For many of us, the time for midyear performance discussions is fast approaching. While we often approach this discussion with a sense of dread, it is actually the perfect opportunity to check-in and do some self-reflection on how you are progressing with the goals you set yourself at the beginning of the year. Furthermore, it’s also a great time to check-in, personally and professionally, on how fulfilled you are and what changes you need to make to thrive during the second half of the year.
It is important to keep in mind that while we often view performance reviews as a ‘tick the box exercise’, they are, in actual fact, a reflection on your perceived value within the organisation and a discussion about your potential opportunities, salary and promotion prospects.
Knowing this, it’s clear to see how important it is that you give this exercise the time it deserves, whether it be the preparation, the discussion and any follow up identified.
Preparation is the key to ensuring you have a productive and constructive conversation with your manager. Use the following tips to help you;
Your manager will not remember all you have accomplished during the year. Therefore, It is your responsibility and opportunity to outline all of your achievements during the given period to prove your value..
When I managed a team in banking, I always told my team that it was my responsibility to advocate for them, and their responsibility to give me the ammunition. This is your time to provide your manager with the right ammunition.
Collect your Accomplishments
Use your calendar and email history to help you prepare by reminding yourself and taking notes about your accomplishments so far this year.
You should create a folder (if you haven’t already) within your emails called Performance Review. Each time you have an email or interaction that you think warrants an inclusion – save it to this folder.
Make sure to save the positive endorsements you have received prior to the review. This will make your job easier for midyear or end of year reviews. Make sure to include some of the following items::
• Your specific Metrics & KPIs (goals provided at the start of the year)
• Communication skills; verbal & written
• Problem solving
• Challenges you have faced and overcome
• Projects you have worked on
• Ability to achieve goals and meet deadlines
• Team Building activities such as mentoring, training etc
Review against Goal Setting
It’s very important to clearly match your accomplishments with the goals that you were given at the start of the year. Some goals will have been achieved, others you might still be working on.
In addition, you may have identified new goals and this is your opportunity to show how your performance has grown and evolved.
Set new goals
It is always best to be proactive about areas that you need to work on. Based on your assessment of the first half of the year, you should identify at least 2-3 new goals that you want to achieve prior to year-end.
Complete your self-assessment form
Now that you have collated all this information, make sure it is all documented well in advance of your meeting. If you do not have a formal assessment form to complete, ensure you document all the key points you want to raise in the discussion prior to the meeting. This will help you keep the discussion on track. Don’t forget to raise any key points!
The discussion itself
Once you are in the meeting with your manager, use these key tips to ensure a proactive and constructive discussion.
Research shows that women do not self-promote to the same extent as their male colleagues, even when their performance has been at the same level. According to men tend to rate their performance 33% higher than equally performing women. Unfortunately, research has not yet fully understood the reasons behind this.
In my experience, much of this comes from the societal expectations of women that we should let our performance speak for itself and should not self-promote. Even now, I can imagine as some of you read this, the word self-promotion alone will raise negative connotations. Remember, there is a big difference between self-promotion and shameless self-promotion.
In using the term self-promotion, I am asking you to ensure that you have documented and speak about your accomplishments. This can be done in a manner that you are comfortable with and is specific to you. All the information you are documenting should accurate and truthful.
Career Plan discussions
You must ensure that you are prepared to discuss your career projection plans in full. Your manager should come out of this meeting knowing what your goals are for advancement and growth within the organisation. This is your opportunity to voice your thoughts on topics such as promotions, exposure to other types of projects, more responsibilities etc.
It’s very important to be seen as a positive and engaged member of the team, who is not only contributing to the KPIs but also the wellbeing of the team.
This is an opportunity for you to show how open you are to receiving feedback. More often than not, we perceive feedback as negative. In actual fact, feedback is truly an opportunity for you to up your game and show how willing you are to receive and act on constructive feedback.
The goal of feedback is not to make you feel bad, it is intended to help you grow and bring out the best of your abilities.
Listen actively to what is being said. We have a tendency to listen with the intention of giving an immediate response, preparing to defend ourselves, rather than absorbing what we are hearing. It is important that you are seen as open to feedback, whether it be positive or constructive.
If you are unclear about something – ask questions! You cannot change your performance or improve if you do not fully understand where you are falling short or the expectations that are not being met.
Build a relationship with your manager
This is an opportunity to better understand the goals of your manager and the team that you are working within. Don’t be afraid to your team members what their priorities for the remainder of the year are?
How as a team are we currently tracking against our yearly goals?
Whilst you can be extremely busy, if you aren’t working on the areas that your manager sees as the priorities, your hard work may go unrecognised. Performance reviews are the time to make sure your activities are aligned against your manager’s and team goals.