Ace the Annual Review

Smiling businesswomenWhen it’s that time of year, the big performance review, you may not feel so warm and fuzzy inside…. If you see it as unnecessary extra work, a formality that doesn’t really matter, or just another disappointment, you aren’t alone! But with some good planning and positive thinking, this can be opportunity to increase your pay, learn how to improve your performance, and demonstrate to your boss that you are a true rock star.

Here are some tips to set you up for success:

  • Embrace the Opportunity. For some, the annual review is one of the very few opportunities to have an in-depth discussion with the boss. Use this time to convey what’s important to you.
  • Have a Plan. Download the WMB Annual Review Worksheet. This roadmap will help you gather information and prepare for the big day.
  • Make it Easy for Your Manager. Here’s a secret: Managers hate doing reviews. It’s a lot of work to prepare and they’d rather do anything else (hence, employee reviews are often delayed and rescheduled until the last possible moment). So come prepared for your review. Write out what you think should be in your assessment – your manager just may use it! Be positive and flexible. Chances are, your manager may be more stressed out than you are!
  • Highlight; Don’t Rehash all the Details. An annual review is a summary of your accomplishments, not a long laundry list of stuff you did. Focus the discussion on how your efforts improved your organization.
  • Smile and Prepare for “Constructive” Feedback. No matter how great you are, every review must include time for “constructive feedback” or “areas for improvement.” And I repeat, every review, no matter how amazing the employee, must include some negative feedback. Prepare for it mentally. Smile and thank them. Do not get defensive, but feel free to ask, “Can you share a specific example of what led you to believe this?”

Finally, be sure to reward yourself after the review meeting. Have a glass of wine and prepare for successful brand new year!

Looking for more tips? Check out WMB Annual Review Worksheet. If you fear you could be up against a negative, unfair or inaccurate review, check out these tips from Harvard Business Review, What to Do After a Bad Performance Review.

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