Everyone has the opportunity to receive an outstanding annual performance review, but it requires a strategic approach that is carefully managed throughout the year. Given the fact that this is the point where most salary increases, promotions and discussions about future career opportunities occur, it cannot be overstated how important it is to thoughtfully manage this event.
1) Be Clear On Your Role: Don’t assume you and your boss are fully aligned on your role and expectations unless you have regular ongoing quarterly discussions. Large companies will have a job descriptive that can be used as a starting point for the discussions and then you can reach out to coworkers to get a sense for what they are doing to fill in the gaps in the job descriptive. If you are in an established role, you also must engage in ongoing dialogue as each day, new market forces place new demands on any business and, in turn, on every employee.
2) Have Measurable Goals: Most large businesses will ensure that every person has goals that can be measured, which will align with the overall needs of the business. If you don’t have these goals, you must sit down with your supervisor and agree on goals that are reasonable for your position. If for some reason, this effort fails, make an effort to create your own goals based on the job the way you understand it.
3) Own A Personal Development Plan: Not to be confused with goals, these focus on developing skills that will allow the individual to grow, take on more responsibility and better assist the organization in achieving its stated goals. Think along the lines of “becoming a more persuasive speaker” or “giving better employee feedback” as examples of things that go into a development plan.
4) Keep Good Records All Year: Going back to your goals, think about what you will need for your review at the very beginning of the year to quantify your success against those measurable goals. Agree with your supervisor on what will be measured, how and from which data source. Set up a “Annual Review” folder on your computer drive and also set up a hard folder on your desk where you can toss simple handwritten notes or anything else that might help you at the end of the year.
5) Embrace and Reflect On Critical Feedback: Although it can be difficult at times to receive, feedback critical of our performance is an important part of our career development. Learn to not take anything personally and do your best to objectively reflect on the feedback and then decide if and how you want to incorporate it into your future performance.
6) Elevate Yourself And Your Performance: In addition to fulfilling the requirements of your role and goals, think, speak and perform one level above your current role. Know your supervisor’s goals and see how you can support them. Stay current with events in your industry and don’t be afraid to express well informed, respectful points of view.
7) Write A Strong Self Evaluation: Don’t assume your boss knows all you did this past year, document all your accomplishments with facts. Be strong and confident in yourself. Score yourself honestly and fairly, hopefully, as “exceeds expectations.”
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