Performance reviews: don't just grin and bear it

A heavy sigh and a sense of trepidation is the reaction most people have when it’s time for their annual performance review. But if you actively participate in the process, an evaluation can be extremely beneficial in helping you advance professionally.

Managers typically view performance reviews as a way to help team members succeed, not a chance to criticise. According to a Robert Half survey, 94 per cent of managers polled felt performance reviews are effective in helping employees improve. Managers often invest a lot of time in the process and expect no less from their staff. A lack of preparation on your part wastes an opportunity for professional growth.

Following are four effective ways for you to start preparing for a performance review:

Do your homework

Give yourself plenty of time to thoughtfully answer questions on self-assessment forms if your company uses them, highlighting successes to demonstrate your worth to the company. If no form is provided, summarise on paper your accomplishments and goals you met over the past year, connecting your achievements to the bottom line.

Check in with your boss

It’s perfectly fine to ask your manager for occasional status updates throughout the year to make sure you’re on the right track. Periodic assessments before the formal review help take some of the guesswork out of what to expect when the time comes.

Be willing to hear the bad with the good

Be open to constructive criticism and use it as a means to improve your performance. Acting defensive or dismissive serves no purpose and can make you seem unprofessional. Instead, think of negative feedback as part of the blueprint for building a successful career.

Discuss long-term plans

Your performance review can also be a forum to discuss your aspirations with the company. Talk about the skills you want to develop and what courses or training you’ll need to meet future goals. Solicit advice from your manager about which projects or responsibilities he or she thinks will help you advance.

Don’t passively endure your next performance review; be an eager and willing participant. Together, you and your manager can use this time to map out the best path for your career.

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