How to Get the Most Out of Your Performance Reviews

Having regular meetings with your boss about your performance is a key part of career progression in accounting and finance.

While neither employees nor bosses typically look forward to them, many professionals believe performance reviews are beneficial. When office employees were asked in a survey from our company whether they think annual or semiannual performance reviews have helped them improve their efficiency, 62 percent said reviews are very or somewhat effective. 

Because of the importance of these reviews, it’s up to you to ensure you get the most out of the meeting. Here are some tips for having a productive review:

Prepare Before the Meeting

Prior to meeting with your boss, gather the necessary documents. Depending on your company, you may have forms to complete before your review. If there are no forms for listing your achievements during the review period, you should do so anyway. And don’t rush through this: Take some time beforehand to thoughtfully assess your own performance. Note positive aspects and document them for the meeting.

Additionally, create a list of topics you want to discuss and questions you want to ask during the review. Here are some things to inquire about with your manager:

  • What could you be doing differently?
  • What new skills and knowledge do you need to become more of an asset?
  • What goals does your employer have for you?
  • How can you be more helpful to your team?
  • What company challenges does your manager predict over the next year?

Be Engaged During the Meeting

Performance reviews are a conversation between you and your employer, which is why you need questions and talking points. “Winging it” is rarely effective and could waste the allotted time you have each period for this one-on-one.

Offer your own insights rather than having your manager dominate the meeting, and provide the performance highlights you prepared when discussing examples of your achievements. If salary negotiation is going to be part of your company's review process, research salary information ahead of time using reliable resources such as the 2014 Salary Guide from Robert Half and our online Salary Calculator.

Before the review concludes, be sure there is time for goal setting. With your employer, set objectives for what you should have accomplished by your next semiannual or annual review.

Implement the Feedback You Receive

Listen to your employer's critiques and consider how you can make adjustments to your performance. Avoid the urge to respond defensively to negative feedback and think objectively about the goals and advice you receive. Determining how to implement the feedback from your performance review can be a part of the goal-setting process, as you and your employer discuss how you can leverage your new perspective in upcoming projects.

Keep in mind that while an annual review is beneficial, it largely hinges on how seriously you regard the meeting and how well you prepare.

What are some additional tips that have worked for you in preparing for a performance review? Feel free to share in the comment section below.