10 Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Your Performance Review

We’ve all sat in a conference room, having a candid one-on-one conversation with a senior team member about our job performance. It’s uncomfortable and stressful.

As a matter of fact, according to a recent survey commissioned by Adobe, 58 percent of employees find performance reviews stressful, 55 percent wish they didn’t have to participate in one, 22 percent cry afterwards, and 37 percent look for another job once completed.

But, don’t let these numbers sour you on the benefits of a performance review (note: Adobe stopped doing performance reviews back in 2012, and now uses a Check-In program).

For many companies, it’s still a vital process for employee evaluation. That means you need to be prepared. Here are 10 tips that will help you get the most out of your performance review.

  1. Understand how you’re being evaluated – Different jobs have different requirements and expectations. Be sure that you’re familiar with the job description and understand how success is measured for that role well in advance of any review (preferably at the point you step into the role). Mapping expectations to deliverables is the best way to ensure positive feedback, which leads into the next tip.
  2. Don’t think of a review as an annual event – Trying to recall your successes two weeks prior to a performance review is a recipe for failure. Constantly document your “wins” throughout the year so that when you fill out review documents or chat through progress, you can give detailed information about key deliverables or initiatives.
  3. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses – Most reviews ask you to list out what you think are your strengths and weaknesses, so they can be compared to the information gathered by your manager. It’s vital that you honestly assess these.

    It gives your manager insight into how you perceive your performance and value to the organization. (Side Tip: Everyone has weaknesses. If you can’t identify them, then “Not being able to identify weaknesses,” should be the first on that list.)

  4. Don’t think of a review as an annual event – Trying to recall your successes two weeks prior to a performance review is a recipe for failure. Constantly document your “wins” throughout the year so that when you fill out review documents or chat through progress, you can give detailed information about key deliverables or initiatives.
  5. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses – Most reviews ask you to list out what you think are your strengths and weaknesses, so they can be compared to the information gathered by your manager. It’s vital that you honestly assess these.

    It gives your manager insight into how you perceive your performance and value to the organization. (Side Tip: Everyone has weaknesses. If you can’t identify them, then “Not being able to identify weaknesses,” should be the first on that list.)

  6. Try to channel any emotional responses into positive outcomes – A performance review is a chance to get valuable feedback that can help you grow and become better at your job. No manager wants to hear excuses. So don’t give any.

    Instead, channel your negative emotions into positive outcomes. If a specific item is highlighted, talk about the best way to ensure it’s done properly the next time. Ask for examples. You and your manager should be pulling in the same direction.

  7. Ask for a copy of your review – Often times you’ll get a hard copy of your performance review before the actual meeting. Be sure to read it and evaluate it. This will ensure you’re prepared and engaged in the meeting (no manager wants a one-way conversation).

    If you don’t get it prior to the review, be sure to get a hard copy after and use it as a tool throughout the year to stay on track with new goals.

  8. Track your action items – When being evaluated it’s key that you understand the specific action items you need to address. If a manager is vague, for example they tell you to be more proactive. Ask them for specific examples.

    Also, be sure to follow up with your manager after the review and outline in email the main takeaways and action items. This shows initiative and will help keep you on track as well.

  9. Avoid phrases like “Show Me The Money” – Don’t expect your performance review to include a raise or title change.  Many companies actually separate compensation or title discussions from actual performance reviews. To avoid being disappointed during a review, ask HR what the standard policy is.
  10. Find a mentor – If you don’t have a mentor, you should. Not only can they help you crystalize your goals, but also they can provide honest feedback about work that managers sometimes feel uncomfortable sharing outside of a formal review.

    If you don’t have a mentor, find someone in the organization that you admire and ask if they’d be willing to meet with you monthly for 30 minutes (it could even be over lunch or a quick walk to a coffee shop).

    Performance evaluations should be viewed as an opportunity to share, learn and grow. So, don’t just show up, plan to be an active participant. Knowing you did everything you could to make the most of your time with your manager is a guaranteed win you can celebrate afterward.

Like this post? Share it!
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
X