The most effective performance review questions

Employee performance reviews are crucial for organizations as they provide direct insights into employee satisfaction, identify areas for improvement, and help shape a positive workplace culture.


Employee performance reviews are crucial for organizations as they provide direct insights into employee satisfaction, identify areas for improvement, and help shape a positive workplace culture.

An employee performance review is a quick and anonymous way for companies to collect feedback from their staff on job satisfaction, communication, work-life balance, and overall workplace culture. The aim is to use this input to make positive changes, enhance the work environment, and boost employee engagement.

Traditionally, companies have relied on performance reviews to assess employee productivity and performance. Nevertheless, a growing number of employees express dissatisfaction, stating that these reviews are ineffective and often provide inaccurate results.

In this article, we’ll look at how to create effective performance review questions and identify the best ones to use for a successful review process.

What are employee performance reviews?

Employee performance reviews are formal evaluations conducted by managers to assess an employee’s work performance over a specific period. Traditionally, these reviews focused on evaluating past achievements and shortcomings. However, the modern approach emphasizes fostering development and setting goals for future growth.

Why do performance reviews matter?

Effective performance reviews are a cornerstone of a healthy and productive work environment. They offer a multitude of benefits for both employers and employees:

  • Improved employee engagement: Meaningful conversations about career development and contributions foster a sense of value and purpose in employees.
  • Enhanced performance: By identifying areas needing improvement and setting clear goals, reviews empower employees to excel in their roles.
  • Stronger employer-employee relationships: Regular performance reviews establish a foundation of trust and open communication between managers and their teams.
  • Boosted talent retention: Employees who feel valued and supported are more likely to stay with the company and contribute their talents long-term.
  • Data-driven decision-making: Performance reviews provide valuable insights that can inform training programs, performance management strategies, and overall company direction.

What makes performance review questions effective?

Crafting the right questions is paramount to conducting a successful performance review. Effective questions should:

  • Be specific: Avoid generic inquiries. Focus on targeting specific aspects of performance and development.
  • Be open-ended: Encourage elaboration and insightful responses instead of yes/no answers.
  • Focus on future development: Frame questions to promote goal setting and growth opportunities.
  • Avoid leading questions: Don’t phrase questions that imply a specific answer.
  • Balance self-assessment and feedback: Combine self-evaluation questions with manager feedback for a holistic view of the employee’s performance.

How to create effective performance review questions

Keeping track of how well an employee is doing is crucial. But it’s just as important to use appraisals to spot strengths, areas for improvement, and the challenges your team members might be facing. This helps you figure out if someone needs more training, is ready for more responsibilities, or might be better suited for different tasks.

Effective performance review questions should have a distinct purpose and intention. When posing a question, clarify the reason behind it and articulate what you aim to accomplish with the answer. Therefore, it’s essential to be specific rather than using vague or generic language.

Avoid questions like “Why did you fail to meet X goal?” in performance reviews, as they can come across as negative. Performance evaluations can be stressful, causing employees to instinctively defend themselves when faced with such questions.

While understanding why goals were not achieved is important, ensure your questions are framed in a way that doesn’t trigger a defensive response.

Always bear in mind that the objectives of conducting performance review surveys include assessing performance and concentrating on employee development.

To achieve these goals, it’s crucial to categorize your questions, ensure they have a distinct purpose, and frame them in a manner that doesn’t induce anxiety in respondents.

You can start creating your next performance review Survey from scratch or you can start by selecting one of Formaloo’s 200+ free-form templates to create the performance review survey.

What are the best performance review questions

For a successful and streamlined performance review, categorize your questions and ask focused, specific queries across different domains.

  • General performance
  • Employee strengths
  • Present role
  • Areas needing improvement
  • Prospects for future growth

In the follow-up section, there will be commonly asked questions for each category.

General performance

  1. How would you describe your overall performance during the review period?
  2. What specific accomplishments are you most proud of?
  3. Can you highlight any challenges you faced and how you addressed them?
  4. In what ways have you demonstrated company values and culture?
  5. Are there any additional resources or support you need to enhance your performance?

Employee strengths

  1. What do you consider to be your key strengths in your current role?
  2. Can you provide examples of how your strengths have positively impacted your team or projects?
  3. How do you leverage your strengths to contribute to the success of the team?
  4. Are there specific skills or abilities you believe have been particularly beneficial?
  5. How can we further utilize and support your identified strengths in the future?

Present role

  1. How well do you believe you have fulfilled the responsibilities outlined in your current role?
  2. Can you share specific examples of tasks or projects you’ve excelled in within your current position?
  3. Have there been any changes or challenges in your role, and how have you adapted to them?
  4. Are there any aspects of your current role that you find particularly fulfilling or challenging?
  5. Do you feel adequately supported in your current position, or are there areas where you would like more assistance or resources?

Areas needing improvement

  1. Are there any specific skills or areas you feel could be improved upon?
  2. Have you encountered challenges or difficulties in certain aspects of your role?
  3. How do you plan to address any identified areas for improvement?
  4. Are there any additional resources or training you believe would be beneficial for improvement?
  5. Can you share examples of feedback or situations that highlight areas needing development?

Prospects for future growth

  1. Where do you see yourself professionally in the next year or two?
  2. What are your career goals within the organization?
  3. Are there specific skills or areas you would like to develop further for future opportunities?
  4. How can the organization support your professional growth and career aspirations?
  5. Are there particular roles or projects you are interested in pursuing in the future?

Best practices for conducting performance reviews:

  • Set clear expectations: Outline the review process, including the format, timeline, and purpose, for both managers and employees.
  • Gather feedback: Incorporate feedback from multiple sources, including self-assessment, peer reviews (if applicable), and manager observations.
  • Prepare for the discussion: Managers should review employee goals, past performance, and any relevant data to ensure a focused and productive conversation.
  • Create a positive and supportive environment: Approach the review with a collaborative spirit, focusing on open communication and mutual respect.
  • Focus on solutions: Instead of dwelling on past shortcomings, use the review to identify challenges and develop improvement solutions.

Maximize the benefits of your performance reviews with Formaloo

By asking detailed and specific questions during an employee performance review, managers can explore individual performance, employee motivations, and goals more thoroughly. This not only shows employees that their development is valued but also provides managers with opportunities to support their growth.

Are you interested in handling performance reviews on your own? Formaloo provides everything you need to create

Remember, tools like Formaloo can be your trusted companions, simplifying the process with user-friendly features.

With Formaloo, you can gather feedback, automate tasks, and analyze data effortlessly. So, why wait? Take the next step towards your customer success journey—sign up for free and make your business dreams a reality.

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The most effective performance review questions