How to Get the Most Out of Your Performance Review

Published: Oct 24, 2022

 Workplace Issues       Work Relationships       

Performance reviews might not be your favorite part of work, but they’re necessary for boosting your standing within your organization, as well as your compensation. Performance reviews are also important for organizations, as they are a part of every organization’s employee retention strategy. Performance reviews allow managers to decide who to promote and when, whole allowing employees to learn from their mistakes and improve in their roles.

Of course, performance reviews look different at every organization. You may have weekly check-ins with your manager, quarterly or yearly reviews, self-assessments, or all of the above. Whatever the case may be, your performance review is your best chance to advocate for yourself and learn what's expected of you—so they're not something you should take lightly. Instead, you need to take full advantage of your performance review. And here are seven tips for getting the most out of your next review.

1. Know Your Accomplishments

If you only have a review once a year, it can be difficult to remember all your accomplishments. So, keeping track of your accomplishments throughout the year can help you when it comes time for your annual review. And if you're not asked to do a self-evaluation before your review, it’s a good idea to do one anyway. Remember, your performance review is in your hands—not your manager's. While some companies may use performance reviews to tell employees what they’re doing wrong, most of them want to check in with you to discuss your accomplishments and goals to decide if you're someone worth promoting and/or giving a raise to.

2. Focus on Progress

If this is your first review, you might not have prior feedback to talk about, meaning you won’t be able to discuss your progress. However, you can talk about any personal goals you've set for yourself since starting your position. On the other hand, if this isn’t our first performance review, you'll likely have old performance reviews that discuss your goals. In this case, you must be prepared to discuss these goals and progress. While you may not be expected to have reached all your goals, you should still mention how things are going, if you need additional support, and your plans for reaching your goals soon.

3. Identify Roadblocks

Every job comes with roadblocks that prevent you from getting things done. However, instead of placing blame on your managers or other employees, you should identify roadblocks and discuss solutions to them during the performance review. Identifying the problems that hold you back can help you better execute projects in the future. Try to reflect on things that went wrong and how you could have done better. For example, if an employee wasn't pulling their weight on a project, forcing you to miss a deadline, instead of blaming your coworker, discuss how you could have had better leadership skills to motivate your partner.

4. Keep a Positive Mindset

Going into the review process with a negative mindset will severely hurt your review, whereas going in with a positive mindset will help you make the most out of the experience. For example, if a manager isn’t the best at giving constructive feedback and is a little abrasive when offering their critique, it's up to you to control your emotions and try not to take criticism personally. Remember, most people will have to make improvements at some point, so be prepared to hear about them. Also, in order to be better prepared for your review, regularly ask for constructive feedback during the year by telling your manager to let you know if there's something you need to work on or could be doing better. Doing so will prevent any surprises come review time.

5. Mention Company Goals

All employees have their own individual goals. However, the company also has plans, some of which are likely shared with employees. Your work must help the company if you want to succeed and continue your employment. If you excel in one area of your job, talk about it during your performance review and tie it back to how it helps the company reach its goals.

6. Take Time to Prepare

Preparation is important for a review because it allows you to gather your thoughts. If you've had an employee evaluation before, you know what types of questions to expect and how to go about answering them. Once your review is on the calendar, set aside time throughout the week to prepare. Ensure that your list of accomplishments is up to date, and your questions are written down. Since many people often freeze when discussing issues with their bosses, writing down your roadblocks and concerns can help you stay focused on the review.

7. Discuss Your Career Goals

Some people view their jobs as just jobs, while others are looking for something more rewarding. If you want to build a career at the company, you must regularly discuss your career goals with managers. For example, if you were hired as an intern and eventually want to be part of the marketing team, make sure your employers know. Your bosses may ask you about your goals from time to time, but it's up to you to make them clear to help them determine whether or not there's room for your career growth.

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading, and diving deep into her favorite music. 

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