Depending on your employment contract, you may have annual performance reviews or more regularly such as each quarter. Regardless of when or how often, the most important thing to do is prepare in advance to have the best shot at success. Performance conversations can be difficult, but coming in armed with evidence of how your performance has benefited your employer will assist you in entering the meeting with confidence.
- Calm the nerves with some logic
It’s natural to be nervous, especially when it feels like you’re having to prove your worth or sell yourself to your manager or employer. If you’re a quiet achiever or a shy personality it may be even more difficult to articulate your skills and achievements whilst you’ve been employed by the company. These conversations may not feel natural but try to understand that the purpose of the meeting is not to grill you or put you down. It’s a conversation between yourself and your employer that aims to ensure that you can continue to do your best work. You won’t just be passively and directly evaluated like a school report card, you’ll also have a chance to voice your ideas, ask questions and understand where your contributions have led the company and your team. Before the meeting take a few deep breaths, remember that you were employed because your employer saw potential in you and/or were pleased with your experience and skills and have kept you on board for a reason.
- Pull out your work diary and refer to it
If you haven’t already started one, this is your hint to begin a work diary. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or fancy, it just needs to act as a to-do list preferably with dates, that show achievements you’ve accomplished and when. It could list the time your co-worker resigned and you didn’t hesitate to volunteer taking over some of their roles before the position was filled with a new hire. Or when you achieved great return on investment where you promised an outcome to your manager and team and delivered it on target. This way you’re continually preparing throughout the year and it won’t be a rush to have it sorted when each review pops up.
- Have an open mind
The last thing you want to appear is defensive, as constructive criticism is actually hugely to your benefit in improving yourself as an employee in this job and in the next. Walk into the session with an open mind, prepared to take any tips on board and fill any gaps that your employer sees as unfulfilled in your role. An eagerness to listen, learn and improve are great qualities and no one is expecting you to walk into a role and blitz it naturally, without some hiccups and mistakes along the way. Keep an upbeat and enthusiastic attitude and take on whatever feedback is offered.
- Use numbers where you can
Your boss isn’t going to be as impressed by the hours you’ve worked overtime each week as they would be knowing how those hours have impacted the business. Depending on your role, record some data that shows numbers on how you’ve either made money or saved it for the company. Words can be skewed but numbers don’t lie, proving a positive impact from your work.
- Set some goals for the next meeting
If your employer does identify some areas that need improvement, sit down and set some key performance indicators and goals that would show you’re closing these gaps. Not only does this help to solve the issue but it shows a willingness to improve and therefore a passion for your job and loyalty to the company. Proactively write down some goals for your next performance review that will help to position you as a forward-thinking employee. This will show your manager that you have and value a growth mind set and that you’re serious about your position.