There are a lot of reasons to be anxious and concerned about performance reviews but really, that’s no way to live! Oftentimes anxiety develops from unrealistic expectations on the part of the supervisor and employee. Here are 5 tips to get ahead on this issue:
- Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell does not work! Be sure to ask the boss to help you get to the next level early in the year. Don't wait until review time, do it now. Ask what you can do to get on the fast track to promotion/raise. Don't go in whiny or with a sad story about how you need more money or with a chip on your shoulder saying what you've done and what you expect. That's a sure way to a revenge review. Ask how you can help your boss do his or her job better. Remember, if the boss gets promoted, you may too. Don’t let it be a secret that you do more than expected, and give reminder examples throughout the year to keep your goodness in the mind of your manager, who may be forgetful due to his or her own pressures. Update your job description or at least talk about it if your responsibilities have changed. When it comes to the boss, don’t talk about your deficiencies. Talk about your ambition, be confident and talk about your hope to move up within the organization. It doesn't hurt to compliment the boss every once in a while either.
- Document everything--Put it in writing! Employees should not expect managers to remember all the things they seek recognition for all year long, only to get upset when there’s no mention at review time. Your supervisor is managing more people than you, typically with a lot more pressure. If the company does all reviews at the same time, your boss may be more preoccupied with his or her own good deeds for his or her own upcoming review. It's not uncommon for supervisors to procrastinate on an unpleasant task like this, or for a company to give a short deadline to have all the reviews in. This can set up a situation where it's hard to remember all the good deeds all the people in your department have done all year. Document your good deeds and make an appointment 3 mos. or more before review time to discuss your list of good things, and good behavior. Think of it like "Christmas in July"! Leave a copy so the boss can see things from your perspective. That way the boss MAY even refer to your list when writing the review
- Meet before the pressure Is on. Meet with the boss informally between performance reviews and ask frankly, "how am I doing"? Ask for feedback and listen carefully to be sure you see eye to eye with the boss. What YOU think is important may not even be on the boss' radar. Ask how you can get more training, and keep an eye on your personal development. Mention the steps you've taken to get more training on your own. Have you added more tasks? Make it known, gently, you think you’re valuable and you are working toward a promotion or raise. Lunch wouldn't hurt, either. This is not the same as brown nosing, it's just investing in a professional way to get your voice heard. A one-on-one in the middle of the year could be priceless!
- Be helpful to others. Are you a team player? Do you offer help to new hires and other department colleagues? Be sure to take that last incoming call at the end of the day, don’t shut your light off and leave early. You’d be surprised how often co-workers complain about each other and provide eyes and ears to managers and supervisors about the lack of cooperation within the ranks. It piles up until review time. Be sure your reputation is good among your peers. Don't be a jerk to those whom you work with or to your customers, then expect bad behavior not to make it back to the boss. Just because supervisors don't say anything at the time, doesn't mean they don't notice a rift, or complaints. They're just waiting for review time.
- You may win the battle but lose the war! Don’t get into catfights with your boss. You’ll find out you won the battle, but you’ll lose the war at performance review time. It’s not worth it. One of the biggest culprits is when people become overly familiar with the boss, and overstep the authority of their position. If you’re not the boss, don’t try to run the office. It’s annoying to everyone else and will produce a very bad review. Challenges to the boss’ authority will result in retaliation, at performance review time. Be humble when it comes to power in the office and you can avoid this common issue. There are plenty of former employees who pissed off or embarrassed the boss and found themselves out of a job, immediately. It doesn't matter how good or talented you are, if I don't want to work with you; you're gone. Sometimes workers just wait in cue unknowingly and get the axe when the next round of layoffs come around.