Performance reviews can create a nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach. You may wonder if you’re going to get “in trouble” for something you’ve done. You may have some anxiety around whether you might get a raise. It doesn’t even really matter if you are expecting a good or bad review. Just the idea of having one may create some worry. However, the reality is that a performance review can allow you to align your goals to your employers for a more beneficial relationship. Here are some tips for getting the best out of your performance review process.

Maximizing Your Performance Review

The reality that many managers won’t admit (to you, anyway) is that they hate the review process as much as you do. Many managers prefer more informal feedback more frequently, but corporate HR policies often dictate a more formal annual review process. So you and your manager may both feel a little weak in the knees at the idea of a formal review.

If you’ve never been through it before, you can prepare for the process by asking your coworkers what their experience was like. This will help you combat your fear of the unknown, which is a big part of what’s probably making you worry. Find out how these performance assessments are used. Do raises stem from these reviews? Do people get fired as a result of this process? In your company, what does the idea of a performance review mean, anyway? Find these things out, and you’ll feel a little more self-assured during the process.

Now, think about yourself. How have you performed during the time period under your review process? It’s always a great idea to keep a running list of your accomplishments during the year, and your annual review is the place to pull these details out to share. Go ahead and create a short write-up of all things you’ve accomplished in the past year. Be very specific about the tasks you’ve accomplished and the value you’ve added to the company. All of these things will help you feel confident as you meet with your manager.

One other area you should think about is how to respond if you receive a bad review. Carefully think through how you will respond in the moment to be sure you don’t burn any bridges with this employer. We recommend that you don’t respond right away to a bad review. Let your manager know you’d like a few days to review their comments and then meet again to respond. Two things will happen here. The first may be that when you cool down, you realize that the manager wasn’t too far off the mark on their comments about you. That means you have an opportunity to develop some new behaviors that will improve your evaluation the next time around.

Or, you may believe that your evaluation is completely off-center. If that’s the case, maybe it’s time to call IES. We work with candidates to help them find the right career opportunities. Start the conversation to find out how we can help.

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