How to nail your annual performance review
Performance management doesn’t start and end with annual performance reviews. Effective managers know that there needs to be a strong process in place that supports real-time feedback, one-on-ones, and a variety of engagement surveys to monitor performance. That is the only way to know the real value employees are bringing to the organization and truly support them in their roles.
Staying on top of remote work performance and monitoring how employees are performing both in their roles (as well as their careers) is a sure-fire way to get the best out of people and to create an environment that they want to be a part of, regardless of where they are currently located.
Real-time feedback is a great addition to traditional performance reviews because it gives the employee a better understanding of their performance on a frequent basis. Real-time feedback is essential to keep everyone in the loop, give the manager a good overview of what’s going on, and provide the employee with tangible information they can use to work on their performance.
Employees’ skills and development needs are constantly evolving, and hence, assigning a static rating annually based on the prior twelve months of work doesn’t make much sense. Employees want to be seen as more than a number, and if the unique strengths they bring to the table aren’t recognized, they will be more likely to look for employment elsewhere.
It is really difficult to improve within your role when expectations haven’t been properly communicated to you. It is advisable to have a conversation with your direct supervisor on their expectations regarding your role and responsibilities, be specific with your questions and clarify timelines, details, and expected level of autonomy for different deliverables or work.
If your company doesn’t have a formal, regular feedback process in place, ask. Holding regular check-ins with your management team and other superiors gives you an opportunity to make sure that they know and understand you and your unique combination of superpowers. When someone offers helpful information, be sure you are thoughtful in incorporating it into the way you work.
Far too often, employees expect career opportunities to just happen. Successful employees are aware of what they need to do to improve, advocate for their own learning and growth, and aren’t afraid to communicate their successes. Don’t be afraid to ask your manager regarding a growth opportunity, or a project that you are interested in learning more on for your professional growth.
It is very easy to fall into the trap of feeling frustrated that you aren’t where you want to be yet within your career. It can be powerful to remind yourself that while you haven’t mastered a certain skill or achieved a goal yet, you most certainly can. Consider what you need to do to achieve that mastery to reframe your perspective and focus on what is possible.
Instead of thinking of your review as only an annual or semi-annual event, use it as a springboard to start building and strengthening a relationship with your manager year-round. Without the day-to-day interactions that come with being in the same office, you have to be more intentional regarding setting the stage for your review, especially if your boss doesn’t do it.
Set up regular virtual meetings to update your manager on what you’ve been working on and ask for regular feedback. Talk to your manager regarding the skills you need to get to the next step and what projects you can get involved in. Dress professionally for your performance review. Make sure your space is quiet, well lit, and free from interruptions and system alerts.
If you’re willing to make your career growth a priority, your manager likely will too. You may have a promotion as one of your goals. While there is a lot you cannot control in the decision-making process, you are in control of a few things. It is also important to keep in mind that even if you don’t get promoted in the time-frame you expected, you might still want to lay the groundwork.
While extra effort is great and will help build your case for moving on up, your manager can’t read your mind. Some employees are happy at their current level and don’t want more responsibility. If you don’t let your manager know you are striving to be promoted, they may not even be considering you. Don’t be afraid to speak of your accomplishments and expertise in an accurate way.
As the dynamics of work continue to evolve and shift, so too will our work and priorities. One thing remains constant: You are at the helm of your career. Take action and pilot your course to greatness.