Even though traditional annual performance reviews are not the most effective way to do business and many leading companies are starting to get rid of them, unfortunately they are still part of the work year for many employees.
Many people find the review process stressful, but I believe a great deal of the stress and anxiety around performance reviews can be reduced or eliminated with proper preparation.
Try working through this list of ways to prepare before your next performance review, because feeling prepared can reduce anxiety tremendously.
- Understand the review process. If you’ve been through the process before this may be unnecessary, but if you’re in a new job or there is a new process in place, contact human resources and find out as much as you can about the review process so you can be properly prepared. Don’t forget to find out how the review is related to compensation and promotions.
- Keep a work journal. A work journal doesn’t have to be fancy; it can be as simple as a running to-do list (with dates) where you mark off what you accomplished and when. I like the bullet journal method, but any list will work. This will help you remember your own accomplishments over time, as well as have evidence of those accomplishments.
- Do your own review. If you are provided with a self-analysis worksheet, fill it out honestly. If not, make a list of your job responsibilities and conduct your own review of yourself. Be honest with yourself – that way, you won’t be surprised if you receive constructive criticism, and you can have answers ready for your manager on how you will improve in any areas that need it. Pay particular attention to making a list of your accomplishments and anticipating any feedback you may receive.
- Come up with your goals. Managers often ask about your goals for the next year during a performance review, so take some time to come up with solid goals before you enter the review, so you’re not left stammering.
- Prepare feedback for your boss. Depending on the format of your review, your boss may ask you to rate his or her performance as well. Take some time to formulate any feedback or constructive criticism you may have.
- Drive the discussion. Before you head into your review, make a short list of topics that you would like to cover with your manager. Your annual review is a perfect opportunity to talk about anything that might be on your mind with regard to your career trajectory, team, projects, and so on. Take the opportunity to make the review work for you.
- Research salary data. If you plan to ask for a raise, take the time to research average salaries for your position, location, and work experience, so that you have data to back up your request.
Following these seven simple tips should take some of the anxiety out of annual performance reviews.