Blog·Performance Management

January 30, 2019

How to get the most out of your performance reviews?

Want to get the most out of your performance review? Look no further. Read on to find how you can improve the effectiveness of those all important performance reviews.

Performance reviews are a forum for praise and improvement between supervisor and employee. In today’s professional society there has been an organisational shift to ongoing performance management. As an employee, it is imperative to get the most out of these meetings; below is a simple checklist to make sure you’re doing all you can!

What is a Performance Review?

At its core, the performance review is a discussion between an employee and their supervisor. In this conversation, the participants will review the employee's performance over a period of time, including a recognition of the interviewee's accomplishments as well as an assessment of areas for development and improvement.

Performance Reviews - definition

Why are Performance Reviews necessary?

For many performance appraisals are often considered a waste of time and unnecessary, however, there is a significant value in conducting them. These conversations with employees provide an open dialogue, the opportunity to reflect honestly on one's performance can strengthen relationships with managers.

Additionally, the insights attained through interviews are vital for improving employee retention. In response to performance reviews, an organization can determine what retrospective actions must be carried out in order to ameliorate employee engagement.

The old adage reads: ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. Although an unwelcoming phrase, the message rings true. It is important to prepare for your performance review. Your manager won’t be able to remember all that you’ve accomplished since the last meeting. The 3 tips below are really easy to implement:

Gather information regarding your performance standards, both current (real-time) and during the time elapsed since the last review.

Review the objectives set for the current period, and evaluate your performance in relation to this.

Complete a self-assessment. Evaluate and identify key indicators of your performance.

Performance Reviews - tips

How have you performed in relation to your objectives? What have you done well? What hasn’t gone so well? Where can you improve? What do you need from your manager to perform even better? This gives you an overview of what can be discussed during your review.

Ask yourself key questions which are likely to come up in the performance review.

Consider your answers to each of these questions:

  • What progress have you made on your goals since the last meeting?
  • What has been going well since the last meeting?
  • Which elements of your work can you improve?
  • What, if anything, would you like to do, but haven't been able to?
  • What career goals do you have? Have these changed in any way recently?
  • What additional resources do you need from your supervisor?
  • What training, education or mentoring do you need to aid your professional development?

When in your review, remember to be honest, realistic, objective and specific. The meeting is an opportunity to develop a positive working environment. You should be updated on organisational goals that impact directly (or indirectly) on your work. It should also provide you with guidance on your short term goals and also be a comfortable place to discuss long term career goals. Before concluding the meeting, both parties should review any items that may carry over to the next meeting, these include: employee goals, challenges, deadlines and key tactics for achievement.

Performance reviews - questions

Following your performance review you should look to ask the question:

Where do I go from here?

Here are some brief advisory actions to pursue having finished your evaluation:

Performance Reviews - advisory actions

Act on the feedback

For the purpose of learning and developing, contemplate on what was said during the performance review. It's no use going through the process of a review without taking some insights from it. Use the feedback and act on what has been discussed to improve areas of weakness that may have been highlighted. Moreover, consider what positives came from the review and determine how you were able to achieve this.

Clarify with your reviewer

Having contemplated and started to act on what was discussed, you might find that you have some further questions that you didn't ask at the time. With hindsight, it is always easier to recognise something that you haven't fully grasped in real time. This is why you should take the opportunity to clarify with your reviewer anything that you might not have initially understood. Asking questions is fundamental to how we progress as individuals and in teams. Which leads onto the next step...

Grow with your team

Now that you've developed more of an idea about your performance and the feedback from your reviewer, go and speak to your colleagues and look to establish their opinions of you based on your insights from the performance evaluation. Your team members will have the most informed understanding of you, especially as you likely spend the majority of your working hours collaborating with them.

Bring forward the insights that have stuck with you the most from your performance review. Look to learn from others and establish a greater appreciation for why these attributes are an accurate reflection. Take on suggestions for where you could improve in weaker areas or even to better stronger abilties.

Prepare for your next review

Finally, with all of these insights and having been through the performance appraisals process itself, you will probably have accumulated a bank of notes and ideas about yourself that constitute a complete psycho-analysis. Don't shy away from this. No matter how irrelevant they might seem, all of these nuances will enable you to truly improve your approach to work. Take on the various forms of feedback and use it to build the best version of yourself.

When the time comes for you to undertake your next performance review, you'll be prepared to knock it out of the park. This next review will also provide an updated account of your performance, through which you will be able to learn further insights for your own professional development.

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