How to create a performance improvement plan after your review

How to create a performance improvement plan after your review

Performance review? Tick. Next! Hold on – what exactly does come next?

When you leave your performance review meeting, it’s easy to think you’re off the hook for a while. The truth is there’s always a lot of work to be done after your performance review – whether that’s taking on more responsibility, outlining a performance improvement plan or learning new skills.

Whether your performance review came through as good, bad or somewhere in between, there are always actions you can take.

Get a clear understanding of your performance review

You might be left reeling after the meeting – especially if the feedback wasn’t what you were expecting.

The first step following your performance review is to consider whether you fully understood everything that was discussed in the meeting and written in your performance document.

It could be worth clarifying with your manager any points you’re unsure of. Make sure it’s clear that you’re trying to fully understand the review, so your manager doesn’t perceive your questions as defensive or argumentative. Try using the following questions for a clearer outline of your performance and the follow-up that is expected:

  • Can you give me an example of when I should have used that skill, but didn’t?
  • What should I have done differently in that situation?
  • What are the key performance indicators to be achieved in order for me to succeed in this area?
  • How can I achieve those targets?
  • What assistance can I get to better meet expectations?
  • Can you help me develop a performance improvement plan?

Understand the blind spots

It can be especially difficult to take action after experiencing negative aspects related to your performance review.

Take the time first to reflect with someone outside of work if you need to, and then start to analyse the situation.

In particular, where are your blind spots? These skill gaps may have been identified during the review, or they may take a little more questioning to understand. Once you understand these blind spots, you can look at options such as:

  • Undertaking training to fill those skill gaps.
  • Asking friends or colleagues for advice on the next steps.
  • Seeking the guidance of a trusted person with more experience (such as a mentor) to help you reach a higher performance.
  • Scheduling a follow-up meeting with your manager to seek clarification and create a performance improvement plan together. This follow up can be done within a few months to make sure you’re on the right track.

5 steps to creating a performance improvement plan

Doing any job without a clear plan can feel like you’re floating aimlessly. It might be time to change that – and the answer lies with you.

To really impress your boss, and put your career on a faster track, set out a five-step performance improvement plan that will see you achieving the goals identified during your performance review. 

1. Identify clear targets (taken from your performance review) that meet your personal goals and your team’s goals. For example, a target might be to improve your communication skills.

2. Create a plan of attack for how you will reach those goals. In order to meet the target of improving your communications skills, for example, you could request some training.

3. Build a calendar with deadlines and expectations. The key is to make yourself accountable with a timeline to achieve your plan of attack.

4. Create a review process, perhaps even one that you undertake yourself, to make sure you’re staying on track and achieving your goals. This could be done by noting down any improvements in the form of increased performance indicators or customer feedback.

5. Ask for help from your manager in developing this plan, perhaps in the form of being a mentor or funding some training sessions.

While performance reviews indicate how far you’ve come, a performance review plan helps you take that feedback and use it to propel yourself forward for the next year.

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