Your Next Performance Review: How to Get a Great One

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    performance evaluationEven if your performance review is due at a later date, you should start getting ready now. Put your best foot forward with these four strategies.

    1. Know the system.

    To get the most from the experience and present yourself in the best light, understand how your company handles reviews, beginning with the form (s) that has to be filled out. Some companies ask employees to complete a self-review form, sometimes online. Others leave the writing to the boss and let employees have their say in a face-to-face meeting.

    2. Keep track during the year.

    Most performance-review systems operate on a yearly calendar. Keep track of your work throughout, so that you can cite your accomplishments. Keep a log, or review your e-mail regularly to refresh your memory on the projects, initiatives, and challenges you’ve managed. See My Success Portfolio.

    3. Make your case.

    Before your meeting, create a short (one- or two-page) document that lays out your view of your: a) work over the past year; b) goals for the new year; c) needs, that is, the tools, training, and access to people that will help you reach your goals; d) your strengths and areas for improvement; and e) feedback for your boss — on communication processes, scheduling, whatever. This works best, of course, with a boss who is receptive to suggestions.

    4. Focus on your out-of-the-ordinary contributions.
    Many employees believe that they’ll get a good review and a hefty raise if they simply list everything they did during the year. Guess what? Most of that stuff is what you’ve already paid to do. A salary increase is a reward for exceptional performance. So when you list your accomplishments, focus on key results. For example, as a human resource specialist, the employee survey you were responsible for, lead to a reduction in turnover in the logistics department.

    Career Success Tip:

    Keep your manager in the loop. The more she’s aware during the entire year of your plans, progress, challenges, and successes, the more in sync you’ll be at that big annual review. Wouldn’t it be nice to see eye-to-eye there and then retire to a relaxed lunch?

    Readers, reply with your horror as well as your glory stories about your experience giving or getting a performance review. I’ll compile them in a later post.

    Do you want to develop Career Smarts?