To be truly effective, performance reviews need to provide an open dialogue for discussion between the employee and the employer. Now, employers must be realistic, employees are not going to be 100% honest with you about EVERYTHING they are feeling for obvious reasons. Most don't want to say anything negative out of fear of being fired! This is a legitimate fear and many states in America have adopted "At will" employment policies which essentially allow employment to be terminated without a reason (provided it was NOT based on race, religion, gender, etc.)
Since you are not likely to get an employee to bare their soul in a performance review, it's best to ask questions that will help you gauge how a person feels about the organization.
I've put together some that should help.
All are ranked from 1 - 4 with 1 being the lowest aka the worst ranking.12 34
UNSOLICITED ADVICE: Employers/Supervisors, please don't take offense or become visibly upset about any of the answers employees give you. Doing so will prevent them from ever opening up to you.
These questions may be uncomfortable but they can provide you with invaluable insight into your company's culture. A business owners, we see our companies through a completely different lens than our employees do. Stressed people do not work well.
In addition to the probing Employer/Supervisor/company culture questions, I've thrown together some Employee specific questions in the template below. These questions are geared towards letting the employee know exactly how they are performing in key areas and what they can do to either 1) get better at their job or 2) move up in the ranks. Outlining a clear path forward not only motivates an employee it also enables the employee to focus on goals and deliverables.
Feel free to download and modify, there is no need to pay anything, the only thing I ask is that you use the template to foster a stronger relationship with your employees.