HR’s Guide to Performance Review Questions

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HR’s Guide to Performance Review Questions

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Performance Reviews

HR’s Guide to Performance Review Questions

September 13, 2018

Before You Start: Questions to Ask Yourself

Performance reviews help companies collect data about employee performance. A successful review cycle will identify the top performers, the problem children, the good managers, the bad managers, the up and coming super stars, the underachievers, and more. If done correctly, the review cycle will highlight each employee’s strengths and weaknesses, while also providing some interesting trends around the overall company performance.

The data collected from the review will impact key business decisions over the next few quarters; employees will be promoted, fired, and placed in managerial roles based off this data. And just like any good data collection process, it starts by being thoughtful around the questions that you’re asking to make sure that you’re collecting the right data. This means thinking critically about the objective of the review, the overall structure and the particular questions that you’re asking participants.

Before running a review cycle, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What’s the objective?
  2. Who should participate?
  3. What should we measure?
  4. What kind of questions?

What's the objective of a performance review?

There's two common objectives for performance reviews. Yours can include one or both

Evaluation

The objective is to assess the employee’s performance over a certain period of time to make key business decisions. Typically, these decisions include things like whether this person should get promoted, whether the employee deserves a raise, and the employee’s overall status within the company. These types of reviews are for the company to gather important information about the employee and typically happen 1-2 times per year.

Development

The objective is to provide employees with feedback to highlight how they can improve. At the end of this review, employees know what they need to work on and what steps they need to take to be successful. These types of reviews are for the employee’s benefit, and ideally happen 2-4 times per year.

Who should participate in a performance review?

Depending on your objective, decide who should be participating in this cycle.


Employee (Self)

An employee reflects on how they’ve performed, and shares what they want to accomplish at the company and their broader career.

Peer

Colleagues highlight the strengths and weakness of an employee’s performance over a certain period of time.

Manager

Direct reports analyze how their boss is performing both for the business and for the direct report’s career.

What should you measure in a performance review?

Before drafting review questions, start by selecting the broader category of employee qualities that you want to measure. There’s a number of different aspects of an employee’s work life that you can collect data around, for example:

Leadership

How well does an employee manage other people and motivate a group of individuals.

Project Management

How does this person approach completing their work product.

Culture

How well does this person reflect the company values.

Career Development

What can this person do to improve their work product and interactions at the company.

Impact

How much of a contribution does this person make to the organization.

Problem Solving

How does this person approach challenges.

Communication

How well does this person interact with co-workers.

The exact mix of employee qualities that are featured in a review is dependent on what an organization identifies as an important input into their decision making process.

What kind of questions should you ask in a performance review?

There’s two ways to frame performance review questions:

Most review questions feature a Likert Scale that measures the attitudes and behaviors using answer choices that range from one extreme to another. Unlike a simple yes / no question, a Likert scale allows you to uncover degrees of opinion.

Example Likert Scale

Keep in mind...

While it may sound counterintuitive, it’s totally okay to have two different objectives and review styles in your review. For some review periods (i.e. annual reviews), you may want to gather information that will both help the employee (development) and the company (evaluation), and that’s fine! As long as you’re thinking critically about the structure of the review and know what information you want to gather ahead of time, you’re on the right track.

Performance Review Question Templates

Brief Development Focused Reviews

Designed to give employees feedback so they can continually get better throughout the year.

Quarterly

A quick way to provide feedback on your co-workers every few months.

  1. What are this person’s strengths?
  2. What’s something this person could improve on?

Lookback Outlook

Great for an end of year review.

  1. What did this person do well this year?
  2. What should this person do differently next year?
  3. What are your goals for the coming year?

Stop Start Continue

An easy framework for employees to provide simple feedback. Perfect for companies that hold performance reviews more frequently.

  1. What’s one thing this person should stop doing?
  2. What’s one thing this person should start doing?
  3. What’s one thing this person should continue doing?

Performance Potential Behavior

Simple way to look at the three critical dimensions of performance.

  1. To what degree did this person meet your expectations for their performance. Did they accomplish their goals?
  2. In what areas do you see the most potential for this person? How do you hope to see this person grow over the next 3-6 months?
  3. To what extent does this person embody our company values? Be as specific as you can.

Comprehensive Reviews: Self and Peer

Designed to evaluate performance and provide developmental feedback.

Self

For an employee to evaluate their own performance.

  1. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  2. To what extent did you meet your goals for the year?
  3. How well do you prioritize and manage your workload?
  4. How well do you listen to and communicate with others?
  5. What do you think you should do differently next year?
  6. Provide an example of one company value you brought to life and how

Peer

For employees to evaluate their colleague’s performance

  1. Does this employee effectively communicate with others?
  2. How effective of a leader is this person, either through direct management or influence?
  3. Does this person own the solution to problems? Are they proactive or reactive?
  4. How would you rate the quality of the employee’s work?
  5. How well does this person set and meet deadlines? How reasonable are their time estimates?
  6. How does this person stand up against the pillars of culture? What have been their successes? What are their challenges?
  7. If you could give this person one piece of constructive advice to make them more effective in their role, what would you say?

Comprehensive Reviews: Managers and Direct Reports

Designed to evaluate performance and provide developmental feedback.

Direct Report

For a manager to evaluate their direct report’s performance.

  1. What’s an area where you’ve seen this person excel?
  2. What’s an area you’d like to see this person improve?
  3. To what extent did this person meet their goals?
  4. How well does this person prioritize and manage their workload?
  5. How well does this person communicate with others?
  6. Provide an example of one company value this person brought to life

Manager

For an employee to evaluate their manager’s performance.

  1. Is your manager action-oriented? How well do they drive results? 2. Does your manager make your work better?
  2. Does your manager hold you and your peers accountable for producing quality work on time?
  3. How well does your manager support your professional and personal growth?
  4. Does your manager accept feedback? Does your manager communicate well?

Google's Manager Review

The survey itself is short. It's roughly a dozen statements with a Likert scale measuring if Googlers agree or disagree with the statements. Each statement is based on one of the eight behaviors of successful managers at Google.

  1. My manager gives me actionable feedback that helps me improve my performance.
  2. My manager does not "micromanage" (i.e., get involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
  3. My manager shows consideration for me as a person.
  4. The actions of my manager show that he/she values the perspective I bring to the team, even if it is different from his/her own.
  5. My manager keeps the team focused on our priority results/deliverables.
  6. My manager regularly shares relevant information from his/her manager and senior leaders.
  7. My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about career development in the past six months.
  8. My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
  9. My manager has the technical expertise (e.g., coding in Tech, selling in Global Business, accounting in Finance) required to effectively manage me.
  10. I would recommend my manager to other Googlers.
  11. I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.
  12. I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.

The Manager Feedback Survey also asks for confidential comments from Googlers:

  1. What would you recommend your manager keep doing?
  2. What would you have your manager change?

Deloitte's Employee Review

At the end of every project, or once a quarter if employees have long-term assignments, managers ask four questions that are rated on a five-point scale, from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree;" the second two have yes or no options:

  1. Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus.
  2. Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team.
  3. This person is at risk for low performance.
  4. This person is ready for promotion today.

Performance Review Question Bank

Questions for your next performance review organized by category.

Leadership

  • How effective of a leader is this person, either through direct management or influence?Does this person help improve the skills of the people around them?
  • How can this person improve their leadership?
  • What specific examples of leadership can you share?
  • Does this person make the people around them excited and happy to be here?

Culture/Values

  • Provide an example of one company value they brought to life and how
  • How does this person stand up against the pillars of culture? What have been their successes? What are their challenges?

Problem Solving

  • Does this person own the solution to problems? Are they proactive or reactive?
  • How well does this person illustrate new thinking/novel approaches to tough challenges?
  • Does this person come up with new ideas, fresh approaches, and innovative solutions in their work?

Communication

  • Does this employee effectively communicate with others?
  • Does the employee take direction and follow orders well?
  • How well does this person listen to others and communicate with clarity?
  • How well does this person give and receive feedback with others?
  • Does this person work well with other people?
  • How well does this person work on a team?
  • Provides clear, objective, timely and focused feedback to any direct reports, peers and managers.
  • How would you recommend this person improves their interpersonal skills?
  • How well does this person contribute to the overall success and function of the team?

Impact

  • What areas of impact did you have on your projects, your team or the organization?
  • How would you rate the quality of the employee’s work?
  • To what degree has this person demonstrated business impact?
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how effective do you think this person is in their role?
  • Is this person productive? Do they work quickly, while maintaining quality work product?

Project Management

  • How well does this person set and meet deadlines? How reasonable are their time estimates?
  • Is this person detail oriented?
  • How effectively does this person prioritize their workload?
  • Does this person effectively manage their time?
  • How timely is the employee about the completion of their work?
  • Is the employee capable of working independently with little to no supervision?

Career Development: Self Review

  • What can you improve?
  • What are your key strengths?
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  • What do you think you should do differently next year?
  • What do you want to accomplish in the coming year?
  • When you look back over your career, what do you want to have accomplished?
  • What do you want your next position at the company to be? What elements of your job do you find most difficult?
  • What elements of your job interest you the most, and the least?

Career Development: Peer Review

  • If you could give this person one piece of constructive advice to make them more effective in their role, what would you say?
  • Overall, what areas of focus do you think could most help this person grow in their career?
Article
Performance Reviews

HR’s Guide to Performance Review Questions

How you structure performance review questions will have a significant impact on your next review cycle and the data you collect.

Before You Start: Questions to Ask Yourself

Performance reviews help companies collect data about employee performance. A successful review cycle will identify the top performers, the problem children, the good managers, the bad managers, the up and coming super stars, the underachievers, and more. If done correctly, the review cycle will highlight each employee’s strengths and weaknesses, while also providing some interesting trends around the overall company performance.

The data collected from the review will impact key business decisions over the next few quarters; employees will be promoted, fired, and placed in managerial roles based off this data. And just like any good data collection process, it starts by being thoughtful around the questions that you’re asking to make sure that you’re collecting the right data. This means thinking critically about the objective of the review, the overall structure and the particular questions that you’re asking participants.

Before running a review cycle, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What’s the objective?
  2. Who should participate?
  3. What should we measure?
  4. What kind of questions?

What's the objective of a performance review?

There's two common objectives for performance reviews. Yours can include one or both

Evaluation

The objective is to assess the employee’s performance over a certain period of time to make key business decisions. Typically, these decisions include things like whether this person should get promoted, whether the employee deserves a raise, and the employee’s overall status within the company. These types of reviews are for the company to gather important information about the employee and typically happen 1-2 times per year.

Development

The objective is to provide employees with feedback to highlight how they can improve. At the end of this review, employees know what they need to work on and what steps they need to take to be successful. These types of reviews are for the employee’s benefit, and ideally happen 2-4 times per year.

Who should participate in a performance review?

Depending on your objective, decide who should be participating in this cycle.


Employee (Self)

An employee reflects on how they’ve performed, and shares what they want to accomplish at the company and their broader career.

Peer

Colleagues highlight the strengths and weakness of an employee’s performance over a certain period of time.

Manager

Direct reports analyze how their boss is performing both for the business and for the direct report’s career.

What should you measure in a performance review?

Before drafting review questions, start by selecting the broader category of employee qualities that you want to measure. There’s a number of different aspects of an employee’s work life that you can collect data around, for example:

Leadership

How well does an employee manage other people and motivate a group of individuals.

Project Management

How does this person approach completing their work product.

Culture

How well does this person reflect the company values.

Career Development

What can this person do to improve their work product and interactions at the company.

Impact

How much of a contribution does this person make to the organization.

Problem Solving

How does this person approach challenges.

Communication

How well does this person interact with co-workers.

The exact mix of employee qualities that are featured in a review is dependent on what an organization identifies as an important input into their decision making process.

What kind of questions should you ask in a performance review?

There’s two ways to frame performance review questions:

Most review questions feature a Likert Scale that measures the attitudes and behaviors using answer choices that range from one extreme to another. Unlike a simple yes / no question, a Likert scale allows you to uncover degrees of opinion.

Example Likert Scale

Keep in mind...

While it may sound counterintuitive, it’s totally okay to have two different objectives and review styles in your review. For some review periods (i.e. annual reviews), you may want to gather information that will both help the employee (development) and the company (evaluation), and that’s fine! As long as you’re thinking critically about the structure of the review and know what information you want to gather ahead of time, you’re on the right track.

Performance Review Question Templates

Brief Development Focused Reviews

Designed to give employees feedback so they can continually get better throughout the year.

Quarterly

A quick way to provide feedback on your co-workers every few months.

  1. What are this person’s strengths?
  2. What’s something this person could improve on?

Lookback Outlook

Great for an end of year review.

  1. What did this person do well this year?
  2. What should this person do differently next year?
  3. What are your goals for the coming year?

Stop Start Continue

An easy framework for employees to provide simple feedback. Perfect for companies that hold performance reviews more frequently.

  1. What’s one thing this person should stop doing?
  2. What’s one thing this person should start doing?
  3. What’s one thing this person should continue doing?

Performance Potential Behavior

Simple way to look at the three critical dimensions of performance.

  1. To what degree did this person meet your expectations for their performance. Did they accomplish their goals?
  2. In what areas do you see the most potential for this person? How do you hope to see this person grow over the next 3-6 months?
  3. To what extent does this person embody our company values? Be as specific as you can.

Comprehensive Reviews: Self and Peer

Designed to evaluate performance and provide developmental feedback.

Self

For an employee to evaluate their own performance.

  1. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  2. To what extent did you meet your goals for the year?
  3. How well do you prioritize and manage your workload?
  4. How well do you listen to and communicate with others?
  5. What do you think you should do differently next year?
  6. Provide an example of one company value you brought to life and how

Peer

For employees to evaluate their colleague’s performance

  1. Does this employee effectively communicate with others?
  2. How effective of a leader is this person, either through direct management or influence?
  3. Does this person own the solution to problems? Are they proactive or reactive?
  4. How would you rate the quality of the employee’s work?
  5. How well does this person set and meet deadlines? How reasonable are their time estimates?
  6. How does this person stand up against the pillars of culture? What have been their successes? What are their challenges?
  7. If you could give this person one piece of constructive advice to make them more effective in their role, what would you say?

Comprehensive Reviews: Managers and Direct Reports

Designed to evaluate performance and provide developmental feedback.

Direct Report

For a manager to evaluate their direct report’s performance.

  1. What’s an area where you’ve seen this person excel?
  2. What’s an area you’d like to see this person improve?
  3. To what extent did this person meet their goals?
  4. How well does this person prioritize and manage their workload?
  5. How well does this person communicate with others?
  6. Provide an example of one company value this person brought to life

Manager

For an employee to evaluate their manager’s performance.

  1. Is your manager action-oriented? How well do they drive results? 2. Does your manager make your work better?
  2. Does your manager hold you and your peers accountable for producing quality work on time?
  3. How well does your manager support your professional and personal growth?
  4. Does your manager accept feedback? Does your manager communicate well?

Google's Manager Review

The survey itself is short. It's roughly a dozen statements with a Likert scale measuring if Googlers agree or disagree with the statements. Each statement is based on one of the eight behaviors of successful managers at Google.

  1. My manager gives me actionable feedback that helps me improve my performance.
  2. My manager does not "micromanage" (i.e., get involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
  3. My manager shows consideration for me as a person.
  4. The actions of my manager show that he/she values the perspective I bring to the team, even if it is different from his/her own.
  5. My manager keeps the team focused on our priority results/deliverables.
  6. My manager regularly shares relevant information from his/her manager and senior leaders.
  7. My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about career development in the past six months.
  8. My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
  9. My manager has the technical expertise (e.g., coding in Tech, selling in Global Business, accounting in Finance) required to effectively manage me.
  10. I would recommend my manager to other Googlers.
  11. I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.
  12. I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.

The Manager Feedback Survey also asks for confidential comments from Googlers:

  1. What would you recommend your manager keep doing?
  2. What would you have your manager change?

Deloitte's Employee Review

At the end of every project, or once a quarter if employees have long-term assignments, managers ask four questions that are rated on a five-point scale, from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree;" the second two have yes or no options:

  1. Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus.
  2. Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team.
  3. This person is at risk for low performance.
  4. This person is ready for promotion today.

Performance Review Question Bank

Questions for your next performance review organized by category.

Leadership

  • How effective of a leader is this person, either through direct management or influence?Does this person help improve the skills of the people around them?
  • How can this person improve their leadership?
  • What specific examples of leadership can you share?
  • Does this person make the people around them excited and happy to be here?

Culture/Values

  • Provide an example of one company value they brought to life and how
  • How does this person stand up against the pillars of culture? What have been their successes? What are their challenges?

Problem Solving

  • Does this person own the solution to problems? Are they proactive or reactive?
  • How well does this person illustrate new thinking/novel approaches to tough challenges?
  • Does this person come up with new ideas, fresh approaches, and innovative solutions in their work?

Communication

  • Does this employee effectively communicate with others?
  • Does the employee take direction and follow orders well?
  • How well does this person listen to others and communicate with clarity?
  • How well does this person give and receive feedback with others?
  • Does this person work well with other people?
  • How well does this person work on a team?
  • Provides clear, objective, timely and focused feedback to any direct reports, peers and managers.
  • How would you recommend this person improves their interpersonal skills?
  • How well does this person contribute to the overall success and function of the team?

Impact

  • What areas of impact did you have on your projects, your team or the organization?
  • How would you rate the quality of the employee’s work?
  • To what degree has this person demonstrated business impact?
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how effective do you think this person is in their role?
  • Is this person productive? Do they work quickly, while maintaining quality work product?

Project Management

  • How well does this person set and meet deadlines? How reasonable are their time estimates?
  • Is this person detail oriented?
  • How effectively does this person prioritize their workload?
  • Does this person effectively manage their time?
  • How timely is the employee about the completion of their work?
  • Is the employee capable of working independently with little to no supervision?

Career Development: Self Review

  • What can you improve?
  • What are your key strengths?
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  • What do you think you should do differently next year?
  • What do you want to accomplish in the coming year?
  • When you look back over your career, what do you want to have accomplished?
  • What do you want your next position at the company to be? What elements of your job do you find most difficult?
  • What elements of your job interest you the most, and the least?

Career Development: Peer Review

  • If you could give this person one piece of constructive advice to make them more effective in their role, what would you say?
  • Overall, what areas of focus do you think could most help this person grow in their career?

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Article
Performance Reviews

HR’s Guide to Performance Review Questions

How you structure performance review questions will have a significant impact on your next review cycle and the data you collect.

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Article
Performance Reviews

HR’s Guide to Performance Review Questions

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Before You Start: Questions to Ask Yourself

Performance reviews help companies collect data about employee performance. A successful review cycle will identify the top performers, the problem children, the good managers, the bad managers, the up and coming super stars, the underachievers, and more. If done correctly, the review cycle will highlight each employee’s strengths and weaknesses, while also providing some interesting trends around the overall company performance.

The data collected from the review will impact key business decisions over the next few quarters; employees will be promoted, fired, and placed in managerial roles based off this data. And just like any good data collection process, it starts by being thoughtful around the questions that you’re asking to make sure that you’re collecting the right data. This means thinking critically about the objective of the review, the overall structure and the particular questions that you’re asking participants.

Before running a review cycle, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What’s the objective?
  2. Who should participate?
  3. What should we measure?
  4. What kind of questions?

What's the objective of a performance review?

There's two common objectives for performance reviews. Yours can include one or both

Evaluation

The objective is to assess the employee’s performance over a certain period of time to make key business decisions. Typically, these decisions include things like whether this person should get promoted, whether the employee deserves a raise, and the employee’s overall status within the company. These types of reviews are for the company to gather important information about the employee and typically happen 1-2 times per year.

Development

The objective is to provide employees with feedback to highlight how they can improve. At the end of this review, employees know what they need to work on and what steps they need to take to be successful. These types of reviews are for the employee’s benefit, and ideally happen 2-4 times per year.

Who should participate in a performance review?

Depending on your objective, decide who should be participating in this cycle.


Employee (Self)

An employee reflects on how they’ve performed, and shares what they want to accomplish at the company and their broader career.

Peer

Colleagues highlight the strengths and weakness of an employee’s performance over a certain period of time.

Manager

Direct reports analyze how their boss is performing both for the business and for the direct report’s career.

What should you measure in a performance review?

Before drafting review questions, start by selecting the broader category of employee qualities that you want to measure. There’s a number of different aspects of an employee’s work life that you can collect data around, for example:

Leadership

How well does an employee manage other people and motivate a group of individuals.

Project Management

How does this person approach completing their work product.

Culture

How well does this person reflect the company values.

Career Development

What can this person do to improve their work product and interactions at the company.

Impact

How much of a contribution does this person make to the organization.

Problem Solving

How does this person approach challenges.

Communication

How well does this person interact with co-workers.

The exact mix of employee qualities that are featured in a review is dependent on what an organization identifies as an important input into their decision making process.

What kind of questions should you ask in a performance review?

There’s two ways to frame performance review questions:

Most review questions feature a Likert Scale that measures the attitudes and behaviors using answer choices that range from one extreme to another. Unlike a simple yes / no question, a Likert scale allows you to uncover degrees of opinion.

Example Likert Scale

Keep in mind...

While it may sound counterintuitive, it’s totally okay to have two different objectives and review styles in your review. For some review periods (i.e. annual reviews), you may want to gather information that will both help the employee (development) and the company (evaluation), and that’s fine! As long as you’re thinking critically about the structure of the review and know what information you want to gather ahead of time, you’re on the right track.

Performance Review Question Templates

Brief Development Focused Reviews

Designed to give employees feedback so they can continually get better throughout the year.

Quarterly

A quick way to provide feedback on your co-workers every few months.

  1. What are this person’s strengths?
  2. What’s something this person could improve on?

Lookback Outlook

Great for an end of year review.

  1. What did this person do well this year?
  2. What should this person do differently next year?
  3. What are your goals for the coming year?

Stop Start Continue

An easy framework for employees to provide simple feedback. Perfect for companies that hold performance reviews more frequently.

  1. What’s one thing this person should stop doing?
  2. What’s one thing this person should start doing?
  3. What’s one thing this person should continue doing?

Performance Potential Behavior

Simple way to look at the three critical dimensions of performance.

  1. To what degree did this person meet your expectations for their performance. Did they accomplish their goals?
  2. In what areas do you see the most potential for this person? How do you hope to see this person grow over the next 3-6 months?
  3. To what extent does this person embody our company values? Be as specific as you can.

Comprehensive Reviews: Self and Peer

Designed to evaluate performance and provide developmental feedback.

Self

For an employee to evaluate their own performance.

  1. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  2. To what extent did you meet your goals for the year?
  3. How well do you prioritize and manage your workload?
  4. How well do you listen to and communicate with others?
  5. What do you think you should do differently next year?
  6. Provide an example of one company value you brought to life and how

Peer

For employees to evaluate their colleague’s performance

  1. Does this employee effectively communicate with others?
  2. How effective of a leader is this person, either through direct management or influence?
  3. Does this person own the solution to problems? Are they proactive or reactive?
  4. How would you rate the quality of the employee’s work?
  5. How well does this person set and meet deadlines? How reasonable are their time estimates?
  6. How does this person stand up against the pillars of culture? What have been their successes? What are their challenges?
  7. If you could give this person one piece of constructive advice to make them more effective in their role, what would you say?

Comprehensive Reviews: Managers and Direct Reports

Designed to evaluate performance and provide developmental feedback.

Direct Report

For a manager to evaluate their direct report’s performance.

  1. What’s an area where you’ve seen this person excel?
  2. What’s an area you’d like to see this person improve?
  3. To what extent did this person meet their goals?
  4. How well does this person prioritize and manage their workload?
  5. How well does this person communicate with others?
  6. Provide an example of one company value this person brought to life

Manager

For an employee to evaluate their manager’s performance.

  1. Is your manager action-oriented? How well do they drive results? 2. Does your manager make your work better?
  2. Does your manager hold you and your peers accountable for producing quality work on time?
  3. How well does your manager support your professional and personal growth?
  4. Does your manager accept feedback? Does your manager communicate well?

Google's Manager Review

The survey itself is short. It's roughly a dozen statements with a Likert scale measuring if Googlers agree or disagree with the statements. Each statement is based on one of the eight behaviors of successful managers at Google.

  1. My manager gives me actionable feedback that helps me improve my performance.
  2. My manager does not "micromanage" (i.e., get involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
  3. My manager shows consideration for me as a person.
  4. The actions of my manager show that he/she values the perspective I bring to the team, even if it is different from his/her own.
  5. My manager keeps the team focused on our priority results/deliverables.
  6. My manager regularly shares relevant information from his/her manager and senior leaders.
  7. My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about career development in the past six months.
  8. My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
  9. My manager has the technical expertise (e.g., coding in Tech, selling in Global Business, accounting in Finance) required to effectively manage me.
  10. I would recommend my manager to other Googlers.
  11. I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.
  12. I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.

The Manager Feedback Survey also asks for confidential comments from Googlers:

  1. What would you recommend your manager keep doing?
  2. What would you have your manager change?

Deloitte's Employee Review

At the end of every project, or once a quarter if employees have long-term assignments, managers ask four questions that are rated on a five-point scale, from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree;" the second two have yes or no options:

  1. Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus.
  2. Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team.
  3. This person is at risk for low performance.
  4. This person is ready for promotion today.

Performance Review Question Bank

Questions for your next performance review organized by category.

Leadership

  • How effective of a leader is this person, either through direct management or influence?Does this person help improve the skills of the people around them?
  • How can this person improve their leadership?
  • What specific examples of leadership can you share?
  • Does this person make the people around them excited and happy to be here?

Culture/Values

  • Provide an example of one company value they brought to life and how
  • How does this person stand up against the pillars of culture? What have been their successes? What are their challenges?

Problem Solving

  • Does this person own the solution to problems? Are they proactive or reactive?
  • How well does this person illustrate new thinking/novel approaches to tough challenges?
  • Does this person come up with new ideas, fresh approaches, and innovative solutions in their work?

Communication

  • Does this employee effectively communicate with others?
  • Does the employee take direction and follow orders well?
  • How well does this person listen to others and communicate with clarity?
  • How well does this person give and receive feedback with others?
  • Does this person work well with other people?
  • How well does this person work on a team?
  • Provides clear, objective, timely and focused feedback to any direct reports, peers and managers.
  • How would you recommend this person improves their interpersonal skills?
  • How well does this person contribute to the overall success and function of the team?

Impact

  • What areas of impact did you have on your projects, your team or the organization?
  • How would you rate the quality of the employee’s work?
  • To what degree has this person demonstrated business impact?
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how effective do you think this person is in their role?
  • Is this person productive? Do they work quickly, while maintaining quality work product?

Project Management

  • How well does this person set and meet deadlines? How reasonable are their time estimates?
  • Is this person detail oriented?
  • How effectively does this person prioritize their workload?
  • Does this person effectively manage their time?
  • How timely is the employee about the completion of their work?
  • Is the employee capable of working independently with little to no supervision?

Career Development: Self Review

  • What can you improve?
  • What are your key strengths?
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  • What do you think you should do differently next year?
  • What do you want to accomplish in the coming year?
  • When you look back over your career, what do you want to have accomplished?
  • What do you want your next position at the company to be? What elements of your job do you find most difficult?
  • What elements of your job interest you the most, and the least?

Career Development: Peer Review

  • If you could give this person one piece of constructive advice to make them more effective in their role, what would you say?
  • Overall, what areas of focus do you think could most help this person grow in their career?
Article
Performance Reviews

HR’s Guide to Performance Review Questions

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Before You Start: Questions to Ask Yourself

Performance reviews help companies collect data about employee performance. A successful review cycle will identify the top performers, the problem children, the good managers, the bad managers, the up and coming super stars, the underachievers, and more. If done correctly, the review cycle will highlight each employee’s strengths and weaknesses, while also providing some interesting trends around the overall company performance.

The data collected from the review will impact key business decisions over the next few quarters; employees will be promoted, fired, and placed in managerial roles based off this data. And just like any good data collection process, it starts by being thoughtful around the questions that you’re asking to make sure that you’re collecting the right data. This means thinking critically about the objective of the review, the overall structure and the particular questions that you’re asking participants.

Before running a review cycle, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. What’s the objective?
  2. Who should participate?
  3. What should we measure?
  4. What kind of questions?

What's the objective of a performance review?

There's two common objectives for performance reviews. Yours can include one or both

Evaluation

The objective is to assess the employee’s performance over a certain period of time to make key business decisions. Typically, these decisions include things like whether this person should get promoted, whether the employee deserves a raise, and the employee’s overall status within the company. These types of reviews are for the company to gather important information about the employee and typically happen 1-2 times per year.

Development

The objective is to provide employees with feedback to highlight how they can improve. At the end of this review, employees know what they need to work on and what steps they need to take to be successful. These types of reviews are for the employee’s benefit, and ideally happen 2-4 times per year.

Who should participate in a performance review?

Depending on your objective, decide who should be participating in this cycle.


Employee (Self)

An employee reflects on how they’ve performed, and shares what they want to accomplish at the company and their broader career.

Peer

Colleagues highlight the strengths and weakness of an employee’s performance over a certain period of time.

Manager

Direct reports analyze how their boss is performing both for the business and for the direct report’s career.

What should you measure in a performance review?

Before drafting review questions, start by selecting the broader category of employee qualities that you want to measure. There’s a number of different aspects of an employee’s work life that you can collect data around, for example:

Leadership

How well does an employee manage other people and motivate a group of individuals.

Project Management

How does this person approach completing their work product.

Culture

How well does this person reflect the company values.

Career Development

What can this person do to improve their work product and interactions at the company.

Impact

How much of a contribution does this person make to the organization.

Problem Solving

How does this person approach challenges.

Communication

How well does this person interact with co-workers.

The exact mix of employee qualities that are featured in a review is dependent on what an organization identifies as an important input into their decision making process.

What kind of questions should you ask in a performance review?

There’s two ways to frame performance review questions:

Most review questions feature a Likert Scale that measures the attitudes and behaviors using answer choices that range from one extreme to another. Unlike a simple yes / no question, a Likert scale allows you to uncover degrees of opinion.

Example Likert Scale

Keep in mind...

While it may sound counterintuitive, it’s totally okay to have two different objectives and review styles in your review. For some review periods (i.e. annual reviews), you may want to gather information that will both help the employee (development) and the company (evaluation), and that’s fine! As long as you’re thinking critically about the structure of the review and know what information you want to gather ahead of time, you’re on the right track.

Performance Review Question Templates

Brief Development Focused Reviews

Designed to give employees feedback so they can continually get better throughout the year.

Quarterly

A quick way to provide feedback on your co-workers every few months.

  1. What are this person’s strengths?
  2. What’s something this person could improve on?

Lookback Outlook

Great for an end of year review.

  1. What did this person do well this year?
  2. What should this person do differently next year?
  3. What are your goals for the coming year?

Stop Start Continue

An easy framework for employees to provide simple feedback. Perfect for companies that hold performance reviews more frequently.

  1. What’s one thing this person should stop doing?
  2. What’s one thing this person should start doing?
  3. What’s one thing this person should continue doing?

Performance Potential Behavior

Simple way to look at the three critical dimensions of performance.

  1. To what degree did this person meet your expectations for their performance. Did they accomplish their goals?
  2. In what areas do you see the most potential for this person? How do you hope to see this person grow over the next 3-6 months?
  3. To what extent does this person embody our company values? Be as specific as you can.

Comprehensive Reviews: Self and Peer

Designed to evaluate performance and provide developmental feedback.

Self

For an employee to evaluate their own performance.

  1. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  2. To what extent did you meet your goals for the year?
  3. How well do you prioritize and manage your workload?
  4. How well do you listen to and communicate with others?
  5. What do you think you should do differently next year?
  6. Provide an example of one company value you brought to life and how

Peer

For employees to evaluate their colleague’s performance

  1. Does this employee effectively communicate with others?
  2. How effective of a leader is this person, either through direct management or influence?
  3. Does this person own the solution to problems? Are they proactive or reactive?
  4. How would you rate the quality of the employee’s work?
  5. How well does this person set and meet deadlines? How reasonable are their time estimates?
  6. How does this person stand up against the pillars of culture? What have been their successes? What are their challenges?
  7. If you could give this person one piece of constructive advice to make them more effective in their role, what would you say?

Comprehensive Reviews: Managers and Direct Reports

Designed to evaluate performance and provide developmental feedback.

Direct Report

For a manager to evaluate their direct report’s performance.

  1. What’s an area where you’ve seen this person excel?
  2. What’s an area you’d like to see this person improve?
  3. To what extent did this person meet their goals?
  4. How well does this person prioritize and manage their workload?
  5. How well does this person communicate with others?
  6. Provide an example of one company value this person brought to life

Manager

For an employee to evaluate their manager’s performance.

  1. Is your manager action-oriented? How well do they drive results? 2. Does your manager make your work better?
  2. Does your manager hold you and your peers accountable for producing quality work on time?
  3. How well does your manager support your professional and personal growth?
  4. Does your manager accept feedback? Does your manager communicate well?

Google's Manager Review

The survey itself is short. It's roughly a dozen statements with a Likert scale measuring if Googlers agree or disagree with the statements. Each statement is based on one of the eight behaviors of successful managers at Google.

  1. My manager gives me actionable feedback that helps me improve my performance.
  2. My manager does not "micromanage" (i.e., get involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
  3. My manager shows consideration for me as a person.
  4. The actions of my manager show that he/she values the perspective I bring to the team, even if it is different from his/her own.
  5. My manager keeps the team focused on our priority results/deliverables.
  6. My manager regularly shares relevant information from his/her manager and senior leaders.
  7. My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about career development in the past six months.
  8. My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
  9. My manager has the technical expertise (e.g., coding in Tech, selling in Global Business, accounting in Finance) required to effectively manage me.
  10. I would recommend my manager to other Googlers.
  11. I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.
  12. I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.

The Manager Feedback Survey also asks for confidential comments from Googlers:

  1. What would you recommend your manager keep doing?
  2. What would you have your manager change?

Deloitte's Employee Review

At the end of every project, or once a quarter if employees have long-term assignments, managers ask four questions that are rated on a five-point scale, from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree;" the second two have yes or no options:

  1. Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus.
  2. Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team.
  3. This person is at risk for low performance.
  4. This person is ready for promotion today.

Performance Review Question Bank

Questions for your next performance review organized by category.

Leadership

  • How effective of a leader is this person, either through direct management or influence?Does this person help improve the skills of the people around them?
  • How can this person improve their leadership?
  • What specific examples of leadership can you share?
  • Does this person make the people around them excited and happy to be here?

Culture/Values

  • Provide an example of one company value they brought to life and how
  • How does this person stand up against the pillars of culture? What have been their successes? What are their challenges?

Problem Solving

  • Does this person own the solution to problems? Are they proactive or reactive?
  • How well does this person illustrate new thinking/novel approaches to tough challenges?
  • Does this person come up with new ideas, fresh approaches, and innovative solutions in their work?

Communication

  • Does this employee effectively communicate with others?
  • Does the employee take direction and follow orders well?
  • How well does this person listen to others and communicate with clarity?
  • How well does this person give and receive feedback with others?
  • Does this person work well with other people?
  • How well does this person work on a team?
  • Provides clear, objective, timely and focused feedback to any direct reports, peers and managers.
  • How would you recommend this person improves their interpersonal skills?
  • How well does this person contribute to the overall success and function of the team?

Impact

  • What areas of impact did you have on your projects, your team or the organization?
  • How would you rate the quality of the employee’s work?
  • To what degree has this person demonstrated business impact?
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how effective do you think this person is in their role?
  • Is this person productive? Do they work quickly, while maintaining quality work product?

Project Management

  • How well does this person set and meet deadlines? How reasonable are their time estimates?
  • Is this person detail oriented?
  • How effectively does this person prioritize their workload?
  • Does this person effectively manage their time?
  • How timely is the employee about the completion of their work?
  • Is the employee capable of working independently with little to no supervision?

Career Development: Self Review

  • What can you improve?
  • What are your key strengths?
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of?
  • What do you think you should do differently next year?
  • What do you want to accomplish in the coming year?
  • When you look back over your career, what do you want to have accomplished?
  • What do you want your next position at the company to be? What elements of your job do you find most difficult?
  • What elements of your job interest you the most, and the least?

Career Development: Peer Review

  • If you could give this person one piece of constructive advice to make them more effective in their role, what would you say?
  • Overall, what areas of focus do you think could most help this person grow in their career?