• Linda R. Taliaferro

How to Prepare For Your Performance Review

For many companies, it’s that time of year again…time for the annual PERFORMANCE REVIEW.

Your performance review is simply a rear-view mirror look at how well you’ve performed in your role over the course of the last year.

If those two words give you anxiety, or make you feel nervous - read on. Many organizations provide performance feedback throughout the year, so you may already know where you stand. However, if your company does not provide regular feedback, you may feel a level of uncertainty going into your performance review meeting.

However, regardless of your circumstances, know this: You are NOT at the total mercy of your manager or leader.

If you find that your company doesn’t provide enough feedback on your performance throughout the year, I recommend bringing it up with your boss after your review. Request to have more regular check-ins going forward, so that you can drive continuous improvement in your performance.

In the meantime, as your review approaches (and for future reviews), here are a few things you can do to ensure you’re prepared and ahead of the game.

Document your wins.

Document all of your wins along the way. Whether your win is big or small, it’s helpful to have a list of all of your wins handy to refer to during your self-review or in the big meeting with your boss.

Talk to key stakeholders.

This is the time of year when the work relationships you’ve built become crucial. Have conversations with critical stakeholders that you’ve built relationships with, and let them provide feedback on their experience with you throughout the year, and what they’ve seen you accomplish. Then, take that feedback with you to your performance review.

I’ve done it myself, and successfully used beneficial feedback from stakeholders to boost my review!

Advocate for a development opportunity.

Advocating for a development opportunity is a crucial part of the performance review process that we tend to overlook. We tend to focus so much on the targets we’ve met or missed that we miss the opportunity to plan for our own future development.

You always want to hold your company and/or boss accountable for your development. They should be looking to help you bridge any gaps you may have, and strengthen any areas that you want to take to another level. Do the research, and prepare for any next steps you’ll need to take for your own Alldevelopment.

Ask yourself:

  • What do you want to do?

  • Where do you believe your areas of opportunity for growth exist?

  • Is there training available?

It’s vital not to let your performance review go by without including these topics in the conversation.

Prepare for the areas that you’ve missed.

We’re human - we’re not perfect. There might be some areas where you didn't quite meet your expectations... or perhaps you missed the goal entirely. Prepare for your response, and own it! If it was due to circumstances outside your control, have evidence to prove it. Be open and honest, and ask for support if you need it. The key isn’t to focus on the past, but on how you’ll improve going forward. It’s a great way to change the narrative of the performance review.

If you don’t agree with what’s being said in the performance review…

Have your counterpoints ready. In most performance reviews, you’re allowed to add comments. Do so! If something is improperly documented about your performance, state your point…but PROVIDE SUBSTANTIVE DATA. Your points must be clear and free from emotional interference. It’s important that you have the confidence to let your boss know that there was an error made, with proof. Sometimes you’ll need to counteract negativity in your performance review that isn’t rooted in truth, so preparation is crucial if you want to make sure you look your best.

Take it from someone who’s been there!

Performance review season can, for many, be a very stressful, nerve-wracking time, but with proper preparation, documentation, and the confidence to speak up for yourself, not only will you survive it…but you’ll look great going forward. Don’t just succumb or be a victim - you need to shift the needle by advocating for yourself, engaging in the process, and showing your willingness to keep improving in the future. Use these steps to drive your narrative. That’s how to be in control of your career. If you need more helpful career tips and advice to help you move the needle in your career, join me for Being Brown at Work Live every Tuesday on Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube at 6:30 PM EST.

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