It’s that time of year where we all get to engage in the annual review. During this time managers talk with us individual contributors about what we accomplished the previous year and look to the future. These session generally focus on your job performance and your professional growth goals. I’m pretty confident we all have very little love for the “process” but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are three tips to make this process more bearable and maximize value.
1. Be a Boy Scout – Be Prepared
The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared!” This philosophy applies to the ladies as well. You know that review time is coming. You know the types of things you discussed the previous year, and if you were paying attention you’ve been actively working to achieve the last year’s goals. Are you scrambling to remember it all? Save yourself the headache next year and do the following:
- Keep a notebook (print or digital) and keep track of your select accomplishments and successes.
- Save Emails where you have received praise for a job well done. Good managers save these as well but it’s YOUR job to demonstrate that you’re doing your job.
- Update LinkedIn with notable accomplishments.
- Update your Resume quarterly or real-time with select accomplishments.
2. Be Galileo – Look Distant
The invention of the telescope was not solely invented or intended for looking at the stars. Initially it was used to identify incoming ships approaching harbor. Early notification meant everyone could be prepared for the ship. It was very profitable for merchants in the know.
Throughout the year keep notes on things you’d like to accomplish and be mindful about your career in both the short and long term. You can get some more advice on this with my Perfect Job for YOU series. Doing so means that when asked at any point during the year you have a clear idea of what might be on the horizon for you. This also means you’re prepared in the event that a new opening or promotion is up for grabs.
In short identify the types of things you want to be doing and learning. That way when review time comes up you can also notify your manager of what training and certifications you’d like to complete in the upcoming year. Identifying these things as you go allows you to track times where you’ve begun working on those skills or technologies. Showing self initiative puts you higher on the list when it comes to available training and event attendance dollars.
Side tip: Demonstrating how gaining that knowledge or attending that event improves your value to the organization also gets you higher up the list.
3. Control the Situation
Don’t let the header give you a big head. Keep in mind that the annual review discussion is about two things.
- What you’ve done for the company
- What you’re wanting to do to improve
Go into your review able to talk in these terms. It is your future at the company that you are talking about and the investment they make in you will almost always correlate in your ability to demonstrate that you understand this relationship. Do not expect that your manager knows your wants and desires (Check out my series for more on that). It is up to you to be prepared for that conversation.
Communicate with your manager throughout the year to verify that accomplishments are aligning with your plan. If not you can get early feedback on things to do differently and increase your chances of promotion, raises, additional training, etc. On the other hand, no manager likes curveballs so keep an open dialog all year long.
This time of year can be stressful or it can be a breeze. Hopefully focusing on these three areas will make it a valuable experience for both you and your manager. Make sure you share these tips to your team once you’re a manager as well! Thanks for reading!