Annual performance review is an opportunity for employee to quantify contributions
As the year draws to an end, many companies embark on annual performance reviews for both the business and the employees.
The business performance review can be relatively straightforward-did the business make a profit? Increase sales? Improve customer performance? Grow market share?
The employee performance review is not always as easy to define. Goals that were established at the beginning of the year may be harder to tie into the business performance. Frequently, it is harder to quantify an employee’s contribution to the bottom line, especially if a business has multiple facilities worldwide.
Regardless, employees should attempt to prepare for their annual performance review with as much statistical data as possible.
Employees should become familiar with the review process for their company. They should understand how and why some employers use performance reviews as a way to evaluate their employees.
Hopefully, the goal of the appraisal should be to increase communication, establish clear expectations, reinforce good performance, improve unsatisfactory performance, and foster a spirit of cooperation and teamwork.
Next, the employee should prepare for the upcoming review: Document all achievements and list anything pertinent to discuss at the review. If an employee has not kept track of achievements, they may have to spend some time figuring out what has been accomplished since the last review.
It is very important to quantify how these achievements have benefited the company and their manager. Did these achievements help to increase profits or sales? Did they help to grow the client roster? Improve relationships with more established clients? Improve department performance and/or reputation?
Whenever employees can tie their achievements to departmental goals and improvements, they have leverage. It is much more difficult for a manager to minimize their contributions when employees can quantify the benefit of what they did during the year.
On the flip side, how should an employee handle a poor review?
The first determination is whether or not the review is unfair. Was the criticism received really off the mark? Sometimes the truth hurts, but can become a learning experience.
If the criticism is fairly accurate, then the employee should build an improvement plan with his or her manager. Seeking the input of the manager gets their buy-in into the improvement process.
If the employee feels the criticism is unwarranted, they should first try to discuss the review with the manager who gave the marks. This can be done during the review, or in a separate meeting afterwards.
The employee should use clear examples that counteract the criticisms made. A paper trail is always helpful. The employee should present anything they have in writing or in email that can back up their position.
Depending on how this meeting goes, the employee usually has the option of escalating the issue to upper management. This should only be done, however, if documented examples that back up the employee’s position are ignored.
All employees have to deal with performance reviews as a natural part of the job. They often determine raises, promotions, and sometimes continued employment. That can explain why they make employees feel uneasy. But being able to quantify the reasoning for a good review will help employees make the best of the situation.