As we move into the fourth quarter and end of the year, it is performance review time at many companies. Even if your company already has a specific structure for this, you want to design your own agenda – you will always be your own strongest career advocate.
Here are nine items you want to cover in your year-end performance review:
1. Your accomplishments
Do not assume that your manager remembers what you accomplished or knows the extent of what you did when it’s a group accomplishment. Throughout the year, keep a file of emails citing you for a job well-done or customer testimonials or presentations or other output that you produced. This can provide tangible evidence of your claims and a good reminder so you don’t forget anything. If you haven’t been keeping a brag file, start now! For this upcoming review, use the calendar to jog your memory – review past appointments and presentations so you remember everything you worked on and can highlight the best of what you did.
(2) Your day-to-day responsibilities
Specific wins are important, but so are ongoing, day-to-day responsibilities, and you can’t assume your manager knows everything you’re doing here either. With restructuring and roles getting combined, you might have taken on much more than your manager remembers. Your annual review is the perfect time to confirm with your manager how much responsibility you have.
3. Areas to develop – skills and qualities
Many managers actually have a tough time giving negative feedback, so if your review has nothing critical, do not assume it’s because everything is just fine. Even if your job is not in jeopardy in any way, you still want to find out what you could be doing better for your own professional and personal development. To this end, ask about specific skills – e.g., analysis, presentation, communication – as well as qualities — e.g., attitude, enthusiasm – you should work on. Let your manager know that you would appreciate this candid information so you can improve. This invitation to feedback can put your manager at ease and hopefully yield some useful insights. Where possible, ask for specific examples where you fell short or a negative quality surfaced, so you’re clear on exactly what you need to work on.
(4) Strengths – skills and qualities
On the flip side, you also want to hear what went well – skills and qualities, both with specific examples. You want to be able to build on your strengths. You also want to understand what your manager values. You may be doing something your manager loves that you don’t realize is important – for example, the way you summarize your project updates. If this is the case, you may be able to bring that reporting style into other things you have to present.
(5) Priorities for the company
In addition to better understanding what your manager values, you also want to understand what the company prioritizes. The year-end review is a great time to clarify with your manager what the current company priorities are and what, if any, changes are on the horizon. You can let your manager know that you want to make sure you’re working on the highest priorities.