Sakshma had her quarterly performance review coming up. As a 3-year-old employee, she was fairly confident about what she wanted to say during the meeting. She made a list of her accomplishments, highlighting her strengths. At the same time, she articulated her weaknesses to discuss ways in which she can improve.
As her preparation was airtight, Sakshma was able to get her points across in the meeting. Not only did she talk confidently but also provided feedback to her manager. A two-way feedback channel gave her the chance to address her concerns, give creative ideas and also acknowledge her manager’s trust in her.
Sakshma’s performance review process was smooth, streamlined and well-planned. But this may not be the case for all. Many times, we go in unprepared, with half a mind to ‘go with the flow’. It’s important to note that a performance review is your chance to stand out and establish yourself as a dedicated and motivated employee.
Read on to discover the meaning of performance review and how to tackle performance feedback.
What Is A Performance Review?
In any organization, employees have to undergo regular performance review meetings with their immediate supervisor/ manager. The purpose of these meetings is to conduct a review of what you’ve done in the past week, month or quarter. They assess whether you were able to meet your targets or goals or if there are any areas for improvement and performance feedback.
Performance reviews are a great way to communicate with your organization. You can use this opportunity to talk about things like trying something new, collaborating with different teams or initiating projects. A performance meeting should ideally allow you room to be honest with your feedback. You can ask relevant questions about your progress, your manager’s expectations from you and how you can improve.
Here are some common characteristics of an employee performance review:
Many organizations schedule regular performance review meetings, which may be weekly, monthly or quarterly
There are one-on-one meetings with your manager where you can talk about how far you’ve come, skills you’ve built and what you’ve learned as a result
You get a chance to address any concerns you may have such as communication barriers or getting more opportunities on the job to expand your skills portfolio
Some organizations encourage two-way feedback as well so you can give feedback to your manager in a professional context
These meetings are generally used to discuss goals for the next quarter or so with actionable, measurable and achievable targets
Performance reviews may also be called performance appraisals. Many of us go into these meetings hoping for a financial appraisal or salary increment. These are based on whether you were able to meet your targets, exceed expectations and be productive.
How To Prepare For A Performance Appraisal
Just like a job interview, you should always prepare for a performance review process. Preparation means making notes, thinking through discussion points and coming up with relevant questions that solve your purpose. If you want to discuss something like opportunities to work in foreign offices or a promotion, this is your chance.
Here’s how you can prepare for your performance feedback meeting:
Note-Making And Note-Taking
There are two aspects to making notes: one is what you do in preparation for a meeting and the other is similar to preparing minutes. Note-making will help you organize your thoughts and come up with valid, meaningful and relevant points to talk about. You don’t want to end up with a blank stare and no talking points. Your notes will act as a roadmap that guides the conversation, giving you and your manager a chance to touch upon things that are important as part of your learning curve. You can discuss any problems you may be having with your teammates. But if you’re discussing problems, always pair them with solutions. This way you don’t come across as someone who has nothing to add to the team.
Compile Your Accomplishments
Whether you’ve received a ‘High-Achiever’ or perfect attendance award, surpassed your targets or bagged a huge client, start recording your accomplishments. A spreadsheet where you list all you’ve achieved will help keep track of your successes. If you’re vying for a promotion, your wins will build you a stronger case. Just saying you’re an excellent team player isn’t enough. Prove it with the help of examples like team targets, conflict resolution or problem-solving.
Think About What You Want From Your Role
Over time, we can get complacent in our job roles. It may be because we fall into a routine and our tasks become habits. But you should always push yourself to do more and be an even better version of yourself. Your employee performance review is the platform where you can explore new opportunities. Maybe you want to study on the job, sign up for learning opportunities to upskill and grow your skill set or even transfer to another department. Whatever your dreams for the future, you should be confident enough to talk about them openly.
Make A List Of Questions
A performance review is one of the most important conversations in your professional life. As a conversation entails a two-way dialogue, you must prepare certain questions to ask. For example, “what are your expectations from me for the next quarter?”, “what’s the organization aiming for in terms of revenue or sales targets?” or “what can I do to be a better employee?”. Ask about your performance, anything you can do to improve and whether there are new avenues you can explore in your current role. Taking initiative assures your manager that you’re interested in growing as their employee and contributing toward the organization’s growth as well.
Give Yourself A Rating
Before going into the meeting, give yourself a performance evaluation. Either talk to someone you trust or do this by yourself. Make points and prepare answers as to why you deserve a raise or a promotion. Rate your work and outcomes so you’re well-prepared and confident in the actual meeting. Take this time to measure your progress, skills and abilities. You can also identify any weak areas that you’re willing to work on if you have the right platform.
Preparing for an employee performance review can be simple because you will discuss what you already know. The meeting is for and about you. Your manager has taken the time to discuss what the organization can do for you and vice versa. Use this time well and frame your points in line with your thoughts.
The Art Of Performance Feedback
Performance feedback is critical to your review. What your manager wants to discuss and what you want to talk about play into how well your review goes. If your organization encourages two-way feedback, you should really use this as an opportunity to discuss how you can improve your work life. Of course, you have to be mindful of how you go about it because they’re still your boss, but there’s no reason why you can’t be honest.
It’s important to be confident about your work style and contribution to your team. As a valued member of the organization, you have every right to speak your mind. But how do you do it? Here are some pointers:
Prepare your points in advance so you know exactly what you have to say
Be mindful of your relationship with your manager and be honest about your position
If you want to address barriers like not getting enough facetime with your senior, you can bring it up during the meeting
Propose ways to improve your working relationship, whether through group activities or more collaborative efforts
If you have ideas to improve your relationship with your manager, you can discuss those as well
Your initiative to do your job well, learn and grow as an employee shows you’re dedicated. More often than not, we’re not able to communicate what we think about our job and the organization. Use your performance review as a space to discuss these things. But don’t forget it’s a formal meeting with your manager. Be cordial, professional and respectful of their time.
Harappa’s Managing Teamwork course is here to teach you what you need to know about feedback—giving and receiving. You’ll learn how to establish a two-way feedback channel and use it wisely. Teamwork is the essence of any organization and your performance review will account for how you are as a team member.
Forming strong teams, contributing equally and understanding others are part of effective teamwork. The better you are at working in a team, the more impressed your manager will be. Solve workplace conflicts like a pro and understand different work styles with the Social Styles Model. Master the art of feedback and learn how to work well in teams by enrolling today.
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