Do you dread annual reviews from your manager at work? You’re in good company my friend. In fact, many employers are getting rid of this yearly headache. 45% of HR leaders don’t believe that these reviews are an accurate depiction of employee performance*. If your employer still participates in the annual ritual, you need to be prepared. You don’t have to take whatever they dish out to you and leave the conference room feeling defeated. Performance appraisals should be a conversation with everyone involved in the process contributing and that includes you!
Some employers will suggest or require that you complete a self assessment before the annual review takes place. If they don’t say a peep about it – complete one anyway. Here’s why…
Your manager won’t remember everything. There are so many moving parts to running a successful business and your manager probably has a lot on their plate. Because of this they won’t stop to jot down everything positive that you do at work. Don’t be bitter about it and don’t hold it against them. Instead, remind them when your assessment comes up. This is a good time to refresh their memory of how valuable a part you play in the company.
Prove your case. Do you feel that you’ve been looked over for a raise or promotion? Have you been trying to redeem yourself after dropping the ball on a project? If you believe that your performance has been noteworthy this is the perfect time to talk about it.
“I’m actually quite the bad ass.” Oh how modest of you! Seriously this is a time for you to jog your own memory about the hard work you’ve been putting in. I’ve learned that lack of confidence is one of the main reasons that people don’t want to do performance reviews with their superiors. When you remember how much you’ve contributed throughout the year it removes a chunk of fear about this process. This is also helpful when you decide to look for a job with another company because you’ll be sure of what you can offer as an employee.
It shows that you take your career seriously. Doing a self assessment shows that you prioritize where you are today and where you’re headed. You have an opinion and there’s nothing wrong with that – you should have one and you should share it in the appropriate setting.
Displays differences in opinion. Perhaps you wrote a self assessment that makes you look award worthy but your manager disagrees. The performance conversation will be less awkward if your manager knows about these contrasting opinions before hand. Again, they may just need a reminder of how well you’ve been doing if they were too busy to notice. Or…they can be prepared to serve that slice of humble pie if it’s warranted.
Now that you know why a self assessment should be done, let’s talk about how to do it. You shouldn’t be scrambling to come up with things to say about yourself. Instead you should be prepared at any time to talk about your contributions at work.
Keep a record. Unfortunately it’s easy to remember the bad things and pore over them longer than need be. In that process you lose sight of the good. I suggest dedicating a journal to work and keeping everything in it: passwords, positive/negative things you’ve done and details of conflicts with other employees. Of course this should be kept in a safe place and if you choose to leave it in your work desk make sure it’s under lock and key! Tracking everything this way will come in handy!
No bashing. Your self assessment isn’t the place to voice your displeasure with someone that you work with so don’t even think about it! If you have concerns bring them up in the appropriate setting. My advice…don’t do it when your performance appraisal is nearing or directly after. This might give the impression that you’re highlighting other people’s issues to deflect from your own
Be honest. Your self assessment doesn’t have to be all positive. If you know that you can improve in a specific area be sure to mention it. No one is perfect. No one. Not even the people who think they are. So keep it real and let it be known that you’re open to advice and critique. You could get good feedback and in turn use it wisely.
Check metrics. Company core values, employee expectations and when all else fails…job description. You should have something that can be used to measure your performance. In your self assessment be direct in explaining how you meet or surpass these expectations.
Point out praises. This applies especially if you work in an environment where customers can leave feedback about you or if someone in upper management pointed you out and gave a compliment. Reinforcing your own praises with those of other folks is always an advantage and lends more credit to your self assessment.
Honorable mentions. Mention anything that doesn’t fall into a category of your job description. For example: you’re an Administrative Assistant but creating art is your hobby so you hand painted a poster for a community event that your job was hosting. On one of my reviews I mentioned that I volunteered my personal vehicle to collect donations for disaster survivors. See what I mean?
Numbers make a difference. I’ve talked about this before. If you’ve produced measurable results at work they need to be included in your self assessment. If you don’t deal with finances on your job that’s OK. Think outside the box. Have you increased employee engagement? Have you been able to cut down on company waste? Have you taken multiple reports and consolidated them into one, thus saving time? Go ahead, brag about it.
Woo hoo! You’ve come out of your performance review alive! But it’s not over just yet.
- Set new goals
- Remember promises made to you by your superiors and hold them accountable
- See if your supervisor is open to quarterly appraisals if you don’t like the annual style
It’s your responsibility and to your benefit to keep track of your performance on the job. Go grab a journal and get started today!
How do you feel about performance appraisals at work? Is there another career topic that you’d like to see on the blog?
Until next time…
*Talent Management 360