The performance review
process can be demanding and sometimes nerve-racking. It can also be rewarding,
given the right conditions and frame of mind. More than an accounting
of your various projects and activities, your review is an opportunity
to showcase what you have accomplished. Even if you keep your manager
informed via weekly reports and 1:1 meetings, you can positively influence
your overall performance picture by synthesizing that information and
providing additional insights.
Here are a few preparation tips:
Track your Accomplishments
Don't wait until the last minute. If you track your accomplishments throughout
the year, it will be much easier for you to remember not only what you
did, but also the outcomes, benefits, and implications of your efforts.
Make a special note of the obstacles you overcame, the extra challenges
you took on, and instances when your results exceeded expectations.
Focus on the Bigger
When describing your accomplishments, indicate your awareness of how they
support team, departmental, and company goals. Point to the positive impact
of your work on other individuals or groups, and show how your contributions
add value to the company. Also, keep in mind your manager's priorities
so that you can align your accomplishments with his/her objectives.
Highlight your Strengths
Talking about your performance gives you the chance to highlight the strengths
you bring to your job. As you chronicle your achievements, say when and
how you have demonstrated initiative, flexibility, perseverance, creativity,
leadership skills, the ability to handle pressure, or the ability to influence
others. Point out specific instances where your knowledge, experience,
level of expertise, and credibility have been valuable assets in reaching
your objectives. By identifying your unique combination of strengths,
you can distinguish yourself as an asset to the organization.
Help Your Manager
Even if you think you are doing a terrific job, you will probably
be relying on your manager to push for your next raise, bonus, or promotion.
If your company has a ranking and rating system, your manager will need
to justify why you deserve a greater reward than another employee with
a similar track record. So, the stronger your case and the more useful
information you give your manager, the greater the chance that your accomplishments
will be recognized and rewarded.
Address Any Shortcomings
If you fell
short of your objectives or your performance was not up to par in some
areas, you will need to analyze the reasons, be prepared to discuss them,
and think of ways you can improve. Look for learning opportunities and
avenues for growth. Put defensiveness aside and collaborate with your
manager. Since you can't re-write history, put your focus and energy on
the future. There is always tomorrow…and the next review.