-judgmental environment.

Learn more about common review types here.

Top Questions To Ask During Performance Reviews

Disclaimer: The following questions are examples that serve as your inspiration. As each company and department is unique, managers must design their own personalized set of appraisal questions. When designing appraisal or annual review questions, consider factors like goals, participants, and performance criteria. Learn more about creating performance review questions from this article 

Discussion of previous goals & results 

Performance appraisal is a continuous assessment that bridges past performance and future potential. Asking these questions allows managers and employees to understand how they have progressed and plan for further growth in the organization. 

1. How did the person do on the goals set during your last performance appraisal? 

The answer helps the manager determine if the co-worker demonstrates accountability by maintaining a consistent effort to achieve pre-set goals. 

2. How could you evaluate the appraisee’s contribution to the goal X?

Managers can understand if a team member has made a significant effort that leaves a positive impression amongst co-workers.

3. Do you think this person is ready to be promoted to a higher position? 

This is an example question for team members to evaluate if a particular employee is committed to taking on more responsibilities. It also gauges the general acceptance of the participant’s possible promotion to a senior level. 

4. Provide an example of one time this person encountered a problem and how he/she resolved it.

It describes the situational awareness amongst employees, even when they are not directly tasked with an assignment.

Skills-related

Companies make identifying and honing their employee's skills a priority to improve productivity and growth. This requires a continuous process of assessment, guidance, upskilling, and practice that involves direct managers. These interview questions help managers assess hard and soft skills amongst team members. 

5. In what area(s) could this person improve?

Managers use this question to probe for underdeveloped skills amongst employees, often in non-core areas. 

6. In what area(s) does this person excel?

By asking this question to fellow team members, managers can evaluate if a particular employee has the appropriate skills for the current role. 

7. To what degree appraisee’s level of technical skills and expertise meets your expectations?

Asking such questions encourages an understanding of the employee’s ability to carry out their job effectively.

8. To what degree appraisee’s level of ownership, communication, and engagement with other team members meet your expectations?

This question enables managers to evaluate if a specific employee blends seamlessly into the team or falls short as a team player. 

9. What would you say if you could give [employee] constructive advice to be more effective in his/her role?

Such questions allow honest thoughts amongst team members that they usually hold on to themselves. It provides an opportunity to encourage growth without imposing their opinions on each other. 

Competencies / Strengths & Weaknesses

Every employee is unique as humans and has their respective strengths and weaknesses. Managers use these questions to learn what causes inefficiency and plan empowering programs to uncover their full potential. 

10. How would you evaluate the appraisee's competency "X"?

An open-ended question that encourages co-workers to describe what they feel about the candidate’s ability to accomplish a task. 

11. Which appraisee's competencies need improvement?

This question directs attention to the employee’s weaknesses. Co-workers reveal potential inadequacies that might hinder the employee from doing a respectable job. 

12. Could you provide an example of how the appraisee demonstrated competency "X"?

Managers get a deeper insight into real-world scenarios of how employees leverage skills and positive traits to achieve their objectives.

Self-evaluation

Self-evaluation questions allow employees to reflect on their performance and chart their career paths in the company. 

13. What did you manage to improve the most/the least? Why?

Employees recollect their progress professionally in the company and identify potential rooms for improvement. 

14. What was your most outstanding achievement over the last review period?

By answering this question, employees feel a sense of belongingness to the organization and self-recognition. 

15. How did you do on the goals set for you during your latest performance appraisal? What did you do to achieve them?

This question serves as a refresher to employees on their past objectives. It holds them accountable and creates a sense of ownership in further engagements. 

16. Which goals didn't you meet, and why?

A direct question that helps employees face any oversight heads-on. It prompts the employee to dive into the details of what doesn’t work and brainstorm innovative solutions. 

17. What was the most challenging aspect of your work over the past year, and why?

Answering this allows employees to acknowledge limitations and shortcomings when handling projects or dealing with co-workers. 

18. Do you feel that something and someone in the company is hampering your performance?

Office politics is a norm in any organization. This question allows the employee to be frank and take a proactive approach to resolving teething issues. 

19. Do you have everything you need to improve your performance?

A health check for the tools, skills, infrastructure and support employees need to excel in their jobs. 

The platform for OKR, 1:1s, and performance management. Free for up to 5 users.

Organization & culture

Asking questions related to organizational culture and core values ensures that all employees are emotionally engaged. Doing so helps create a workspace that inspires, motivates, and spurs fellow co-workers. 

20. Do you have a clear understanding of expectations from you? What makes you say that?

A simple question that reveals if the instructional chain of command is functioning well. It helps to keep employees focused on common goals and stay motivated. 

21. How would you describe our company culture? What sort of person would be a good fit here?

Employees are more likely to thrive in a company that shares relatable values. Use this question to figure out if they will blend in seamlessly. 

22. Which company values do you like the most? Which the least? Why?

The management team will find this question helpful in shaping internal policies for the coming years. It makes known specific values that matter the most to the employees. 

23. In what ways do you think you can contribute more to the company?

This provides an opportunity for team members to share their opinions on how they can offer more value to the company. Expect some creative ideas with this ‘think out of the box’ question. 

24. Are you happy with the company's culture? Do you feel that there is any scope for improvement?

Allow coworkers to voice possible discontentment without fear and encourage an honest conversation to seek solutions. 

25. Is there anyone or anything that is obstructing your performance in this company?

This provides an opportunity for employees who feel undervalued to speak up and resolve any misunderstandings. 

Career goals & plans: 

Organizations should emphasize and support the career development of their employees. These questions help managers determine how each employee could grow with the organization by revealing each individual's goals, motivation, and interests. 

26. What are your short-term and long-term career goals?

Managers understand how ambitious the employee is, particularly whether they align with where the company is heading. 

27. What would you want to change about your current role?

Take a glimpse into the employee’s existing role and figure out if it’s rewarding.. 

28. Do you feel that your current job and responsibilities are aligned with your future goals?

A mismatch between job scope and ambition might cause an employee to leave the company. This question helps address such issues. 

29. What are your big dreams in life? Are you making progress on them?

Companies ought to be more supportive in empowering employees to achieve personal goals. Asking this question helps. 

30. What other roles/areas here could you see yourself in?

This question allows managers to identify versatile employees who could excel in different departments. 

Training/education opportunities: 

Capable employees seek avenues to expand their careers by pursuing professional courses, training, and structured learning. Use these questions to support them in their quest for betterment.

31. Do you feel you are learning at work? What are the new things you learned lately / want to learn?

Reveals immediate learning opportunities that benefit the employee. 

32. What is the specific skill that you are going to acquire or enhance?

A direct question permits the employee to express the next step in broadening their skills. 

33. Why is it essential to your company that you increase your skill in this area or develop this competency?

Employees provide convincing reasons to gain support for pursuing specific career developmental courses or training. 

34. What will be the benefit to you if you improve in this area?

This allows managers to evaluate if it’s viable for the employee to enhance a specific skill. 

35. How will you determine whether you actually have made a significant improvement in this area?

An open-ended question that empowers employees to set their own goals and justifies if the upskilling courses they’ve undertaken have bear results. 

Questions to ask your manager during the review

Performance appraisal is a bidirectional engagement. These are questions to ask your boss that foster better working relationships. 

36. What skills do I need to improve?

The manager’s outside perspective reveals blindspots that you might have missed. 

37. What performance goals should I be setting?

Get assistance from your manager to align your goals with organizational objectives, values, and personal strengths. 

38. What did you like about my past year's performance?

This question allows you to review your competency from your manager’s point of view. 

39. What do you think are my strengths and weaknesses?

Seek an unbiased viewpoint from your manager on competitive advantages and opportunities for improvements that help in your career. 

40. What advice would you give me at this point in my career?

Leverage the vast experience of your supervisor to guide you in the most optimal direction. 

41. Could you recommend me some books or resources for skills enhancement?

This allows you to tap into the secrets of your superior’s success. 

42. How can I help you get your job better?

You show an initiative in learning about what is important for your manager. This helps you focus on specific areas that are pivotal for meeting key objectives. 

Conclusion

We’ve shown you an exhaustive list of performance appraisal questions that help provide continuous feedback to your team. Nevertheless, planning and analyzing the appraisal results can be overwhelming, despite being prepared with these questions. 

Therefore, streamline performance appraisal with an automated HR solution to increase efficiency and coordination.

Set up performance appraisal with Plai HR suite now.