Annual performance reviews, three little words many are not a fan. Annual performance reviews can be time-consuming for supervisors and often cause anxiety in employees, but with a little reframing, they don’t have to be so intimidating. Here are some general tips for before, during and after to help you ace your next performance evaluation.
Do not procrastinate
· You should not be sitting down an hour or even a day before your performance evaluation in a panic and coming up with all that you have achieved and metrics you have met. This is the time dedicated with your supervisor to discuss how you have grown and the contributions you've made to the team. Annual performance reviews are also a time to set future performance goals and discuss expectations of the role moving forward. Read further to learn how to better prepare for this meeting.
Start a record of accomplishments early
· Keep your annual performance review accessible so that you can look at your goals for the year and be sure to write down your accomplishments as they happen. Don’t wait until the time of your next performance review to try and recall all of the accomplishments, especially at an annual review.
Familiarize yourself with the process
· Connect with your supervisor before the performance review and ask what your performance evaluation may entail. Make sure you understand expectations from your supervisor and, also, be able to articulate your expectations of the role. Human Resources, is another great resource to utilize. Do some research to find out if Human Resources has online tools or in-person courses that will help you as you build your annual performance review.
Review previous evaluation – if possible
· If this isn’t your first time going through a performance review with your current employer, then reviewing your past evaluations is a must. Take a look and see if there have been any changes in the process and if there are any changes, what are they; as well as, what were your previous goals and articulating how you have accomplished them. Lastly, reflect on what skills and experiences you have built since the last evaluation and identify what areas that you need to continue to grow in.
· Setting goals in a performance review for you are key, but setting goals for the meeting itself is also very important. What items would you like to discuss? You should be bringing points up for discussion in addition to questions you would like to ask. This will demonstrate that you have come prepared for the meeting.
· You have done all the prep work, and are ready for questions and understand what the process is like. Let’s take a look at strategies while in a performance review.
· Have an open dialogue with your supervisor. Not only identify your past accomplishments but establish performance goals and build a developmental plan. Be able to articulate your future plans, where you want to grow as a professional and how you can build skills and gain experience to help propel you in that direction.
Outcomes rather than activities
· Many times we find ourselves focusing on the task rather than the result or outcome of the activity, project, or accomplishment. What impact did your project make on the company? What skills did you build and demonstrate to your team or supervisor while working on a task? Those are the type of items that should be the focal point during your performance evaluation. It is more than just checking boxes.
Receive and give feedback
· Be prepared to receive constructive feedback. This is a time for your supervisor to evaluate what went well and what can be improved on. Constructive feedback is a tool that should be used to build things up. The focus of the feedback should describe the action instead of demonstrating judgment. It should focus on observation rather than inference and a balance of positive and negative. Remember an annual performance review is also a time for you to provide feedback. Consider providing information to your supervisor about how they can continue to support you and, if there are gaps in their support, provide constructive feedback about how to improve your working relationship with them. Supervisors are also looking on feedback on they are doing as a leader and learning different how they can improve.
· Completing a performance review can be exhausting for both you and your supervisor, but it can be a great time to connect. This time is invested in you to help you be successful and be the best you can be at your role. Take advantage of this opportunity and you will soon be looking forward to them instead of dreading them.
· After your performance review take some time to reflect and recap the conversation. Did you miss anything that you wanted to address or need any clarification? You should feel energized to take on your new goals and know exactly where to start. If not reach out to your supervisor and see if you could set up another meeting to discuss any concerns you have.
Performance reviews are put in place as a communication tool for organizations to use. Use these opportunities to showcase all of the amazing things you do and as a professional development tool to help you grow and soon you’ll be acing these performance evaluations in no time.