How to Prepare for Your Performance Review

An Evio Exclusive written by See Girl Work an Evio Community Partner

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Let’s face it. Performance reviews at work can be the worst! Your palms get sweaty, your heart starts racing and you can’t seem to maintain your focus. It can be said that the only more nerve-wracking than the job interview itself, is your first annual performance review. It’s like you’re being judged all over again.

But performance reviews can also be a great way to recap your achievements, make note of all that you’ve contributed to your team and the company, and set the tone for the year ahead. Performance review time also forces you to think about what you want the next steps in your career to be. Whether you hope to stay at the company you’re at or not, performance review time allows us to consider if we’re on the right track and what actions we can take to propel ourselves further.

So there’s good and then there’s the things we dread about performance reviews at work. To help you look forward to, and even embrace, the opportunities that can come with your annual performance review, I’ve listed some tips below to help you prepare for your performance review.

1. Review Your Current Goals

Your performance review is a great time to look back at what you were hoping to accomplish and see if you actually accomplished them. If you met your goals, what are some highlights that you’re proud of? What did you learn along the way? How can you build on them in the future?

If you didn’t achieve goals, what challenges held you back? Did your priorities change? What can you do differently going forward? Write down some notes to discuss further with your manager during your performance review.

2. Review Your Performance Notes

If you've kept a journal of your performance over the last performance cycle, now is a great time to review what you previously wrote. Are there any performance challenges or opportunities that you’ve regularly been journaling about?

If you didn't keep a journal, start today. Keeping a record of your strengths, challenging people or situations, skills you need to develop, projects or work you really enjoyed, as they happen helps you capture details while they're fresh in your mind.

3. Prepare Your List of Accomplishments

Think you deserve a raise? It’s so important to state your case by listing out your accomplishments (including how much money you’ve made for the company, the skills you’ve learned, the relationships you’ve built, and the projects you’ve completed) over the past six months or year.

4. Complete Your Self-Review Form

Once you’ve assessed your current goals and reviewed your performance journal, you should then proceed to complete your self-review form. Most companies have some sort of formal review system where employees are asked to fill out a self-review form.

Take this step seriously. The self-review form can remind your boss of your accomplishments that might have been overlooked during the course of the year. Sometimes, managers get so busy and it’s easy to lose track of everything their employees do. In addition, hand-in your self-review form as early as possible, so that your boss can review it before your performance review.

5. Set Goals for the Discussion

Although your company might have their own system and your manager controls the review conversation, you can still set goals for the discussion. Before your performance review, make a list of everything you hope to cover. Most performance reviews do provide an opportunity to bring up topics for discussion and further deep-diving. Which leads to the next point…

6. Prepare Your Questions

Performance reviews are super helpful for getting some of your most burning questions answered especially if one-on-one time is rare at your company. Your questions could relate to the status of your department, expectations for the development of your role, or the overall goals of the company.

7. Be Ready for Feedback

Be prepared for feedback during your performance review. Even if you’ve been doing great work, it’s almost guaranteed you’re going to receive some constructive criticism. But instead of becoming defensive or feeling like you’re being personally attacked, take is a way to improve how your approach your role and execute your day-to-day tasks.

Are You Prepared for Your Performance Review?

If your performance review is just around the corner, there's no need to panic. These tips will help make your performance review go more smoothly.