• Getting promoted
  • Managing your career

How to Ace Your Performance Review

The mention of the words ‘performance review’ stirs up a myriad of emotions in many people. This is understandable because as humans, we don’t like to be judged and even people who say they welcome constructive criticism sometimes bristle at feedback and reviews that are less than complimentary. 

However, performance reviews don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. It is an integral process within the performance management lifecycle in most organisations. When conducted properly, performance reviews can be beneficial and can provide useful feedback to enhance the growth of the employee.

Performance reviews are conducted annually, bi-annually or even quarterly. Whatever time it comes, you’ve got to make it worthwhile. If you’re looking to ace your next performance review, don’t wait till HR publishes the schedule. Check out these tips to help you get prepared ahead of the next review: 

1. Review your job description or role profile

Review your job description and update where necessary. Is there a  particular expectation you are not meeting or is the role profile now obsolete and completely at odds with what you do on a day-to-day basis? Updating your JD will ensure you  and your line manager are crystal clear on your roles and responsibilities, and also ensure your output is in alignment with the organisation’s expectations. 

2. Document your wins

Don’t wait until review time to start scrambling about trying to remember your accomplishments. document your wins and successes all through the year and discuss them with your manager at periodic catch ups.  Did you bring in a brilliant strategic idea, complete a project ahead of schedule, or contribute to an increase in revenue? Ensure these wins are well documented and be specific by including the what, how, who and when. There are online tools that can help you with this. 

3. Review your goals 

You might want to take a look at your goals and objectives and how you measured against them at your last performance review. Periodically reviewing your goals and flexing them as needed  will help you know when to set new goals for yourself. This will also help ensure each goal is in support of the aims and objectives of your organisation.

4. Ask for help

You must understand that you can’t accomplish these goals all by yourself, you need support. Don’t be shy to ask for help when needed. You could seek the advice of a mentor or the professional expertise of a career coach. Don’t be a lone ranger; work with fellow colleagues to accomplish your daily tasks. Get all the help you can. 

5. Build relationships 

Invest in building collegiate relationships with your managers, seniors, peers and col;leagues. This will help you receive timely and useful feedback and will work in your favour in calibrations sessions and consistency meetings. You could do this by getting involved in organising and attending team social events, inviting colleagues for lunch or just joining in friendly conversations in the office.

6. Gather feedback

You shouldn’t wait for the next performance review to find out how well you are doing and identifying areas needing improvement.  You should get into the habit of asking for feedback. Feedback is a gift and can be very useful to improving your performance. Regularly request feedback from your colleagues, especially those you work with on specific projects. Allow them to be open and honest with their reviews of you, and make necessary adjustments where needed. 

7. Evaluate yourself

You’ve reviewed your job description and your goals, documented your accomplishments, and also gathered feedback from your colleagues. Now is the time for some self assessment. Pull together all these resources you’ve garnered, and write your own review performance. This requires some self awareness by examining your strengths and areas requiring improvement. By doing this and coming up with an action plan for improvement, you are equipped to have a constructive discussion at your review thereby reducing the risk of unnecessary surprises. 

Finally,  remember that the goal of a performance review isn’t to make you feel inadequate; it is to help you by making you aware of what you are doing well and bringing any performance blind spots into focus so that you can address them and do even better.