July 18, 2017
How to Maximize Your Annual Review
Like them or not (let’s be honest: not), reviews are a necessary part of any job, both for the employee and the employer. In a perfect world, you would know how you’re performing at any given time. But with huge teams, multiple layers of management, a lack of company transparency, and busy schedules, it’s not always the reality. Here lies the beauty of formalized reviews (yes, the words beauty and reviews are in the very same sentence). So whether your company reviews you on the industry standard of once a year or maybe more frequently, trust me when I say that you need to see this opportunity as much more than just an awkward conversation where your achievements are celebrated and your shortcomings are called out. Your review is a prime opportunity to really find out where you stand, how you’re progressing in your role, and what you can do to grow at the company. You gotta make the best use of it! If you’re preparing for a review in the near future, I have some insight for you on how to maximize that conversation, both for you and your employer.
If this isn’t your first go-round at the company, lucky you, as you have a leg up. Ask your employer for your last review and take some time to go over it. Evaluate where you stood then and where you stand now. Put yourself in your employer’s shoes. How would you rate yourself? Highlight your biggest accomplishments over the last year. Identify some areas that could stand improvement. Be ready to talk about your future at the company and where you hope to be in the next year, two years, five years, etc. Take some notes and bring them with you. Above all, be honest with yourself. And if it’s your first review at the company, don’t panic. Ask yourself the same questions to prepare.
Leave your emotions at home
I get it. Reviews get a bad rap. But they don’t have to be that way. This isn’t a place to get emotional, and you shouldn’t be upset or offended at any point during your review. Remind yourself, then remind yourself again if you feel your emotions creeping up, that everything is coming from a good place. Your employer truly wants to see you learn, grow and thrive, and this is their way of helping you do so.
Bring your notebook and a pen to your review. It’ll swoop in as a backup when you’re asked the given “how would you rate yourself?” (here’s where that thoughtful preparation comes in). And you’ll want to ensure you’re taking notes throughout. That feedback will come in handy, I promise you! If you’re given a specific action plan for improvement, be diligent about your notes. They’ll serve as a roadmap for you over the next year as you grow, and they’ll be a good reference point when you’re prepping for your next review.
Just like an interview, a review is a conversation. Don’t let it be one-sided. Stay engaged. Ask questions. Make suggestions for how you can do better. Offer insights for your action plan. Don’t be afraid to dream big when you talk about your future at the company. Be an active participant in your review, even during the tough parts. This not only proves your investment and dedication to your own career, but to the company as well.
Now go put on your game face, and nail your review!
Do or die,
Allyson Conklin is ACPR’s Founder & Principal. Born in California (but considers Fort Collins her true home), she’s a dogmom, natural skincare obsessee, blue and white ceramics collector, and strength training devotee.
Photo courtesy of @allysonconklinpr