Make the Most of Your Performance Review

Does your manager or company check in with you at regular intervals to measure your performance, set goals and provide constructive feedback? Companies that prioritize performance reviews have a turnover rate that is nearly 15% less than their competitors that don’t check in with their employees regularly. In addition, 69% of employees said that they would work harder if they thought their efforts would be recognized by their managers.*

Knowing the benefits to both the employer and employee, it makes sense to talk with your manager about your company’s review process. Here are a few tips to nail your next performance review:

1. Make Sure You Get Reviewed

Some companies have a formal procedure, such as semi-annual or end-of-the-year performance reviews; other companies don’t. When you begin any new position, ask about the review process. Consider requesting a three-month review or check-in to make sure there isn’t a big gap between expectations and performance.

Don’t worry if your company doesn’t have a formal review policy. Instead, approach your manager and request an annual review. Ask them to set aside at least a half-hour meeting to discuss your work, any projects you’d like to work on, your successes, and ways you can improve.

2. Back It Up

Being prepared for a meeting is a great feeling—and your performance review shouldn’t be any different. Take the time to write down the projects you’ve been working on and be sure to include positive comments on your work from clients and colleagues, as this feedback can help make the case that you’re a valued part of the team and can be trusted with more responsibility.

3. Consider Your Strengths… and Weaknesses

Write down the strengths you believe you bring to your position and company. Think about any ways these strengths have contributed to your company’s bottom line. Have you saved the company money? Have you made a project more time-efficient? Consider any specific measure of how you’ve helped the business to grow or become more profitable.

Along with these accomplishments, don’t be afraid to write down weaknesses you feel you need to work on. We are often our own harshest critics and discussing what you feel to be a weakness may open up a discussion about how you can improve. Your manager could suggest training or experiences to help you grow stronger in your position.

4. Set Your Own Goals

Are you looking for a promotion or to be included on a new project? Take the time to figure out where you’d like your career to be within the next year and write down the steps you’d like to take to get there. Share your goals with your manager and ask them how they recommend you reach them—and how the company can help.

5. Ask for More

We aren’t talking about a raise…yet. Show your interest in advancing by asking for more responsibility; if you’re already feeling swamped, be sure to tell your employer that you need additional resources. Whatever your needs are, be sure you’re communicating them to your boss—they can’t help you if they don’t know what you’d like to improve.

6. Accept Feedback

We’d all love to receive a glowing performance review, but that shouldn’t be how it works, as everyone—no matter what stage in their career—can be working on improving their skills or performance. When your manager or HR representative provides you with constructive criticism, be sure to maintain a positive and forward-thinking frame of mind. Don’t dwell on mistakes you may have made—focus on finding solutions that work for everyone. If, however, you feel criticism of your work is truly unwarranted or that there’s a large delta between how you and your employer view the overall quality of your work, speak up and ask for clarification.

7. Raise the Stakes

If you plan to approach your company about a pay increase, keep in mind that every company’s compensation policy is different. Some companies include a performance pay increase and bonus along with the review process—and some may be dependent on how the business is doing. Before your review, compare your pay to other people who have similar years of experience, titles and work in similar industries. Doing this research in advance can help you make the case for a raise. If you are seeking a performance-based raise, make sure you have ample documentation to prove why you deserve it. Be ready to make a strong case for why you deserve more based on your performance and back it up with documentation.

Bottom line: Performance reviews can be a source of anxiety and stress, but they don’t have to be. Be an advocate for your work and accept feedback with a positive attitude. Remember, reviews are meant to bridge your view of your work with your manager’s view. Reviews are also a time to reflect on your professional goals and your work successes and setbacks. Knowing where you stand today helps you move forward in the right direction.

*2016 LinkedIn Employee Engagement Study