As a professional, there are dozens of goals you may have, such as getting a raise, snagging a promotion or simply wanting to be recognized for your hard work. Annual performance reviews are an excellent time to discuss your goals with your manager to make sure you are heading in the right direction with your company.
No matter your position, there are some steps you can take months ahead of your annual review to set you up for success sooner. Below, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council each shared one thing any employee can do starting in January to get ready for their annual review at the end of the year.
1. Get Specific About Your Goal
Get specific about what your goal really is. If it is a raise, how much? If it’s a promotion, what do you think you can bring to an elevated role? Annual performance reviews are a strong opportunity to discuss your future in the workplace, so it helps to come prepared. Think about everything you have learned over the past year and how you plan to use this to improve yourself moving forward. If you are looking for a raise or promotion, key examples of the ways you’ve gone above and beyond your role are vital. It’s easy to get lost in your daily routines, especially if you’ve been in the same job for a while. Throughout January, pay closer attention to what you’re doing and make note of when you outdo yourself. All of this is relevant to your review. – Nick Venditti, StitchGolf
2. Keep A Running List Of Your Accomplishments
When preparing for annual performance reviews, take some time to come up with solid goals for the year, as this will help you do a review on how far you’re performing and ways to improve in other areas. Also, just like your to-do list, pay particular attention to making a list of your accomplishments and big wins. Be very intentional about improving those areas that need to be improved on and also ensure that your work has a positive impact on the company at large. – Chimezie Emewulu, Seamfix Limited
3. Demonstrate Leadership Skills
There’s no better time than right now to get ready for your annual performance review. Employees within my company who show initiative, hard work, curiosity, a willingness to learn new things and who think outside of the box are prime candidates for promotions. I prefer promoting employees from within rather than having to look for new candidates for managerial positions. These are things that can be done year-long to show management that you are ready for more responsibility. – Kristy Knichel, Knichel Logistics
4. Think Of Innovative Ideas To Share
To prepare for annual performance reviews, think of a few new, innovative ideas you can share with your team to improve the company’s workflow or performance. Leaders are always interested to hear how they can improve, and your insight can be what they need to take their business to the next level. You can also ask thought-provoking questions to better understand the company’s workflows and see how different departments can work together to boost conversions. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
5. Meet With The Reviewer Months In Advance
Try to get a one-on-one meeting with the person whom you’ll be doing your review with well ahead of time—months in advance. Make it a casual conversation about general betterment more than one focused on getting a great review. Sometimes, just pulling a manager aside and letting them know you’re ready for more responsibility can get the ball rolling in the right direction. If you have a good rapport with your manager, this should be a great conversation. If there is some tension to work through first, start there. Remember, companies are fast, busy places and a lack of recognition can sometimes come from the pace of business rather than uncaring managers. Considering all of those factors should help you understand your challenge a little better. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
6. Create A Career Path
One thing I recommend for my employees is creating a career path. This gives employees direction and identifies opportunities within the company for advancement in line with their long-term career goals and objectives. Having a career path also enables employers and employees to set achievable milestones, leading to focused performance reviews. Creating a career path will show your employer you’re serious about your job and about achieving success within your role. Employee-based career paths benefit the company too. Companies realize a greater return on hiring investment and better employee engagement and retention. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
7. Focus On Learning
Start studying. There are an exponential amount of courses that have come online. Harvard, Yale and all the big institutions are offering courses online for free. Beyond increasing your aptitude at your present job, learning stimulates your own creativity. Also, when you are studying, you are not on devices and engaged in time-wasting activities. Being on devices occupies much more of our time than we realize. Detox from a device for a period of time and see the difference in your well-being and life. You free up space in your mind for more creative thoughts and new ways to approach your work. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
8. Reverse-Engineer The Process
Reverse-engineer the process and request the action plan that determines “exceeding expectations.” Instead of diving into guesswork, set up a meeting with your direct manager and/or HR and ask for an evaluation plan that would help you make the next step. Clear alignment increases your odds of growing further and proves loyalty to the organization—a key asset that companies cherish time and again. Crisp communication revolves around collaboration and setting expectations. Your leadership team knows what they need to improve; connect with them and get on the same page, which will skyrocket your career journey as a result. – Mario Peshev, DevriX