If a performance review conversation isn’t your favorite chat out of the entire year, dutiful preparation and ongoing conversations are the key. Contrary to popular belief, performance reviews shouldn’t be contained to one conversation between manager and employee at the end of the year. At the start of the performance year, employees should meet with their manager to discuss goals for the upcoming year. These preparations for performance appraisals should start at the beginning of the performance cycle, and continue all year. If you find yourself at an organization where performance reviews are an after-thought, consider scheduling meetings with your manager to plan your year and to discuss performance along the way.
In conjunction with your manager, develop specific goals for the upcoming year. Keep in mind that by attaching specifics to each goal, you’ll be more likely to achieve them because you have defined exactly what you are aiming to accomplish. While forming goals for the upcoming year, it isn’t a bad idea to reflect upon your performance last year. Try to incorporate any improvement opportunities to your current performance improvement plan you discussed with your manager the previous year.
After you’ve laid the ground work for a successful year and have worked towards reaching those goals, you’re well on your way to a positive performance review. Throughout the year, take notes on how you’ve worked toward each goal, along with feedback received from colleagues, issues you’ve worked through to make each goal a reality. As you discuss your goals, you’ll have clear evidence of how you’ve succeeded at each. Ideally, if you’ve had specific hurdles achieving certain goals, those should be addressed before the final performance review meeting of the year.
Aside from putting together materials for your performance review, you’ll also need to mentally prepare yourself, even if you’ve had a stellar year. Spend some time thinking about the previous year. Even all-star employees have areas that they can focus on improving or stretch goals they can work on for the upcoming year. Keep in mind that a successful performance review should give you a few stretch goals to work on and points of improvement for the upcoming year. Having a positive can-do attitude is essential no matter the tone of the performance review and showing your manager you are committed to being a successful employee will be evident through the attitude you display.
All in all, each employee has the power to drive a positive performance review, with the proper preparation. Spending a little extra time mapping out your year, jotting some notes down along the way, and being able to provide clear examples of execution is sure to produce a positive performance review.
Check out this 2016 Career Guide article regarding performance reviews.