The end of the year is approaching, and along with it comes many companies’ annual performance reviews. Performance reviews can be one of the biggest causes of anxiety for employees every year: some reviews lead to raises or promotions, yet most employees are unsure of how to best prepare for these crucial conversations.
1) Establish Ongoing Dialogue
Ask for regular feedback from your manager throughout the year. Proactively seek out information on your performance. Make sure to reach out via email as well as have face-to-face conversations about your performance. Nothing a manager says in a performance review should be a surprise; it should just be another conversation in an ongoing discussion about your performance.
2) Document Accomplishments
Between reviews, carefully record the work you do for the company: any major accomplishments, how much money was saved, or revenue that was brought in, and major milestones hit. Preparing concrete evidence of your contribution can help build your case for advancement, and can also be important to emphasize if the review isn’t positive.
3) Know Your Cultural Contribution
Beyond outlining accomplishments within your job description, make sure to highlight how you’ve added to the company culture, whether it’s philanthropic efforts you’ve participated in or team-building activities you joined. If the company asked you to take on other projects outside your normal work, be ready to highlight them as well. Showcasing engagement and passion for the company as well as the job helps you stand out.
4) Prepare Questions & Ideas for Development
To guarantee a productive review, come ready with questions to ask your manager. This preparation shows how seriously you take the performance review, and ensures there are points to discuss in case your manager’s feedback is flimsy.
Brainstorm ideas for your own improvement as well: think honestly about what areas of the job you don’t excel in, and bring suggestions to present to your manager. This approach shows honesty, initiative, and that you’re willing to work hard to improve.
At the end of the day, employees need to hold themselves accountable. This means if managers aren’t regularly offering feedback outside of reviews, the employee needs to speak up and ask for it. Performance reviews are a great time to shine, so make sure you prepare in order to outperform.