It can be a nerve-wracking time of year. The annual Performance Review. If you find yourself dreading the inevitable, it’s time to take a quick look at why that is. If you are content in your job, and dedicated to delivering a consistent performance, this should be your time to shine. Even if you’ve had some off days, or didn’t hit every quota you were aiming for, it’s important to come into your review with a positive, convicted attitude.
Why Do Companies Use Performance Reviews
Most companies have a regular performance review process. Believe it not, this is a good thing! It shows that your employer is well-organised, forward-thinking, and improvement-oriented. Those are all positive attributes in an employer.
Companies also use performance reviews as a way to address different types of problems, before they can become troublesome for the organisation. This is a good chance to grow as an organisation, bringing to light any problems or opportunities that don’t come up in the course of regular business meetings.
Why you should want a performance review
An ongoing performance review process also gives you, as an employee, a better opportunity to learn and grow, professionally. A well documented performance review, especially over the course of years, can highlight your strengths, document your professional growth, and provide a roadmap for how you can improve yourself, and your future employment prospects. The knowledge gained from these reviews is an important resource in your career toolbox.
If the company you work for doesn’t offer a formal performance review process, you should ask for one to be implemented. This will show your initiative, desire to improve, and forethought. Perhaps you could even spearhead the initiative!
Preparing for Your Performance Review or Appraisal
One of the main reasons that people get anxious before their review or appraisal, is that they are not prepared for it. It’s easy to view this type of meeting as something that happens to you, without your input. You sit passively by while someone else reviews your hard work, and passes judgement. But it doesn’t have to be like that—and seldom is.
Remember that this is an adult-to-adult conversation. You’re a respected member of the organisation, and they hired you for a reason. So, before you get anxious, make a plan.
How do you want the review to go?
It’s a common response to avoid the things that make us uncomfortable. But it doesn’t generally help the situation. In the weeks leading up to your review, it’s ok to think about it. Start thinking about how you want this review to go. What do you want to discuss?
Once you’ve thought about what you want to discuss, do some research. Look back at your key successes from the past year. What have you accomplished that was impressive, useful, or innovative? Have you taken on extra projects or expanded responsibilities? Document these things—write them down and bring them with you, so that you don’t forget to bring them up.
You’ll also want to think about what feedback you’ve received from others throughout the year. Have you responded to feedback by adjusting or making changes? Have you been given positive feedback on certain aspects of your work? Note these down as well.
Your review is also an opportunity to voice your desires, and your plans. Think about where you want to go in the future, and how you plan to get there. When your supervisor asks what your goals are, you should be prepared with at least one answer. Goals that are related to the bottom line of the organisation are good to keep in mind, but personal goals are always respected by good supervisors. Do you have a new skill set you want to learn? Are you hoping to expand your responsibilities? Move into a new role or position? Think about the steps you want to take to be able to do those things, and be prepared to discuss them. Let them know—you’ve got big plans!
You should also be prepared for the downside though. Do a critical skills audit, and figure out where you have been lacking. Everyone has areas that they need to work on—it’s not something to hide from. If you approach these areas as opportunities rather than weaknesses, you can frame the entire conversation in a new light. What skills do you need to build? How might you accomplish that? What support would you need? Be prepared to discuss these.
Finally, be prepared to receive critical feedback, and respond to it. Make sure you understand the feedback. Ask for specific examples. Be sure to understand why your supervisor is giving this feedback as well. If it isn’t something that they have observed directly, it may be a bit more complicated than they understand—but having this information could help you improve, or navigate potentially difficult situations in the future.
If you’re still anxious, and looking for one-on-one help, get in touch today!