A performance review is a chance to share your accomplishments, discuss any challenges you’re facing in your job, and identify opportunities for developing new skills. If you’ve taken the time to prepare for your review, you may feel good about what you’ve accomplished and where you stand at work. If not, you may dread having this conversation with your manager.
Here are a few tips for preparing for your next performance review, so you can feel confident and self-assured when you walk into the meeting.
Review Goals from the Previous Year
When preparing for a performance review, your first step should be to revisit the goals you set last year. You should include specific goals, measurable results, deadlines, and a detailed outline of steps to follow as well as account for potential setbacks and have built-in ways to handle them effectively. You also should revisit your goals throughout the year so adjustments can be made as necessary. In the end, your manager wants you to be prepared for review. It’s not just about what you’ve accomplished but how much you’ve thought things through and made progress toward achieving your goals.
It’s important to remember your performance review is a chance to reflect on how you’ve been doing—it’s also your manager’s chance to look at the goals you set for yourself and how you achieved them. If you did not reach your goals on your last performance review, examine them with your supervisor and ensure that you did everything you could to have tried to meet them, and then also evaluate whether you have realistic expectations in the future.
Looking back on your goals, are there any areas in which you struggled to meet expectations? If so, don’t be afraid to ask questions or request additional guidance—the more effort you put into reviewing your goals, the better prepared you’ll be for this next performance review.
Track of Your Achievements
You want to stand out in the eyes of management when it comes time for your performance review. Ensure you’re doing more than just the bare minimum when you’re on the clock. Think of positive examples from your history demonstrating how you’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty. If you don’t have these available examples, now is an excellent time to start tracking them.
When it’s time for your next performance review, review your list and be ready with details on each accomplishment and summarize your progress through the year. Include a general description of each task, including the date it was completed, the name of the project, and a summary of what it entailed. If your manager is a “big picture” person, you can save time by skipping the minor details and reporting only the essential facts and figures.
Create a Communication Strategy
You should be consistently communicating your project statuses transparently and efficiently with your supervisor. If your manager prefers more frequent updates, send the information monthly or weekly as they desire. This helps keep the feedback loop strong, so you and your supervisor on continually on the same page with your goals and expectations.
If your manager doesn’t give you regular feedback throughout the year, it’s up to you to ask for periodic updates on your performance. It’s not productive to spend an entire year focusing on a goal when you discover the objective was the least important to the person who manages you. In this case, you may have to schedule some time with your manager to ask brief but essential questions about your performance. A best practice is to have bi-weekly check-ins with your supervisor so you can update them on where you’re at with your goals and projects.
Ask for Feedback Consistently
To ensure that your performance review is productive and effective, you should actively seek feedback from your manager. Meet with your direct supervisor early and be sure to discuss any challenges and accomplishments you have managed throughout the year and not just at your performance review. Review your successes, confirm that you’re on track for the year, and ask if there are any specific areas in which you need to improve.
Annual performance evaluations allow you to showcase what you’ve done over the past year, so be sure to review your goals from last year, keep track of your accomplishments, create a strategy for communicating your achievements, and ask for feedback. That way, you’ll be prepared and ready for your next review.
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