How to make the most of your performance review

Make the most of performance review

The dreaded, yet possibly most important, moment of the year.

Your performance evaluation is coming up. How will you prepare for it? If your answer is “I’m just going to go with the flow”, you may want to rethink your approach. Your review shouldn’t be viewed as obligatory, an annoyance, or a process which you have no control over. Actually, your input is just as important as your manager’s in ensuring the experience is constructive for both parties.

Preparing thoroughly for your evaluation does require some effort, but it will help you feel more confident about the process and ensure it will be a productive two-way discussion with your boss. Here are some tips for success. 

Know what to expect

In most performance reviews today, managers offer their assessment of an employee's performance and then outline their expectations moving forward, often setting a timeline for achieving developmental goals. You might be asked to fill out a self-evaluation form prior to the meeting. Self-assessments are increasingly common as more companies are implementing performance management systems and the administrative time required to track them has been reduced.    

If your employer doesn’t offer you a form, find out if you can have a copy of the standard template used for performance reviews, so you’ll know in advance what areas of your performance are likely to be discussed. Also, keep in mind that many employers today may address raises, bonuses and promotions in a separate meeting, so that the focus of the review is on performance.

Document your achievements

Review the results of your last evaluation. If you’re still working to achieve certain goals set by your supervisor, be prepared to discuss exactly where you are in terms of accomplishing them, if you’re encountering any difficulty, and why.

Also, look at your job description. Does it accurately reflect your current role? Some financial professionals could have assumed additional responsibilities over the course of the year and so your duties might have changed or expanded since your last evaluation. Make sure your boss knows exactly what you’re doing for the company.

Give examples of the times where you went the extra mile to help the company meet important objectives. Focus on achievements you know helped the organisation’s bottom line or improved overall efficiency. These results speak volumes about your value as an employee.

Draw up a wish list

You’ll also want to think about what you need as an employee of the firm – and as a financial professional. You’ll hear about your manager’s expectations during the evaluation, but it’s important that you share your vision for the future, too.

Make a list of both short- and long-term goals. For instance, perhaps you’d like to learn a new software program immediately so you can perform your job better, or by next year, start earning a professional certification. By hearing your aspirations, your manager will be better able to lead you to the right developmental activities – ones that can help you as well as benefit the company.

Hopefully, nothing you hear in your performance review will come as a surprise. If that happens, ask your manager if it’s possible for the two of you to meet more often. That way, you can ensure you’re satisfying expectations on an ongoing basis and your boss is fully aware of your progress.

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