This week at Citrus Connect has been a diary full of quarterly reviews, including our Founder! We think to work as an effective team, honesty and openness are key. That’s why everyone gets constructive feedback on their work, no matter their position.
So, How do you prepare for your quarterly review?
1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK Request your role’s most current job description and goals, including your KPI’s – this includes competencies and development plans set out for you at your last review. Use this as a foundation for preparing details on your wins, strengths, and areas for development Gather any regular reports you’ve created (e.g. weekly reports, monthly highlights, project status reports). They’ll help you recall performance highlights and milestones, as well as any challenges.
2. REVIEW YOUR PERFORMANCE JOURNAL NOTES If you don’t keep a performance journal, start today. Keeping a record of your activities, accomplishments, successes, and challenges as they happen, including dates – helps you capture details while they’re fresh in your mind. Having all this detail at hand will help both you and your manager get a broader, more objective view of your performance over the entire period, and avoid being biased by recent events. It will also make your preparation for your next performance appraisal faster and easier.
3. PREPARE A LIST OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS With all this information as background, you’re ready to prepare a list of your accomplishments. As you do, it’s important to relate them to your goals and the businesses objectives – you are part of a bigger team, and the bigger picture, make sure you understand your contribution to the larger vision. Do capture the “how” not just “what” you accomplished but keep it brief; don’t use this as a diary or performance journal. Give your manager all contextual details so they can understand how you truly added value to the business. Identify any challenges that limited your abilities to succeed, as well as any support you received from others – remember to understand your part in the larger team. Don’t get caught in the trap of focusing only on the last few months of performance. Look at performance over the whole review period.
Pointers: What does your manager need to know? What do they already know? Gather any letters, emails, certificates of recognition, awards, etc. that document exemplary performance since your last appraisal. Also, gather any written communications that identify challenges or problems with knowledge and performance. Make note of any training or development activities you completed or need to complete to further your value in the company.
Think of this as an opportunity to let your light shine. It’s not bragging if it’s true! Your manager may not be aware of all the great things you’ve done, especially the many small things that can really add up and make a difference.
You can use this information as background for your discussion with your manager during your performance appraisal meeting, or even submit it to your manager before your review, to help them in their preparation.
4. PREPARE A LIST OF AREAS FOR DEVELOPMENT In reviewing your job description, competencies, goals, performance journal notes, list of accomplishments, etc, identify any areas where you felt you struggled, or where others may have noted your performance lacked, and make note of these. You should also identify any areas where you would like to expand your skills/experience/expertise or share them with others as part of your career growth and progression. Be honest about your struggles, and when you meet with your manager, ask for coaching, mentoring, training, or whatever support you need to develop, improve or be more successful. No one is perfect. Everyone should be continually learning and developing. You should also think about your career plans if you have any and be prepared to talk to your manager about them. What skills/knowledge/experience do you need to develop to help you achieve these goals? If you can, do a bit of advance work, looking at courses and training activities available through your company and the training vendors they use that might help you further develop the particular skills you need and improve your performance. Research possible learning activities and bring a list of possibilities to your performance review meeting. And remember to think outside the box. Look at more than just training courses; you can include things like special assignments, volunteer work, job shadowing, reading, etc. – anything that will help you learn and develop the skills you need.
5. DRAFT GOALS FOR THE COMING PERIOD Don’t wait for your manager to hand down your goals to you. Take a proactive approach and draft some possible goals based on your job description.
6. SHARE YOUR PREPARATIONS WITH YOUR MANAGER Ideally, you should share the materials you’ve prepared with your manager before your performance appraisal meeting. This will help them prepare for your meeting more effectively and encourage a more meaningful two-way dialogue between you. These steps should give you all the evidence you need to get the most from your quarterly review. Once you have gathered all your data, you have the confidence to communicate with your manager or team to move forward in your career! Good luck!