How to Approach your Next Performance Review
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
When conducted properly, an annual performance review can provide a valuable exchange that can lead to professional growth. However, a poorly managed evaluation can result in frustration, damaged work relationships and reduced morale. Follow these 6 tips to make sure you are prepared for your next performance review and are ready to capitalize on this important discussion with your boss.
Know and document your goals. The first step to having a positive evaluation is by understanding what is expected of you. Review your job description and ensure you have updated goals in place with your manager. Every goal should be time-sensitive and measurable so a productive review conversation can be conducted.
Have regular one-one-one meetings with your boss. Annual performance reviews shouldn’t provide surprises. Keep your goals front and center and check in with your boss frequently during the year. This will allow you to discuss your progress toward your goals and to make any needed changes to allow you to stay on course.
Document your accomplishments and the ways you add value. Take a methodical approach to writing down your career accomplishments throughout the year. Take 30 minutes at the end of each week to document “wins” in a simple word document. Be specific and add any needed details such as sales stats, sponsorships gained, outreach impressions, and even how you add value as a supportive team member. Having this growing list on hand help you avoid scrambling right before your performance review.
Ask for needed support. No one can accomplish all of their goals without the support of others so make sure you speak up when help is needed. Internal or external mentors, coworkers or your supervisor can all lend a hand assisting you through a difficult project by lending their expertise or helping you see a different way to approach a project. This is especially valid if you find your annual goals are veering off course. Realign for successfully accomplishing your goals well before you draw near to your performance review.
Accept constructive criticism. What you do well is icing on the cake of your career. How you really learn and grow is by obtaining constructive feedback from your boss, mentors and other leaders. If you receive negative criticism, resist the urge to explain your actions or get defensive. Ask instead about the steps you can take to improve, then stay quiet, listen and ensure you have a clear understanding of how to move forward.
Be grateful for the conversation. Some individuals have gone through years of work life without an evaluation, or their boss has taken the abbreviated, “you’re doing fine” approach. While this may be an easy way out of a sometimes-uncomfortable discussion, it is certainly not helpful. We all have professional skills that need to be improved, nurtured and focused on. When your boss takes the time to put together a comprehensive evaluation and provide you with important feedback to help you advance your career, make sure to thank them for their advice and time.