5 Ways to Ace Your Performance Review

5 Ways to Ace Your Performance Review

Performance evaluations have never been a fun time for anyone.

Workers often don’t like them because they feel sandbagged by managers who catch them unaware with complaints. Managers don’t like them because they’d rather not confront unpleasant issues with workers.

Despite the dislike, performance evaluations are probably here to stay for a while. More companies have been using them in a down economy as a basis for getting rid of low performers, and that practice is likely to continue.

If you want to ensure you’re seen as a key player in your company, then it’s more important than ever than you have a stellar performance review. Here are some ways to get a review that’s going to shine in your personnel file:

1. Provide evidence of your good work.

Make sure you can cite specific instances of how your skills or abilities have had a positive impact, and how you used your skills to overcome obstacles. The impact will be greater if you can share a short story of how you helped retain a customer or came up with an idea for a new service. Anything that can show you’re thinking about the bottom line plays well with the boss. You should also focus on how you fulfilled job description duties, and how you met the goals from your last performance evaluation.

2. Don’t be defensive.

Nothing frustrates a boss more than having an employee claim he or she is not responsible for any problems, or someone else is to blame. If you make a mistake, admit it – then quickly move on to how you’re taking action to improve the problem and learn from it. Managers want to create a dialogue, not have a “he said, she said” conversation. Listen carefully – even taking notes – when the manager mentions problem areas. This shows you’re committed to making the necessary improvements.

3. Don’t grovel.

Employees consistently rate themselves lower than their supervisors. Be realistic, but don’t constantly put yourself down. Appraisals are the most effective when there is give-and-take, and employees don’t sit there and agree with everything the supervisor says, or issue one apology after another.

4. Don’t talk about money.

The appraisal process is like the first row of brick in building a house. It’s just the beginning. You use the positive things from the appraisal to build on. Managers will balk when money is brought up during an appraisal, and try and get by with handing out the least amount possible. In addition, some companies forbid managers from tying the appraisal process to compensation.

5. Walk out with a roadmap.

Managers should give you specific areas you need to work on, and you should further fill in the gaps by asking questions. The manager wants you to be more team-oriented – does she have specific people or projects she’d like you to focus on? Use this roadmap throughout the year to make sure you’re on track, and don’t hesitate to check in with your boss to make sure you’re meeting expectations. That’s the best way to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises in your performance review next year.