Performance reviews play a big role in the success of any business, whether big or small. They make up a crucial aspect of the employee experience. It’s a way for employers to evaluate how an employee is performing in their role and gives them the opportunity to give feedback. Performance reviews are also an excellent opportunity to nurture and develop the employee-employer relationship and improve communication levels.
However, for many employees performance reviews are a very much dreaded process. Nobody likes having their weaknesses pointed out and there’s often a negative stigma attached to performance reviews. But it doesn’t have to be this way. And ultimately it’s something that’s going to take place whether you like it or not, so you might as well embrace it. One of the most important things you can do to ensure success when it comes to your performance review is to actively prepare for it.
Let’s take a look at what you can do to prepare for your performance review.
First and foremost we need to mention self-evaluation because it’s quite possibly the most important aspect when it comes to performance reviews. You don’t need to play a passive role and simply sit back and listen to the feedback and direction given by your manager. If you properly prepare for your performance review with your manager, you can ensure that they have a broader picture of what your performance and career goals are, encourage communication, and take charge of your career progression.
Ideally you would use the same performance appraisal form that your manager will be using. Another good option for self-evaluation is to use markthejob.com. They enable both managers and employees to create rational and effective performance reviews via their website. Go through each goal and competency that is listed and give yourself a rating. It’s important to be brutally honest with yourself. The goal is not to achieve good ratings but rather share your perception of your performance with your manager before the scheduled performance review meeting. This will help your manager to prepare for the review and flag any differences the two of you might have in terms of perception of performance prior to the meeting. Alternatively you can just bring your self-evaluation with your to the meeting and use it as reference.
As part of your self-evaluation you can list accomplishments and details from journal notes. If you’ve kept a journal of your performance over the year you can include things like; challenging people or situations, specific strengths, projects you really enjoyed, and skills that you may need to develop. If you didn’t keep a journal, you should start asap. Recording your activities, challenges, and achievements will really help you in the long-run.
Put together a list of areas that need development
As an employee it’s important to think about ways that you can improve your work. In reviewing your job description, competencies, career goals, accomplishments, etc, you can identify the areas that you may have struggled in, or perhaps where others have pointed out you have struggled. But it’s not just about what you didn’t get right, it’s also about areas that you want to expand your knowledge or skills in so that you can progress in your career.
Be honest with your manager about what you struggle with and ask for training or mentoring in areas that you want to develop or improve on. If possible do a little research beforehand about training courses and activities available through your company. If you find something that looks promising and you feel would be beneficial to your performance, tell your manager that you would like to join a particular course.
Set goals for the upcoming period
Every performance review gives you the opportunity to progress in your career. Setting goals gives you the opportunity to design your future. Don’t wait for your manager to tell you what your goals should be. Take a proactive approach and put together some goals based on your job description, your skills and experience, and, of course, your career aspirations.
Make sure to set well-defined goals that are realistic but would still be considered to be major accomplishments if you achieve them. A common acronym used by both managers and employees to set goals is S.M.A.R.T. This stands for goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based. This process can help you to set goals that are both relevant and attainable.
Keep an open mind
Very often employees come to performance reviews feeling very defensive, expecting their managers to be critical, having only negative feedback to give. The problem is that when we defensive we don’t listen very well. It’s important that you prepare yourself for your performance review by trying to relax and letting go of any defensiveness you may have. You should always try to listen carefully to the feedback your manager provides, along with the goals and development plans that have been laid out for you.