Unfortunately, not many people see performance reviews in a positive light than they should. This includes the managers who conduct the reviews and employees who receive them. This is because, as human beings, we don’t like to be put under pressure.
It’s challenging to accept constructive feedback, but it’s 100% necessary if you want to keep growing.
Employers and managers may find that their employees respond better to constructive criticism and feedback when some focus is placed on the overall morale.
Boosting employee morale will make them happier and more comfortable in general, leading to a more productive performance review.
Performance reviews are excellent opportunities to maximize the return you will give to the company in the next month, quarter, or year. Additionally, it is the best way to ensure you and your manager are on the same page and consequently avoid future frustrations.
Many employees never have the opportunity to sit with a supervisor to discuss job performance. Therefore, if you get this chance, you should be excited to make the best of it. If you prepare for it, the outcome may leave you with some surprising benefits.
I have conducted numerous performance reviews throughout my career, but I’ve also been on the receiving end a few times. I know that it’s not always an easy situation. So, after many years of hearing questions from employees, I will share my favourite ones with you:
1. What Would You Do Differently If You Were in My Position?
This may seem like an obvious question, but I don’t get it very often. This question shows that you want to improve your performance and look for advancement within the company. Additionally, it allows your manager to comfortably speak about aspects that you can improve.
Remember, your manager was once in your position. We likely have answers to the challenges you have been facing. Asking for guidance will save you a lot of trial and error.
2. How Do You See Me Growing in the Company Within the Next Three Years?
As company leaders, we want to see our employees thrive. The more comfortable you feel about your growth and development, the better. When you ask for a projection of your future, you demonstrate the will to take on new responsibilities.
You also allow your manager to share the company’s plans that might affect you. For example, the company might be going through an expansion period, or there might be the possibility of acquisitions in the short-term.
Once you know what the future holds, you can prepare for it. This can also open the door to a conversation about employee development and how it can be improved.
3. What Skills Do I Need to Do My Job More Effectively?
This is a great question to follow up on the previous one with. To grow within the company, you must demonstrate that you are an asset to them.
This is another question that allows managers to share personal experiences and prepare you for what you might encounter. Just like you probably heard from your parents, listening to those with experience can save you from getting into trouble.
Keep in mind, if someone is a manager it means that he or she has the credibility to advance you. Your question can reveal which organizational skills matter the most to your manager so that you can focus on developing them.
4. What Was My Biggest Accomplishment This Year?
One of my employees asked me this question a few months ago, and it gave me a chance to compliment the remarkable improvement in her communication skills. At the beginning of her career with us, she tended to be reticent and have difficulties asking for information or giving feedback.
After we talked about that on her first performance review, these things improved significantly. When she asked me that question on her following performance review, she gave me the chance to recognize her efforts and to emphasize the importance of continuous improvement.
Keep in mind that the answer to this question might surprise you. You might think that your biggest accomplishment was one thing, but your manager is more impressed with something you didn’t even know was that valuable.
Furthermore, this question opens a space to talk about metrics. Most managers craft specific goals to be accomplished by the end of the month, quarter, semester, or year. These generally coincide with the performance review period. This is the perfect time to talk about these results.
5. How Can I Be More Helpful to Others on Our Team?
Every supervisor wants employees who can empathize with others. This is an essential component of the human experience. By asking this question, you show that your responsibilities aren’t the only thing you are worried about.
This question demonstrates your ability to see the big picture and work effectively in a team. It also shows that you are well suited for a management position since these are important qualities of a manager.
6. Do You Find It Easy to Give Me Feedback? If Not, How Can I Improve?
This is an extremely important question. It is your manager’s job to give you feedback and follow up with your projects and responsibilities. However, it is also your job to ensure you are open to receive this feedback.
I have experienced multiple situations in which managers were giving feedback while employees were trying to receive it, but they weren’t understanding each other effectively because they were speaking in “different languages.”
For example, you might feel like asking for feedback is simply sending an email with updates on your project, but your manager might prefer sitting with you to discuss details. The result is that your manager gets annoyed with all your emails while you get frustrated with direct and assertive feedback.
Once you’re both on the same page, this process will become much easier.
7. How Do You Prefer to Receive Feedback?
This question is complementary to the previous one. In the same way that your manager must give you feedback, you should also give them feedback. You must be constantly communicating what your manager can do better to make your job more efficient — even if you don’t always feel comfortable doing it.
I prefer receiving feedback in person. However, some managers are uncomfortable receiving feedback in a personal way and would prefer to communicate via email, for example.
By asking the question, you show an openness to accept recommendations and make both of your lives easier and your jobs more effective.
8. What Is One Challenge Our Company Will Face Next Year?
As a company faces new challenges, they need employees who can accept them, embrace them, and help conduct a smooth transition.
By asking this question, you will demonstrate an interest in understanding how to prepare for these challenges, and make your contribution to the company’s success.
Additionally, this question allows you to get first-hand information about the company’s next steps, including things that can directly affect your job. Some of this information is not disclosed unless it is asked about.
9. How Can I Make Your Job Easier?
I consider this to be a brilliant question. Not because managers want their jobs to become easy, but because a big part of a manager’s job is to prepare employees to take over their responsibilities at some point.
By asking this question, you will give your manager the chance to pass some of their responsibilities to you and maybe start the promotion process sooner than you expected.
Even if your manager isn’t ready to give up their responsibilities, this will let them know you’re ready.
10. What Are the Success Metrics for the Next Performance Review?
If you want to be successful in your next period, you must know exactly what you need to do to get there. Make sure you ask what is expected of you, and how you can best achieve success.
Once you know the expectations, you can create a plan. By the end of the next period, you can track what things were successful and what might have been a miss.
You might not notice it, but having clear goals highly increases your engagement with the company. And according to research, highly-engaged employees are 36% more likely to stay with their company.
Take Advantage of Your Performance Review
Whether your performance reviews take place once a year or once every quarter, do your best to make the most of them. It won’t always be the most comfortable experience, but it’s a chance for both sides to reveal some valuable information.
You can learn a lot about both yourself and the company during the review. Take what you hear seriously, apply it to your future performance, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you have feedback for your superior.