Great Questions to Ask at Year End Performance Reviews

  • Savannah Higgins
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As we approach the end of the year, most people will be sitting down for a year-end performance review. This is an opportunity for employers and employees to meet one-on-one to discuss the past year’s achievements, challenges, and opportunities for future development. Often times, the format is to rank performance of one’s day-to-day responsibilities as ‘exceeds expectations,’ ‘meets expectations,’ or ‘needs improvement.’ The general wrap-up is discussing how to achieve professional and personal growth opportunities and asking if there is anything more the employer can be doing for the employee.  However, are both parties asking the right questions?

If an employee seems to be struggling or not meeting expectations in an area, what’s the RIGHT question to ask to ensure that the behavior will change? If an employer is not providing opportunities for growth, what’s the RIGHT question to ask to understand what needs to be done going forward to reach career goals?

Well sit back, relax, and read on, as we have some GREAT ideas for you as to questions you might want to bring up, whether you are the employer or the employee.


Employer: What can I provide to you right now that would help you perform to the best of your ability?

Employee: What is something I can do or implement within the next 30 days to exceed expectations in this area?


Employer: What is the thing you dislike the most about your job and what is the thing you love the most about your job?

Employee: What is the one thing you truly dislike doing and wish someone would take off your plate to make your life easier?


Employer: Do you understand the importance of your job and how it serves other people in the organization?

Employee: What is an area where I can create value that would benefit others in the organization?


Employer: What are your biggest strengths and do you feel they are being applied in this position?

Employee: If my role were to expand in a different area of the company, where would you see my skills being best utilized?


Employer: Are the expectations of your day-to-day responsibilities, and the goals the organization has set for you, clear? How can we make that more transparent?

Employee: Are there better goals to set for myself in the upcoming year that can be easily measured to make sure I am exceeding expectations?


Employer: Do you ever feel that you are set up to fail? What can I do to ensure that you are prepared and better able to succeed?

Employee: Are there areas where you feel that initial and continued training would be beneficial; if so, could I help in improving or creating that?


Employer: If you could change one thing about my management style, what would it be?

Employee: If you could change one thing about my communication style, what would it be?


Employer: Do I follow up too much and too quickly or not enough?

Employee: How frequently would you like to hear from me with status updates? Do you have any other feedback as to how my communication can be improved?


Employer: In your opinion, have there been times where my tone comes off the wrong way?

Employee: Has my communication style been timely, professional, and pleasant? Is there room for improvement in this area?


Employer: Are there any areas of your job in which you feel “stuck” and you don’t feel prepared to work towards a solution?

Employee: Can we schedule more one-on-one time with you and/or other managers so I have opportunities to collaborate and learn from their experience?


Employer: What part of your job seems non-value add or could be improved to be more efficient?

Employee: Is there an area where you feel I’m taking more time to complete my tasks than expected? Are there areas where I can better streamline processes?