How To Rock Your Performance Review

Performance reviews can be a stressful time for all parties involved. But they don’t have to be. As an employee, here are a few things I have learned you can use to help ensure they go as smoothly as possible


Set Expectations Early



Best time to set expectations is in a new role or right after a performance review. Start by asking the questions outlined below.

1) Ask your manager for the KPI (Key Performance Indicators) you are measured against.


2) Ask how you are being measured against these indicators.


3) Ask for an example of a perfect score for each indicator.


Now, the manager won’t always divulge this information but you won’t know unless you ask. The worst case scenario is they say no. But at least you showed initiative for trying to reduce any possible miscommunication and putting yourself in the best position possible for success.


Start Preparing Now


Yes, this very moment. No, you don’t need to present a 1000 slide presentation that will lead to death by powerpoint (#1 cause of death in meetings). But it does mean to start saving projects, emails, compliments, voicemails etc that demonstrate how you are not only meeting but exceeding your KPI’s.

Create a folder, in Outlook, Google Drive, Evernote, etc whatever you use and save all of this documentation. Trust me, you will forget about all of the awesome things you have done over the year. Plus the managers conducting the performance reviews will appreciate the written examples vs you verbally saying “Tommy and Lauren said I did a great job on this project.”


Before the Big Day



Revisit those KPIs and dig through those saved emails and examples. Make sure you have quantifiable examples illustrating how you have been able to meet and exceed each of the KPIs. Presenting these tangibles examples aligned with the KPI and strategy of the business will mitigate the risk of you receiving score you don’t believe is fair.


The Truth About Performance Reviews.


Performance reviews can be tricky. Managers like to give positive feedback and don’t always like to give constructive criticism. Those conversations can be much more challenging for all parties involved so many managers avoid them.

I have seen managers tell their employees they are doing a phenomenal job on regular cadence only later during the performance review does the employee find out they received 3’s and 4’s out of 5 during their review. The employee feels upset because they thought they were the rockstar but don’t have 5’s to reflect that.

Saving tangible and quantifiable examples early in the year will help with those conversations. In addition, there is a myriad of variables the employee is not privy to that the manager has to sift through. Example – Perhaps the manager was told by upper management only 1 employee can receive a 5. In that scenario, you are no longer be measured against just the goals but your peers. If one of your peers has 10+ years of tenure compared to you then chances are they will be much more productive and efficient given their ability to navigate the internal process and the internal network they have built up.

Performance reviews are important but not the end all be all. You definitely need to have a good score but a 4.6 vs a 4.8 is not going to derail your career. Instead just look at it as a learning opportunity and there factors out of your control. Chances are how you react to your score is just as important as the score alone. Being able to look at your score objectively helps position you as an adaptable individual committed to learning and growing in the organization.

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