9 questions managers may not be asking in performance reviews - but should be

by Nicky Budd-Thanos, on July 1, 2019

When you search for performance review questions online, chances are you’ll find plenty of resources for employees on the questions they should be asking their managers. However, it’s equally important for management to have a thoughtful list of questions for their employees to ensure mutual benefits from this incredibly important process.

A conversation between management and front line should never be a one-way street, and performance reviews are a valuable way for management to gauge employee morale and learn what’s working properly - and what’s not - in the company. Read on for our top nine questions to include when touching base with your employees:

1. How do you feel you’ve performed since your last review?
Give your employees the chance to tell you what they’ve accomplished and how they’ve grown since their last review. Understand that they might be nervous to brag about how they’ve done, so try to read between the lines and prompt them to tell you more.

It’ll be worth the effort, since they may mention things that you were unaware of that should be factored into their performance rating. Ask them about any struggles they’ve faced and how they overcame them. A balanced picture will help you accurately evaluate your employees.

2. Do you have any feedback for me?
Even though your employees are the ones being formally reviewed, you should ask if there’s anything they’d like to tell you or the greater management team. Make sure that you’ve fostered an environment where they feel comfortable expressing honest feedback. What they say won’t do you any good unless it’s the truth. If they can’t come up with anything on the spot, give them the opportunity to take a few days to think and come back to you with any concerns or comments.

3. Are you having any issues with co-workers?
Since it can often feel as though management is a step removed, co-worker relationships and workplace politics may not be something that you’re too familiar with. The dynamic is usually harmless, but it’s necessary to ask and can give incredible insight into why some shifts or combinations of your employees are more successful than others.

An employee may be uncomfortable bringing up a problem with a co-worker on their own, but if you ask and make it clear that this is a safe, confidential environment, they may open up. Make sure you allay any concerns they may have over retaliation and what you will be doing with this information.

4. What are your short-term and long-term goals?
Companies generally set goals for their employees, but workers should have their own goals, too. As the management, you should know what they are so you can better help your employees achieve them and make it clear that you’re invested in their progress and success as well. One may have their sights set on becoming a supervisor, while another would like to cross-train on a different section of the store or restaurant — but you would never know those things without asking them. Goal-setting is most effective when both parties are consulted and working together. Once you know their goals, make a point to discuss how they’re progressing during their next review.

5. Would you change anything about your scheduling?
Shift workers might find it difficult to get in touch with their co-workers when they need someone to cover them, and and it can be hard to keep track of the changing schedules. Take this feedback into account and try to find ways to improve the system.

One fix you might want to consider is using an online app like Crew. When each employee is connected by their smartphone (without having to share their personal contact information), team scheduling and communication gets a lot easier. Managers can even send messages directly to all of their employees with only a few clicks, making Crew an invaluable communication tool.

6. Can you think of ways that we can be more efficient?
Your employees are the ones carrying out the processes you’ve established. This is your chance to get an idea of how effective they actually are. Don’t get defensive if they say something needs some work - this is a real opportunity to implement improvements.

The company will be better off when it’s running as smoothly as possible and making sure that all employees’ voices are heard. Accepting your workers’ input will likely empower your employees, too, as they see that their opinions are useful to the company.

7. Do you have any ideas for improving customer satisfaction?
Your employees are the ones interacting with customers on a daily basis, so they know better than anyone what makes them happy. Because increasing customer satisfaction is an important goal, it’s worth hearing everyone’s ideas for how to do so. Your employees can also give you valuable feedback about customers’ habits that may not be captured by metrics, such as how they respond to certain deals and promotions.

8. Do you need any more training?
Some employees may be reluctant to ask for training in areas where they need help, but it can be easier for them to accept if you bring it up first. Training opportunities can also apply to employees who would like to cross-train for a different role. When everyone is trained properly, the company runs more efficiently.

9. Do you have any questions for me?
While the dialogue between managers and employees should be open and ongoing, shyer employees might need a nudge to share. Open the conversation by asking if they have any questions around company policies (like your time-off policy) or anything similar. Encourage your employees to share their concerns, ask questions and ultimately, build trust.

Performance reviews can be a stressful time for employees, so be mindful of that when you’re talking with them. If they’re not as responsive as you would like, it may be a sign that management needs to focus on building a culture with employees. Learn about how to build culture from Crew customer United PF, the largest Planet Fitness franchisee who has seen tremendous success in building culture across 150+ locations.

Once trust and an open culture has been established, the above performance review questions will be a practical way of assessing your employees, customers, and overall business.

Topics:Best PracticesEmployee EngagementInternal Communications