Peak Performance: Your Performance Review

by Staff - Original publish date: January 18, 2012

Typically, employees have performance reviews once or possibly twice a year. You might have a performance review after your first three months in a new job, to make sure it's a good fit. If it has been more than two years since your last performance review and your last raise, you are probably overdue.

Some companies schedule everyone's performance review at the same time, for example the end of the calendar year. Others conduct performance reviews at employees' anniversary dates. In either case, make sure your review happens. If your company seems to be dragging its feet, take the initiative to ask for a performance review.

Your performance review is all about you. Make sure, then, that you're the focus of the conversation from start to finish. Schedule the meeting with your manager, rather than trying to catch her or him in the hallway. Close the door and try to keep your manager from answering the phone. Chances are your manager will take the meeting seriously and be prepared to focus on your performance. The conversation should last at least an hour. Money talk comes later.

Your manager may ask you to talk about your general progress throughout the review period. If you have completed a self-appraisal, you should be able to summarize your progress effectively in terms that relate to measurable goals.

Give detailed examples. For example, saying you brought in $500,000 in revenue to the company is more effective and memorable than saying you helped to increase company revenue. Your self-appraisal should include notes to remind you of these achievements.

Your manager will also have filled out a review form for you prior to the meeting. Your manager's review of you should not differ too much from your self-appraisal if both parties have been fair and just in their judgments. There should be no surprises.

Employees tend to judge their own performance more harshly than their bosses do. Don't be surprised if your manager believes you did a better job than you think you did.

Nevertheless, a constructive performance review includes suggestions for ways to improve your performance. Be prepared to talk about a plan to address any shortcomings, such as supplemental training or additional guidance from supervisors.

Your performance review is also a good occasion to discuss any necessary changes to your job description. Updating your job description from time to time can ensure that you are evaluated fairly and that your performance can be measured accordingly. Sometimes, the revisions to your job description may point to a promotion.

At the end of the discussion, you should be given a new set of goals. You and your supervisor should agree that they are achievable, and revise the list as necessary. Tangible goals will enable you to focus your work on what the company finds most valuable.