One of the main reasons people hate performance reviews is the official/unofficial formality boundaries that make the whole process seem much more intimidating than it has to be.
What we could do, however, is change the way we think about performance reviews. All we have to do is re-frame what is generally seen as a formal, intimidating, negative experience into an opportunity for growth and learning. Try using our following top 3 tips for reframing the performance review, and you might find that you will get a whole lot more out of your next one.
1. Be prepared.
Just like a boy scout. Sounds obvious, but performance reviews are not necessarily something you want to just wing.
A performance review isn’t just looking at all the things you could be doing better; it’s also an official forum for you to ask the company you’re with for all the things you want. Whether you’re looking for a promotion, flexibility, a pay rise, or you want to learn new things and be exposed to new and exciting opportunities; this is your chance to ask for that.
Think about what you want to get out of the review before you turn up. Look at your work, your reputation, and your working relationships – and be honest with yourself – and figure out how you should go about moving onto the next steps. After all, if we’re not growing, changing, and learning, why are we working?
2. Know how to act during the review.
It doesn’t matter how close you are with your manager; your performance review is not the time to be ribbing on them or dropping personal jokes. Show them you’re taking this seriously.
Likewise, if you’re not buddies with your manager, don’t treat them as if they’re a stranger. They probably know a lot more about you – through your clients, not to mention the people you work with – than you would think.
Don’t be rude or demanding. Don’t go asking for ridiculous things you know you won’t get. Be honest about your mistakes and oversights (we all make them), and – perhaps most importantly – don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. Just a little toot; don’t go bringing out the marching band. The point is, if you know you’re doing a good job, tell them. Give them examples of tasks you’ve pulled off, or projects you’ve done well. Bring evidence with you, like emails you’ve been sent thanking you for your work.
It’s not all about facts and figures. This is information your manger can easily get without even talking to you; the performance review is the opportunity for them to see the human side of you.
3. Don’t get defensive.
What happens if you don’t agree with your review? We’ve all been on the receiving end of ‘constructive’ feedback or had sanctions imposed on us we felt were unfair.
The trick here is not to argue, and never say those four words – “that wasn’t my fault.” You’ll just look like you can’t accept feedback, constructive or not. Listen to what your reviewer has to say and tell them your point of view in return. Or, if you need time to think about it, ask for that time. Decide on a timeframe for you to come back to your reviewer, and make sure you do it.
4. Get Proactive.
Last, but absolutely not least: hustle. If you weren’t granted all your wishes in your review, make sure you understand what you need to do to get them, and do it. Communicate with your manager; tell them how you’re going with your feedback; show them that you listened, and you’re making the necessary changes. Use your performance review as not just what your manager has to say about you, but as a chance to take stock and assess yourself.
Best of luck, we hope the process helps set you up for an even better year ahead.