Performance reviews are an opportunity for you and your manager to have a “year-in-review” conversation. This is a two-way conversation where you are able to receive feedback on how well you’ve performed over the course of the year and begin to focus on the future. It’s also an opportunity for you to share any needs you may have for coaching, feedback, and professional development.
In a perfect world, your manager would have recently taken a course on writing and delivering performance appraisals. She would believe conceptually in the value of performance discussions and she would recognize her part in the process. She would have blocked out enough time to have a meaningful discussion without interruptions. She would have communicated your many contributions during the year and gently but firmly conveyed areas that need improvement. She would not surprise you as you two have been in close contact throughout the year. She would champion your work.
In my 29 years as an HR professional, it is very rare to have a manager who does everything listed above. Therefore, it is important for you, the employee, to do as much as possible to generate a positive and productive meeting. And if you prepare, and your manager prepares, wow, it’s amazing what will happen!
Ideally, the performance review conversation is less about last year and more about the future, and you have every opportunity to shape the conversation. You can’t change your past performance but you can impact the future. So what did you learn? How did you grow? What would you do differently? What did you feel really good about? What do you need from your manager and the organization?
Self-appraisals allow you the time to reflect and prepare for the performance review conversation. The self appraisal creates a pre-conversation allowing you and your manager to have an understanding of each other’s perceptions. Self-evaluations also help you understand your manager’s perceptions regarding your:
- most important job responsibilities
- areas of excellence
- opportunities for growth and development
As you begin to prepare for your review ask yourself, “What would make my performance review conversation more meaningful and helpful?” It’s important to approach the conversation with positive thoughts and to be curious.
Also remember to ask:
- Open Questions
- “What additional responsibilities can I take on?”
- “Can you tell me more about your expectations regarding…project?
I would love to hear about a positive performance review experience you have had during your career.