Top 4 tips for your next performance review

By Career Connections Manager, Trevor Buttrum

Sometimes, performance reviews can get a bad rap. They can feel intimidating or uncomfortable. But, I’d invite you to view them more as New Year’s Eve than Doomsday! Performance conversations are intended to be an opportunity to reflect, celebrate, and commit to continuous improvement.

Trevor Buttrum Whether preparing for your own performance review or conducting one for a member of your team, here are a few simple steps to set the right tone for and maximize the experience…

Be prepared. Everyone involved in this conversation is a professional who work alongside each other every day. You likely would not go into a planning session or team meeting without doing your homework. So, model that same behaviour coming into the performance review process.

Our mycareer website has a whole section devoted to tools For Career Management which can help you better understand your goals (both short and long term) and equip you with language for conversations with your manager and HR about your career. Specifically, there are the My Career & Performance tools that can help set you set the stage for reflection and the performance review process.

If you are managing people, you might find the tools For Managers, HR, & Organizations particularly useful in preparing for fruitful performance reviews with your team.

Be an active participant. Sometimes, we think that we just have to let the performance review happen. After all, you are not in the driver’s seat, right?! No. Your performance review should not feel like it is being ‘done to you’, rather it is a two way street.

Ask questions, express your own self-assessment using concreate examples, offer ideas and suggestions, and seek clarification where needed.

As a leader, you will want to take steps to create space for an open, safe, and productive dialogue. Be sure to encourage your team members to embrace and participate in the process.

No surprises. In your day-to-day work, it’s very likely that you don’t want to be blindsided or overly surprised by something. Likewise, performance reviews and career conversations are most beneficial when a ‘no surprises’ approach is taken. The performance review, by its very name, suggests that it should be a retrospective of the past year. so, whatever is discussed should have already been surfaced and talked about in some way.

Not all employees and managers are skilled in this regard. However, you can be proactive by initiating conversations and regularly (e.g. every couple of months) seeking feedback on your performance and career goals. Obviously, being proactive about these kinds of conversations can be helpful if you are leading people too!

Keep an open mind. Your attitude and approach can define how a performance review will go. Try working from a place that you are both committed to one another’s success, your department or organization’s success, continued development and growth, and a great career. Avoid entering the discussion thinking it is a war that must be fought, lacking ownership for your performance, or viewing it as taking away from time working on ‘more important’ projects. In those cases, nobody wins. Commit to making it as positive and productive as you can!!
Wishing you a reflexive, positive, and rewarding experience this performance review season and in the ‘new year’ ahead!

Category : General