Key Questions Every Manager Should Ask in Employee Reviews

August 19, 2023
Key Questions Every Manager Should Ask in Employee Reviews

Employee reviews. A time when managers can find themselves intimidated with what questions to ask, and how to deliver meaningful feedback. Sure, while the idea is to assess an employee’s performance, identify areas for improvement and set goals for the future — the objective of these meetings is flooded with intention and purpose. And as a manager, to maximize the productivity and meaningfulness derived from these one-on-ones, you need to ask the right questions. That’s why we’ve rounded up the essential questions you should ask during employee reviews.

1. What have you achieved this year that you’re proud of?

The best way to put both parties at ease during the annual review? Starting off on a positive note. By asking this question, you’re able to shine a light on the employee’s strengths and provide validation for their hard work. Plus, this will help you when it comes to highlighting contributions toward the organization’s overall goals.

2. What were the biggest hurdles you faced this year?

Equally important to discussing accomplishments: recognizing challenges within your team. Likely you’re already aware of the key obstacles your team members have faced throughout the year, but utilize this as an opportunity to follow up. Ask the employee how they managed to overcome this challenge and if they would do anything differently. By encouraging employees to reflect on their problem-solving abilities, you can lead them to insights on how to tackle future obstacles. It also provides visibility into the challenges your team is facing, which better equips you in helping your team avoid those hurdles in the coming year.

3. What professional skills would you like to develop? How can I support you in this?

According to a Gallup survey, 61% of American workers say upskilling opportunities are an important reason to stay at their job, and 48% of workers would switch to a new job if offered skills training opportunities. So, consider this question important in the eyes of employee retention. Specifically, this question demonstrates your interest in the employee’s professional growth and shows that the organization is committed to helping them advance their career.

4. What are your goals for the upcoming year?

As a birds-eye-view type of follow-up to the previous question, ask your team members what their short- and long-term career goals are. Take time to consider if the skills they’re interested in developing align with the goals they share. If not, make recommendations for specific skills and focus areas to help them reach these goals.

5. What feedback do you have?

While the primary goal of the review is for you to provide feedback to your team members, it’s also crucial to allow time for your employee to share their own feedback with you. Often, there aren’t many organic opportunities for the employee to do so. By asking if they have any opinions or concerns, you’re demonstrating that you’re open to receiving input and are committed to improving the work culture.

Employee reviews are a crucial aspect of being a people leader — but they don’t have to be intimidating. By asking the right questions, you can ensure that employees feel valued, acknowledged and motivated to continuously improve. For more insights, check out our 2023 Q3 Accounting and Finance Employment Report.

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