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5 Powerful Questions to Ask During Performance Reviews

May 31, 2024

5 Powerful Questions to Ask During Performance Reviews



Performance reviews are a critical component of any organization’s talent management strategy. These regular check-ins provide an opportunity for managers and employees to reflect on past performance, set goals for the future, and identify areas for growth and development. However, not all performance review questions are created equal.


To get the most value out of these conversations, managers must ask questions that go beyond surface-level metrics and dig deeper into employee motivations, aspirations, and challenges. Here are five powerful questions that every manager should consider asking during performance reviews:

“What accomplishment are you most proud of since our last review, and why?”

This question encourages employees to reflect on their successes and articulate the value they have brought to the organization. By asking employees to explain why a particular accomplishment was meaningful to them, managers can gain insight into their employees’ motivations and values. This question also provides an opportunity for managers to recognize and celebrate employee achievements, which can boost morale and engagement.


“What skills or knowledge do you feel you need to develop to reach your career goals?”

Career development is a key driver of employee engagement and retention. By asking employees about their career aspirations and the skills they need to achieve them, managers can demonstrate a commitment to their employees’ long-term success. This question also helps managers identify potential skill gaps and create targeted development plans to help employees grow and advance within the organization.


“What are the biggest obstacles or challenges you face in your role, and how can I help you overcome them?”

Even the most talented and motivated employees can face obstacles that prevent them from reaching their full potential. By asking about these challenges directly, managers can demonstrate empathy and support for their employees. This question also provides an opportunity for managers to identify potential process improvements, resource needs, or other changes that can help employees succeed.


“How do you prefer to receive feedback, and how can I provide more effective coaching and support?”

Effective feedback is essential for employee growth and development, but not everyone likes to receive feedback in the same way. Some employees may prefer direct, straightforward feedback, while others may respond better to a more nurturing, coaching-oriented approach. By asking employees about their feedback preferences, managers can tailor their communication style to be more effective and impactful.


“What are your top priorities and goals for the coming year, and how can I help you achieve them?”

Goal-setting is a critical component of any performance review, but it’s important to ensure that goals are aligned with both individual and organizational priorities. By asking employees about their top priorities and goals, managers can ensure that everyone is working towards the same objectives. This question also provides an opportunity for managers to offer support and resources to help employees achieve their goals.

Asking these powerful questions during performance reviews can help managers gain a deeper understanding of their employees’ strengths, challenges, and aspirations. However, asking the right questions is only half the battle. Managers must also be prepared to listen actively, provide constructive feedback, and take action to support their employees’ growth and development.


In addition to asking powerful questions, there are several other best practices that managers should keep in mind when conducting performance reviews. These include:


  • Setting clear expectations and goals upfront
  • Providing regular, ongoing feedback throughout the year
  • Focusing on behaviors and outcomes, rather than personality traits
  • Recognizing and rewarding strong performance
  • Creating a safe and supportive environment for open and honest dialogue


Performance reviews are a critical opportunity for managers to connect with their employees, recognize their achievements, and support their growth and development. By asking powerful questions that go beyond surface-level metrics, managers can gain valuable insights into their employees’ motivations, challenges, and aspirations. With the right approach and tools, organizations can create a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that benefits everyone.

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