As a manager or HR professional, part of growing and fostering a fruitful workforce is checking in with your team on a regular basis through employee reviews. This gives both parties the opportunity to provide feedback, address any concerns, and create new goals for the coming period. 

However, the employee review questions that managers ask during this process can make a big difference between a performance review that wastes everyone’s time, or one that refreshes and re-invigorates both parties for the year ahead. 


Why are performance reviews important?

Performance review time may not be your employees’ favorite, though the evidence shows that they can be quite impactful to the success of the business. 

In fact, a study done by Deloitte shows that businesses that conduct effective reviews are 30% more likely to meet their financial goals, and three times more likely to successfully manage change in their organization. 

Performance reviews can help managers accurately assess the performance of their direct reports, evaluate gaps in hard skills, and ensure employees are on track to meeting their goals. In turn, this can improve employee engagement on the job, and keep workers accountable for their goals and actions. 

When done right, employers can gain useful insights from their employees about the health of their operations and any ideas for improvements. In turn, employers can use this information to help employees reach their career goals and support the overall objectives of the business. 


Good vs. bad performance review questions

A performance review is only as good as the employee review questions that are asked by managers. So, it’s important to understand the difference between good employee review questions and bad ones in order to gain actionable feedback and insights from this process. 

Some of the main factors that make for poor annual review questions include being too vague or ambiguous, asking leading or loaded questions, and being inconsistent with the questions you ask. 

In practice, bad performance review questions may look like: 

  • “Why haven’t you met your goals this quarter?” 
  • “Are you doing a good job?” 
  • “Do you like your job?” 

On the other hand, managers can create strong employee review questions by asking clear and open-ended questions, being objective, and tying the questions to specific behaviors or outcomes that are relevant to the employee and the organization. 

Here are some examples of quality performance review questions: 

  • “What challenges did you face this year, and how did you overcome them?”
  • “What new skills or talents have you developed this year, and how have you applied them in your role?”
  • “What feedback have you received from your peers, and how have you incorporated that into your work?”


Questions to Use in Your Next Performance review

To get the most out of your performance reviews, consider asking some of the following annual review questions. 

Questions about employee development

  • What do you hope to be doing within the company a year from now? Five years from now?
  • What training do you wish you had, or would like to have to do better in your role?
  • What are your top three priorities in your role in the next 6-12 months?
  • What experience or project are you most proud of accomplishing since your last review?
  • Which skills or knowledge do your colleagues or clients most depend on you for?


Questions about team collaboration

  • What would colleagues or clients say about their recent interactions with you?
  • What is an accomplishment you’ve had over the past year that’s been successful due to collaboration with your colleagues?
  • Do you feel like the team allows you to utilize your gifts and full potential?
  • How could the team benefit more from your skills and talents?
  • Do you have feedback for any of your colleagues that could help in their development?


Questions about employee strengths

  • How have you been able to utilize your strengths in your role?
  • What experience or project are you most proud of accomplishing since your last review?
  • Which skills or knowledge do your colleagues or clients most depend on you for?
  • What kind of work comes easily to you?
  • How have your strengths helped you grow professionally?
  • What’s a strength of yours that you’ve discovered since taking over this role?
  • Do you feel you’re given ample recognition for your strengths?


Questions about employee weaknesses

  • In what areas do you feel your work can improve?
  • What project or deliverable were you the least proud of and why?
  • What steps do you think we can take to address areas of weakness we identified?
  • What support or resources would you need to improve in areas where you may be struggling?
  • What kind of work do you find to be most challenging?


Questions about organizational goals

  • Can you describe a meaningful contribution you’ve made to the organization since your last review?
  • Which company value do you feel you exhibit best?
  • How do you demonstrate that you’re solution-oriented and responsive?
  • How have you been able to contribute to the company’s goal of {specific goal here}?
  • What would colleagues or clients say about their recent interactions with you?


Questions about company management

  • Upon reflection, how has your manager helped you improve and do better work?
  • Do you feel comfortable taking risks and presenting new ideas to your manager?
  • Going forward, what type of support do you need from your manager to be successful in your role?
  • What do you enjoy most about working for your manager?
  • How do you prefer to receive feedback or comments from your manager?



Knowing how to craft good annual review questions can help both you and your employees get the most out of their performance reviews. When done correctly, these questions can encourage employees to reflect on their past performance, and help them set their sights on new growth and development within the organization. 

About the Author

Kayla is the Marketing Manager at Paypro Corporation overseeing all inbound and outbound marketing and sales efforts. She has 7+ years of experience working within the B2B and SaaS based solutions space and thrives on creating messaging and campaigns that introduce products and services to those who need them most.

Reduce your annual workload by 5 months

See how payroll automation reduces manual processing time

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.