The words “performance review” can cause panic in employees. But we promise, there’s nothing to worry about as long as you’re well-prepared.
Performance reviews offer a chance for employees and employers to get on the same page. You go over your work from the past year and discuss both areas where you did well and areas where you can do better. They sound scary, but they’re actually designed to help out both employees and management.
Think about it: How often do you get a chance to talk to your boss one-on-one about your performance? Probably not often. In fact, you’re probably so busy that it rarely comes up.
Remember, the only way to move up is to find out what you need to improve. Here are six things you should do in anticipation of your next performance review.
- 1. Think About What You Want to Discuss
Performance reviews are not a one-way street. You should have a list of topics you want to focus on as well. Perhaps you’re wondering why you were taken off a certain project or whether you’d be allowed to telecommute one day a week. These are things you can bring up during a review.
You should get credit for what you’ve done for the company. That means pointing out your best moments from the past year. Maybe you talked a client off the ledge when no one else could calm them down. Or perhaps you figured out a way to save thousands per year on office supplies. Whatever your grand feats, remind your boss of them (and consider keeping a running list of those feats on your laptop so you’re prepared come review time).
- 3. Prepare Three Goals for the Coming Year
Your boss will have ideas for goals as well, and your list may get longer once you’ve finished the review. But three is a good initial starting point, and this diligence shows you’re working to the future.
- 4. Reflect on Your Failures
No employee is perfect. Chances are you even screwed up a couple times this year. It could have been something minor or it may have been major. Management understands this will happen. It’s how you respond in those moments that matters. Make sure you’ve learned from your mistake and you’re ready to explain how.
- 5. Do Some Salary Reconnaissance
Many employers base raises on reviews. Do you deserve one? To make a case for a merit-based raise, you’ll want to have some other numbers on hand. Ask around (that’s what we’re here for!) and get an idea of what people in similar positions in the area make in order to build your case.
- 6. Inhale and Exhale
Performance reviews are important, but they’re not worth getting overly stressed out. You should be putting your effort into doing a good job every day – when you do that, the review will take care of itself. Relax yourself before you head in by watching a funny YouTube video or reading a favorite passage from a book. Then go into the review confident but open to constructive criticism.
That’s the only way we learn!