When it’s time for your performance review, do you feel like you’re about to walk into the headmaster’s office? If so, then you should realise that performance reviews aren’t all about your manager critiquing or praising you. You should also ask meaningful questions that will help you improve your skills and increase your value to the company.

Performance reviews don’t come around that often, so you should strive to get as much out of them as you can. Consider asking the following questions in your next performance review:

What skills do I need to improve to become more effective in my role?

Managers appreciate employees who are constantly looking to improve themselves and expand their skill sets. In the fast-paced world of work, being flexible and adaptable to change is a highly-valued attribute. As your manager knows what skills are needed, he or she will be able to suggest relevant training opportunities or courses that would be beneficial to you. This question is also a great opener for going into a more in-depth discussion about professional development and career growth, including whether your company would be willing to sponsor any of your training.

What are the company’s goals and challenges for the year ahead?

In performance reviews, the focus tends to be solely on you – the employee. Often, managers don’t speak about the company’s goals, and this shouldn’t be the case. As an employee, you need to have a clear idea of the company’s direction so that, within your role, you can make your own contribution to the cause. There may also be various challenges that your company is facing, or expects to face in the future. By finding out what these challenges are, you will be able to better assess how to become more valuable to the company. In addition, by asking this question you will show your manager that you care about the company you work for and that you are passionate about assisting where you can.

What do you see for me in terms of career growth?

This question allows you to gauge what your manager sees for you in the future in terms of your growth within the company. The answer could provide some assurance that you’re valued, and even give you some direction if you were slightly unsure about your goals. It could also prompt your manager to consider offering you additional opportunities to grow your career.

What are the timelines for possible raises and promotions, and what can I do to achieve these?

Speaking about raises and promotions can be awkward, but you’re entitled to ask about these, and your manager will understand this. It’s important that you ask the question in the right way, by enquiring about the steps and actions you need to take to get that salary increase or promotion. This shows your boss that you’re willing to work harder and become an increasingly valuable employee of the company.

How can I be more valuable to the rest of the team?

In the modern workplace, teamwork is a vital competitive asset. By asking this question, you show that you’re eager to be a team player, helping other colleagues where you can and working with them to achieve company goals. You’re also showing some initiative and leadership qualities, which your manager will appreciate.

How can I improve the areas I scored lower in?

You should always be working on your weaknesses. If you scored lower in some areas of your performance review, ask your manager for some suggestions on how you can improve these areas.  Pay special attention to these areas, so that you can ace your next performance review!
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