How to Prepare for a Performance Review
How to Prepare for a Performance Review

Q: My annual performance review is coming up and last time I was not prepared at all. Any suggestions on preparing for this meeting?

A: Annual employee reviews or performance evaluations are extremely important. This can mean a possible promotion, wage increase or perhaps just your time to shine in management’s eyes. Preparation and review will be key elements for a productive meeting.

Job Description Review. A good way to start preparing is by getting out your current job description. Although duties may change within the scope of a position, reviewing your initial title and task details can assist you with recalling new duties you may have taken on or perhaps tasks you no longer perform. If your job description has changed dramatically, you may want to address these changes during your review.

Last Performance Review. Take a look at your last performance or employee review and do your own personal evaluation. Have you completed new projects as noted by your manager? Did you take their advice on a suggestion made? Did you pursue a new goal as discussed? These can all be great talking points if you followed through on items discussed with your manager at your last meeting. If items discussed were not addressed or pursued, make sure you have a reason or a plan to discuss them at this meeting.

Accomplishments. In reviewing your previous year of employment, do not hesitate to note any accomplishments you made, big or small. Any positive letters, emails, recognition or awards should be revealed or mentioned during your meeting. Also, if there was a positive impact on the company due to your efforts, make sure you discuss those facts as well. For instance, if your great customer service lead to a new customer, you should note that in your meeting.

Improvements. Almost all performance reviews and managers will have something that you can improve upon; this is one of the reasons for your review. If your manager provides criticism, take a deep breath and do not be confrontational. Instead, ask any questions you may have to clarify the problem and genuinely ask if they have any suggestions or advice on how you can avoid or improve the situation.

Your Goals. While you are reviewing your job description, your last review, your accomplishments and your improvements, you should also take this time to examine your goals and career plans. If you feel that education or training would assist you in improving your performance or provide you with new skills that would benefit the company, now is the time to discuss these opportunities with your manager. Take the time to research classes or seminars and have detailed information readily available at your meeting.

Relax and Be Prepared. You don’t want to get stressed out before your performance review or become defensive. When you are on the defense, all discussions feel and become negative. If there is something you are worried about, be prepared to address it during your meeting with a positive resolution or outcome. Try to relax and be open-minded. Being positive throughout your meeting may gain results that may surprise you.