A good performance review can make all the difference when it comes to advancing in your job. Long touted as a beneficial practice in the workplace, performance reviews offer employees the chance to show off their accomplishments, advocate for pay raises, clarify their professional goals and gain valuable insight into how they can improve as workers. For anyone facing a performance review, these tips can help you make the most out of the experience.
How to Prepare for a Performance Review
Just like any other professional endeavor, preparation is key to success. When planning for your performance review, it helps to keep the following in mind:
- Find out the performance appraisal methods at your company: By familiarizing yourself with your company's review system, you'll eliminate the potential for surprises. Career advancement expert Amanda Augustine recommends talking with an immediate supervisor or human resources manager beforehand. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Are performance reviews given annually? Bi-annually? Are you expected to bring a written self-evaluation with you? The more you understand the structure of the event, the less nervous you'll feel and the more you can successfully self-advocate.
- Write down your achievements: Performance evaluations are often given only once or twice a year. That means there's plenty of time for a supervisor to forget the daily contributions of any individual employee. Keeping a list of your achievements (such as times when you took on extra responsibility, solved a major problem or generally excelled at your job) will help remind your boss of your value to the company.
- Be candid about your shortcomings: Every employee has room to grow. Reflecting on where you've come up short can help you communicate better with your supervisor about how to improve. When discussing your weaknesses, make sure to stay realistic in your assessment. Listen respectfully if your boss offers negative feedback. And although it is important to discuss these issues, don't dwell on them. Instead, make sure to emphasize how you plan to get better in the future.
- Ask questions: Entering a performance review with a plan to initiate discussion on certain topics shows your supervisor you're serious about getting better at your job. It gives you a chance to check up on skills you've worked on and get clarification on topics you've wondered about (such as vaguely defined responsibilities or your progress in relation to other staff members). It is also an opportune way to directly ask for higher compensation.
- Reveal your ambitions: When you know your professional goals and communicate them effectively, it gives your supervisor the opportunity to help you meet them. Perhaps you can work out ways to initiate new projects or adjust current responsibilities to better reflect where you'd like to go in your career.
Performance Review Examples
The Balance offers examples of common questions an employer may consider when conducting your performance review. Use them to help guide your preparation:
Does this employee exhibit leadership qualities in his/her role? Provide examples of this and/or recommend areas for improvement.
When this employee is with his or her coworkers, what interpersonal skills does he/she demonstrate?
Does the employee effectively solve problems?
Does the employee appear motivated by his/her work-related tasks, job and work relationships?
How does the employee demonstrate that he/she is motivated and committed to success in the company?
Are the employee's work methods and approach to accomplishing his/her job effective, efficient and continuously improving?
Are there areas of exceptional performance that should be noted?
State and discuss the expectations and goals for the upcoming review period. List specific activities the employee will do in the next 12 months as part of his/her professional development.
Forbes also recommends that employees bring up the following discussion topics:
- What you'd like to work on most
- How you'd like to specifically contribute to the company
- The systems and resources you need to do your best work
- What new technologies and practices might work better at your job
- What you'd like your bosses to improve on
Understanding how to do your best in employee evaluations is just one skill out of many necessary to excel in business. Programs like the online MBA degree at the University of Findlay can help expand your theoretical and practical knowledge for the workplace. The program offers multiple academic specializations, allowing you to tailor your studies in order to meet your unique career goals.