Learn how to turn your performance reviews into productive, two-way conversations with these three critical questions.
Do you feel stressed out when your performance review time rolls around?
Your review doesn’t have to be a one-way audit of your performance over the past few months – it should be a two-way conversation where you get to ask questions (and make requests!).
Not only will asking thoughtful, relevant questions set you up for success in your role, but your conversation with your manager will also result in better, more relevant feedback.
During your performance conversations, get clarity by asking your manager these three key questions:
1. What are the overall goals, challenges, and priorities of the organization as a whole (and your part of the organization, in particular)?
Once you know the answer to this question, you can understand the bigger picture. Then you can work with your manager to agree on the individual goals you should focus on and the supporting activities you should prioritize under each of those goals.
Ask your manager to work with you to set up goals that are SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound) to give you the best chance for success.
During this part of the review, clarify how you should be measuring your performance and what key results and milestones you are aiming for. The more specific and clear you are, the more likely it is that you will be able to reach your goals (or ask for help or support in the future if you don't feel like you're on track to reach them).
2. How can the organization help me improve and/or support me in reaching my goals?
Conversations about professional development are a critical part of any performance review. Ask about additional knowledge or skills that could make you more effective in your role.
Are there resources like training, development, or coaching that could help you improve? This is the perfect place in your review to explore your strengths (and how you could leverage them better), as well as any weaknesses and how to best address them.
3. What does my future look like with this organization?
This part of the conversation is where you explore opportunities for you to develop and grow within the company and advocate for yourself, so you are supported in that journey. Consider asking questions like:
- Are there opportunities for me to grow, either inside your current team or beyond it?
- Are there future changes to the company or overall business trends that I should be aware of?
- Where do I fit into any future plans?
- What should be the next step in my career?
With these questions in mind before you go into your next performance review, you’ll be well prepared to have a productive and positive conversation that will help you execute on your goals and feel good about the direction you’re headed in your career.