End of financial year: The time of year that can create equal parts stress from the pressures of meeting targets and anticipation for the clean slate ahead (and, if you’re lucky, EOFY celebrations).
As intimidating and tedious as they can sometimes be, performance reviews provide an excellent opportunity for you to evaluate your successes and challenges from the past 12 months and set objectives for the year ahead. It’s also the time to think about your longer-term career and personal goals and how you’re tracking towards achieving them.
Hopefully you’re in a work environment with an open-door policy and you’re comfortable in bringing up any challenges you’re facing day to day. But if not, this is the time to do it. Transparency is key.
How to Prepare
Many companies are very structured when it comes to review time, providing you with a set of questions and tools to evaluate your own performance. Other companies, however, are less prescriptive, so it is up to you to compile relevant data or information to discuss.
Failure to prepare properly means that you’re less likely to get any benefit from the meeting, and you’ll be left feeling ill-equipped to work towards your professional and personal goals.
Evaluating your performance
Hopefully you have a wealth of statistics at your fingertips on a company database. If not, review your position description and any specific targets that have been set for you.
Consider the following:
What are your KPIs? How are you tracking now vs. where you wanted to be?
The strength of relationships you’ve built with both external and internal stakeholders
What have you enjoyed most about your role? What have you enjoyed least?
What successes have you experienced? Do you have figures/data to back them up?
What were the biggest challenges you faced? Do you have any suggestions on how they can be addressed?
Your Manager and the Team
What kind of relationship do you have with your manager?
What works well and what could be improved?
How well do you feel that you fit into the team and what do you do to promote collaboration?
Company Culture and Values
Think about the culture of the company. What do you like and what do you think could be improved?
What are the company values? How do you align with them and how do you live and breathe those values?
Your immediate and longer term goals
What are they?
What are you currently doing to reach those goals?
What do you need to do to get you closer? E.g. Additional training, more responsibility, exposure to different areas of the business or mentoring from a colleague
This can be a tricky topic to broach. Do your market research, know the industry norms, and if you feel that you deserve a salary increase, be prepared with examples of your achievements that warrant this. They say, ‘don’t ask, don’t get’ but you also have to be able to back yourself and your performance.
Whilst performance reviews are a great tool for reviewing your successes and planning ahead, it’s important to remember that if something is weighing you down at work, don’t wait for this once-a-year opportunity to bring it up. The same goes for that awesome light bulb idea – don’t hold back on proposing new initiatives!
As daunting as reviews can be, do the ground work, be prepared, and use your review as an opportunity to set yourself up for great year ahead!