How to Prepare for Your Performance Review

By Morag Barrett on November 19, 2013

Posted by Morag Barrett | November 19, 2013How to Prepare for Your Performance ReviewIn our work with clients across the globe we often hear complaints and frustration when it comes to completing performance review information. I think it goes back to our time at school when we were given the dreaded report card to take home to our parents.  We quickly scrambled through the pages (in my day it was a paper based process) to see what teachers had written.  I heard tales of pages for certain classes that mysteriously disappeared from the report booklet before reaching home.When it comes to the world of work it can sometimes feel like organizations have kept the worst of the old School Report process. “Why do I need to do a self-evaluation?”  If you don’t spend the time to acknowledged your contribution and results, why on earth would you expect others to do so?  Managers are people too (I know it may be a surprise to some of you) and need to pay attention to their self-assessment as much as they do discussing YOUR performance.If your performance appraisal feels more like this clip from the BBC’s The Office then there is room for improvement!Look at this way, this may be the one chance you get this year to talk with your manager about your contribution.  Don’t waste the opportunity. Take advantage of it.  Even if you have a regular conversation with your boss throughout the year, don’t slack off in this final conversation.Be Prepared: Don’t wait for the email from HR to signal the start of Performance Review time.  Keep copies of emails or notes from others thanking you.  Make a note of the results you achieved, the opportunities to collaborate with others, new responsibilities and so forth.  Review the goals set at the beginning of the year and maybe added throughout the year.  This way you have all the information you need to write a powerful summary and self-assessment.Write Your Self-Assessment: This is not the time to be coy about your contribution.  Write your self-assessment clearly, and avoid vague statements, instead be specific about what you did and the results you achieved.  Consider what worked well and also where you / or things could have gone better.  Don’t inflate your self-assessment, be candid with yourself, it will result in a more meaningful conversation with your boss. None of us are perfect and my guess is not everything will have gone entirely to plan. Consider your goals for the next year and identify the development opportunities that might be of use.  You may also want to identify at least one thing your boss could do differently to help you.  Chances they will ask, better to think of this in advance than to be put on the spot during your performance review!As you write your self-assessment you may find these questions useful.  A balanced approach to performance review that looks back AND a looks forward:Current RoleWhat are your achievements?  What helped or hindered in reaching those results?What barriers to success are you experiencing? What can be done to remove these?To what extent are you able to “be the best you can be” every day? What opportunity would make better use of your talents?What skills or competencies if strengthened would ensure your success?Professional GrowthWhere would you like your career to go next?What new responsibilities or challenges would help move you forward?What new skills or competencies might you need to develop to prepare for that role?What development opportunities are available? (workshops, on-the-job-training, other resources)Meet With Your Manager: An effective performance review should have NO surprises.  It is an opportunity to confirm expectations of you and your boss.  However, if you do receive feedback that is unexpected ask clarifying questions to that you understand what is required. If goals have been missed this is not the time to point the finger and blame other teams or individuals.  Instead consider what YOU could have done differently to ensure a more successful outcome, whether it was setting clear expectations, following up, or if necessary, escalating sooner.  Take ownership for your results, both the good ones and the not so good ones.After the Performance Review: Reflect on the conversation and feedback you received.  Where are you in alignment with your boss, where are you misaligned.  Then decide what actions you are committed to taking that will change the results and outcome for next year.There, four steps to a more effective performance review.  Don’t give in to feelings of helplessness, take control of the process and own your performance, own your self-assessment, and own the conversations you have with your boss throughout the year.  In doing so you will have a better understanding of what is expected and how you can be your best everyday.  Which after all, is all we want.  Related ArticlesTags »FeedbackHow to complete a Performance Reviewperformance managementPerformance review phrases Share
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