It’s January and that means many people are scheduling their annual performance review. What do you expect from this session?
In an ideal world, this meeting offers employees at every level of an organization the time to reflect and grow. Standard performance reviews rate abilities and job functions on a numerical scale. It dissects soft skills and present opportunities for career development.
Best-case scenario, employees walk away with a clear understanding of where they excel and where there is room for improvement.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Performance reviews have gained a negative reputation. A 2019 Workhuman Analytics & Research study revealed more than 55 percent of employees believe annual reviews don’t improve their performance.
“The challenge with annual reviews is that they’re a collection of indirect, out-of-context feedback that a supervisor or boss is supposed to deliver long after a project has ended, so the feedback is no longer educational or useful,” Susan Clarke, co-founder of Thrive, a coaching and consulting firm in Whitefish, Mont, told the Society for Human Resources Management.
Every review is not created equally. Sometimes the reviewer is not engaged. Sometimes the reviewee is not open to feedback. At worst, a review does not offer tangible suggestions.
Don’t get discouraged if the meeting itself is less than helpful. And if you get an insightful, thoughtful review, don’t let the knowledge go to waste.
First, build an action plan
Look at your performance review and identify your areas for growth in the upcoming year. Let’s say you have an overall goal of redesigning the company website. Break that large goal into smaller pieces and put them into a development plan over the next several months.
Why is this important?
Show your superiors you paid attention during your review and are taking action against it. If you set up regular progress meetings, your colleagues will see your dedication to meeting personal and company objectives. Think of these meetings as a personal public relations campaign to highlight your performance.
Next, invest in self-awareness
Learn more about yourself and predict future workplace performance with a leadership assessment. This analysis will dive into how you work, lead, and achieve success. Do not try to administer a test on your own. The results will not be as in-depth useful. Trained practitioners will provide feedback that gives a comprehensive picture of you as an individual and a leader.
Why this is important?
These sessions are worth the investment because they unlock opportunities for you to advance your career. You can share leadership assessments during the interview process to tell future employers how you will fit into their organization. You can do more at your current position with a clearer understanding of your workplace performance.
Here’s a real-world example. During her assessment, one executive discovered that she was a “cautious” leader. That meant, in stressful situations she tended to rely only on herself to complete tasks. She would not coach others or delegate. This leader took on the majority of the work and it could be to her determent. During her assessment, the executive uncovered this trait. She learned to be a better leader she needed to rely on her team members and share responsibility with them. The assessment revealed a way to work better with her colleagues and evolve as an executive.
Also, identify learning and development opportunities
Comb through your performance review to find areas where you can build on your existing hard and soft skills. Perhaps you’d like to have better time management, increase problem-solving skills, or even attend leadership seminars. If you do not have a big budget to attend conferences, find webinars and books in your practice area.
Why this is important?
Attending training sessions will propel your career forward. The skills and strategies you learn in these courses will make you more desirable to current and potential employers. Move to the front of your field, become a leader who drives results. Integrate your knowledge into your day-to-day work. Share what you’ve learned at your progress check-ins with your supervisor.
Your journey starts here
The end of your performance review is the beginning of the next steps of your career. No matter if the session was thoughtful or bare bones, use whatever feedback you got to become a more self-aware employee.
If you need career coaching, consider investing in a leadership assessment as your first step. You can take what you’ve learned and apply it to where you are today and where you’re headed tomorrow.