While performance reviews are typically designed to provide feedback on your work through the year, it is important to remember that it is a two way conversation. Many employees do not get a chance to sit down with their managers and discuss their performance often or show their commitment to the success of the company. This is why being a passive participant during the review should be the last thing on your mind. A performance review is, in fact, the best time to be proactive and utilize the interaction to your advantage.

here are five questions to ask your manager during the review

1. what went well in the review period and what could have been done better?

Take the lead here if your boss doesn’t. Prod him/her to give you honest feedback on the positive as well as negative side of your performance. Ask for specific examples where you might have faltered and tips on what you should avoid in the future, how to better time your actions. At Accenture, for instance, the performance management approach has been replaced with a performance achievement philosophy. Employees and managers engage in real-time, forward-looking conversations about setting priorities, growing strengths, and creating rewarding career opportunities.

2. what additional skills do I need?

This question will force your manager to think hard about your performance and growth areas. At the same time, it conveys your seriousness towards career progression. After your manager lists the skills he/she feels you need, you may add your own and draw a comprehensive list. You can then ask for advice on what courses to take, whether the organization will help you get up-skilled or re-skilled, etc.

3. what should my future goals be?

It’s important to be on the same page as your boss in terms of what you should be looking to accomplish in the short, mid, and long-term. It’s helpful to create your own list of goals before going into the review and then asking your boss to add/delete from that list. Having a clear set of goals will also help streamline your next performance review – you can add specific achievements and milestones against each and make a solid case to sell yourself better. Don’t forget to ask how much autonomy you have in achieving these goals – it will give you an idea of how much your manager trusts you. Google is well known for following an (Objective &Key Results) OKR system that encourages employees to set their own goals and quantifiable results.  

4. what new challenges is the organization looking to tackle this year?

This demonstrates that you are interested in the bigger picture and are eager to contribute in any capacity to help steer the organization forward. What’s more, your manager’s answer will give you an insight into the industry trends, patterns, and challenges as a whole, helping you stay relevant in today’s fast-changing business environment.   

5. what other people should I get feedback from?

While at most organizations it is the immediate boss’ duty to handle performance reviews of those who report to him/her, as an employee, it is a good idea for you to get diverse feedback – from peers,  managers of other teams, and so on. According to a PwC survey, about 45% of employees value feedback from their peers and clients or customers, but less than 30% actually receive it.

tell your manager what makes you happy

While every performance review covers some standard questions, as an employee, it is a good time to tell your manager what you really want from work and life. This will help the manager see how he/she or the company can help you achieve those things and create a win-win situation for all. On the other hand, if your manager happens to ask you “What can I do to make you happier?” consider yourself lucky. You have found a company that cares about you and your development!