You’ve been tasked with creating a series of questions for the upcoming performance checkins. If this is the case, you might be asking yourself where on earth to start. Gathering some information about the review and the goal of those questions can help you narrow down your options. Before you begin, determine what type of questions you will ask by answering this one first:
What’s the purpose? Are you seeking information, making plans, or trying to change behavior?
Acquiring Information and Insight
Whether you realize it or not, the questions we ask serve a purpose. Most likely, if you are conducting a review, you are looking to gather information or gain your employee’s perspective on performance. But the right questions can also mitigate business risks by discovering unforeseen drawbacks.
To understand your employee's point of view, and learn what impacted them to perform above or below expectations, ask questions that put them in the driver’s seat. Take note of these examples:
- Did you encounter a major challenge in your profession this year? If so, how did you overcome it?
- What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment with the greatest results this year?
- Do your own personal goals align with the company’s goals? If not, please explain why.
- If you could change anything about your job or upper-management’s job, what would you change and how?
- Is there something you would change in the workplace environment?
- Is there somewhere in the company that can be more efficient or productive?
- Name the obstacles that make it difficult for you to reach your work goals.
These questions reveal the problem-solving abilities of the employee being reviewed. They also give the manager an idea of what their employee considers a priority, which can then be compared or contrasted to management’s ideas.
It is more likely that the person working a job can provide you with the extra, in-depth ideas about the positives or negatives of their function and support. Again, giving them the driver’s seat is a great way to initiate conversations with your employees that they would otherwise not have. Here is where you’ll want to learn the most about shortcomings and areas of improvement.
Planning for the Future
After sharing their successes, how they were achieved, and what challenges they recently overcame, ask questions that point to the future. After all, a healthy performance management program will embrace professional growth and career paths. The following set of questions can help your and your employee structure important future plans:
- In what area would you like to receive more training or mentorship?
- What skills or cross-training opportunities, if any, interest you the most and why?
- Would you like to take on more challenging work and if so, why do you believe you are prepared for it?
- What might be your biggest challenge next year and how will you prepare for it?
- What other role in this company can you see yourself in, sometime in the near future?
- What other role in this company can you see yourself in, in the distant future?
- What part of performance review is most important to you: recognition, professional growth, or responsibility?
These questions reveal an employee’s awareness about their surroundings and how well they are being supported. Having proper encouragement will drive your employees to create personal goals and think about the future.
By all means, planning is essential to managing performance in your company and reviews need to produce a clear sense of direction for both management and staff. Get to know how your employees will make the most of next year and what they truly value the most.
Change an Employee’s Behavior
Lastly, when used as a tool for unlocking value in your department, the right review questions can be quite effective motivators. Using questions to incite learning and exchange ideas, is a sure fire way to fuel performance because employees generally wish to succeed. These questions create a unique opportunity to forge potential and build rapport among your team:
- Are there any company resources beneficial to you? If not, are there some you feel are needed?
- Did you have enough constructive criticism and feedback throughout this quarter?
- What results were you least proud of and why?
- What can I do to help you better meet your goals?
- What disagreement have you had with an employee or coworker and how did you manage?
- Are you able to effectively communicate with me or your peers?
- What will you focus on the most next quarter to help you develop skills or company values?
For some, difficult questions are hard to ask, but rest assured, this experience improves interpersonal bonding. Employees perform best, when they know that their managers care. Ultimately, these questions that cause behavioral reactions get to the bottom line: is this the right person for the job?