Is Your Performance Review Coming Up? Here’s How to Prepare

How can you ensure that you’re getting what you want out of your annual review? Here are some performance review tips that can help you perfect the process.

Performance reviews present a unique opportunity for employees to gain, be it in terms of financial compensation, increased responsibility and/or a raise. But these meetings also bring concerns about receiving negative feedback.

If you’re due for an assessment by your manager, here are four performance review tips to help you enter the discussion well-prepared and confident you'll receive high marks:

1. Evaluate yourself first

Take a look at your own performance since your last review (or your start date) and spend some time writing down the projects and responsibilities you’ve since handled. Think about what challenges you’ve overcome, successes, achievements, mistakes, risks, and most of all, contributions you’ve made on a personal, team and office-wide basis. Critically assess the good, the bad and everything in between, and be prepared to acknowledge feedback accordingly.

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2. Strategize goals for the coming year

Know that the annual review conversation is one centered around goals — goals you’ve met, and goals you and your manager will set. Start with what you’re working toward, and brainstorm with your boss what personal development, responsibilities and projects will help you get to where you want to be. Whenever possible, add deadlines or a tangible result to your objectives, so that both you and your manager can be aware of your accomplishments along the way.

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3. Write down your questions

The annual review process is your opportunity to get direct feedback regarding your performance and future with the company. This is your chance to ask for whatever it is you need or want from your employer (as appropriate). It can be difficult to bring up these subjects with a superior face-to-face — whether you’re asking for a raise, a promotion, recognition or simply more insights about your expected career path — so it may be helpful to make a bulleted list of what you’d like to bring up during your talk.

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4. Take action

After your performance review, consider your feedback and your goals in approaching work moving forward. Even top performers have areas of improvement and your manager will appreciate any proactive steps in taking your work to the “next level.” Learn from constructive criticism and apply any takeaways to your work performance, and follow-up with your manager to ensure that you’re on the same page in overall performance improvement.

As long as you prepare beforehand, going through a performance review with your manager can be a wonderful opportunity to find increased job satisfaction and renewed pride in your work.

You've aced the annual review, now it's time to take your game to the next level by setting career goals. Check out our tips.