10 Tips to Get More From Your Performance Review

Performance review season is upon us. This presents an opportunity for employees to demonstrate their accomplishments and distinguish themselves and their value to the organization. In this challenging economy it is important to use this critical tool to its best advantage as it has significant impact on pay, professional development and, even job security.

Here are ten tips to make the annual performance review work best for you, while also making it easier on your boss to write you a terrific review.

Know Your Role for your Performance Review

If you are uncertain about any aspect of your job, seek clarification. A great place to start is a detailed list of job duties or, if available, an official job description from your manager or human resources department. If no description exists, use the Salary Wizard® to search for one or two jobs that are close matches to your job. You, along with your manager, can develop an appropriate description from there.

Be “Engaged” in the Review Process

Many workers are missing important opportunities to maximize their earning potential by not devoting more effort to their performance review. Be an active participant in establishing your goals from the start. Focus on key objectives and define a plan that makes sense for you and your employer.

Set Goals that are Reasonable and Relevant

When establishing goals, make sure they are meaningful. There should be value in doing a particular activity. Each goal must be relevant to the work you do each day and should be mutually agreed upon by you and your manager.

View goals as a project plan

Make your goals your mission for the year. Keep goals current, track progress, and update goals as appropriate to reflect any changes in your role or responsibilities. Remember that although goals are set to achieve certain work-based objectives, they can also yield personal rewards in the form of professional and developmental growth and greater earnings potential.

Document your accomplishments for your performance review

No one pays closer attention to your work than you do. Highlighting your accomplishments and making a case for yourself can significantly enhance your annual performance review and the promotion or salary increase that often goes with it. Document your accomplishments along the way and let your boss know when you have reached established milestones. If you reach a stumbling block along the way, seek advice on how to best resolve the issue.

Show an interest in additional training

If you don’t have access to the tools or training necessary to achieve a particular objective, be sure to ask. Your employer will see that you want to improve the quality of your work and are interested in professional growth. Additional training will make you more valuable to the organization and set you up for the next step in your career.

Check-in with your boss for progress updates on your performance

Have an open dialogue with your boss throughout the year so you have a better sense of where you stand and how your progress is being perceived. Don’t leave all of this discussion for the annual review. Try to conduct brief, informal discussions throughout the performance review period. Taking time to check shows your boss that you are interested in performing well and are working hard toward achieving goals.

Share positive feedback

Feedback from colleagues and/or customers is valuable when you are preparing for a review. If someone sends you a thank you via e-mail or on paper, keep it on file. If someone says something complimentary, ask him or her to put it in writing.

Demonstrate a Positive Attitude

Performance is about results, but some great performers can have bad attitudes. Employers look for employees that produce quality work and are flexible and easy to work with. Think seriously about what your general behavior conveys to those around you. Try to be “likeable” in a business sense by being pleasant, respectful and courteous to colleagues.

Utilize Performance Review Feedback

When you get constructive feedback during a performance review, listen to it carefully and objectively. If part of the feedback is difficult to hear, try not to appear defensive. Instead, take time to consider what was said and try to make improvements in your work habits to avoid similar comments in the future. Companies value employees who can accept professional guidance.

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