The day has almost arrived: your performance review. While you’ve been itching for the opportunity to discuss your value as an employee, the thought of actually sitting down with your manager has you acting like a jittery, anxious mess. Yes, performance reviews can be intimidating. After all, you’re expected to enter stage right, skip merrily over to the spotlight, and recite a brilliantly crafted monologue on your accomplishments, improvements, and contributions as an employee.
Whether you’re hoping to discuss a promotion, salary increase, or just want to survive your upcoming performance review, here’s what you need to do: Prepare. Once you’re done, prepare some more. You can’t wing a performance review and expect it to be a successful or effective conversation. Not only will being prepared ease your nerves, but you’ll impress your boss, have a productive meeting, and check off all your boxes. Here’s how to set yourself up for a home run.
Take Inventory of Your Accomplishments and Increased Responsibilities
Has your book of business expanded? Are you now managing a team? Have you taken the lead on a new project or company initiative? If so, you want to showcase how your workload has increased and record all the additional responsibilities you’ve adopted over time. In addition to highlighting how your role has expanded, write down specific achievements and success stories you’d like to share with your manager to demonstrate how you’ve evolved as an employee. By showing up to your meeting with real facts, figures, and data, you’ll build a clear case for why you should be considered for a promotion or salary bump.
Reflect on Your Career Trajectory
Before your performance review, evaluate where you stand career-wise. What steps are you taking to develop as a professional and work towards your career goals? Do you work for an organization that has a clearly defined career path for someone in your position? If not, a portion of your meeting should be spent discussing what opportunities you have at your disposal and the actions you need to take to get to the next level.
If you have your eye on a management position, for example, ask your manager if you can take the lead on the next project to gain experience managing and leading your colleagues. By broaching this conversation, your manager may offer a few different possibilities of where they foresee you advancing within the organization in the future.
Think About Your Weak Spots
If you want to truly engage in an effective conversation, then you need to approach the discussion with a 360-degree view of your work. That means not only highlighting your successes, but also pointing out areas that you feel you can improve upon. Not only does this show your ability to self-reflect, but it also communicates a level of transparency and authenticity that your manager will respect. Analyzing where your weaknesses lie is not easy; you’ll need to identify mistakes you’ve made or tasks that should’ve seen a better outcome in order to have a candid discussion with your manager about where you could use some more guidance or training.
Create an Action Plan
After identifying improvement areas and notable mistakes you’ve made, you want to take it one step further and discuss what you’ve learned from these errors and how you plan to improve upon them moving forward. Coming up with an action plan, whether that be taking an online class, shadowing a member of your team, or using a calendar to better manage your time, will show your supervisor that you’re ready to take the initiative when it comes to your professional development.
Know Your Value
This one will require some research. The job market is ever-evolving, especially with the introduction of new technology year over year. Your position is also likely to evolve over time. As your responsibilities and daily tasks progress, it’s important to research your market value to get a good grasp on what your skills and experience are worth if you were to explore new opportunities. Even though you may be 100% happy and invested in your current role, it’s extremely valuable to understand how people in your position are being compensated. It’ll help strengthen your argument for a raise if you can show your research and prove what’s being considered a fair salary for your role.
By following these tips, you'll not only breeze through your performance review, but you'll approach the conversation with authentic facts and figures surrounding your contributions as an employee, which will no doubt impress your supervisor. Highlighting your worth and what you bring to the table makes it easier to ask for a raise and will keep you top-of-mind in your manager's eyes as you move into the new quarter/new year.