Your mid-year review can be an excellent opportunity to receive feedback from your manager and present your most recent achievements. But for many, a review causes anxiety and discomfort around the idea of being judged. To earn the highest marks and get the most out of meeting with your manager, here are five tips to ace your mid-year review.
Do Your Research
Come prepared so that you can answer frequently asked questions. Depending on the number of people your manager oversees, they may or may not be in tune with your workday. Some informal performance reviews operate more like interviews where your boss asks what you think went well and what improvements you can make.
One productive way to prepare for your review is to find what salary increase you deserve. You should review your current employment contract while making note of new responsibilities and expectations to gauge what salary bump your performance and seniority should merit. It’s also worthwhile to track cost-of-living adjustments from last year to this year.
Be Confident and Proactive
The best performance reviews are a two-way conversation. An effective way to signal that you are providing value is by showing enthusiasm when discussing your performance. If your manager sees you energetically discussing your projects from the past year and asking for their input, they’ll know that you care about your work. Additionally, from a manager’s perspective, it can be awkward to talk about someone’s performance when they look like they don’t want to be there. Improved confidence leads to improved review feedback and tuning out of your meeting is a tell that you may expect a negative review.
Annual reviews vary from role to role – a Quantitative Trader might only be talking through how much her trades made relative to her peers, whereas an HR Staffing Specialist could have a far more qualitative discussion surrounding her methods for selecting candidates and creating job descriptions. Catering to the nature of your position is a great way to start the dialogue in your review. As a Data Analyst, you might ask your boss how your insights have shaped big-picture strategy at the company, then your reviewer can talk through the value your contributions produce, which transitions perfectly for you to interject with memorable highlights.
Recap Skills, Accomplishments, and Revelations
Essential knowledge to bring to any review is your work in retrospect. Feature any skills or training you gained, work experiences or ideas that changed the way you do your job, and your greatest, recent achievements. Your reviewer will appreciate that you have made their job easier by giving them material to discuss.
A manager might be holding reviews for dozens of employees and won’t have time to look back on how each employee has grown in the last six months. Taking the initiative to organize and present your “work highlights” demonstrates self-awareness of your career development and helps you stand out.
Outline New Goals
Next, you and your manager will discuss your plan for the rest of the year. This may involve organizational changes, leadership changes, changes within your team, or just how your work can differ or improve. If nothing about organizational change comes up in the meeting, you can gain intel and earn some brownie points by asking whether there are plans for the direction your work will go in the coming year.
This part of the review is a great opportunity to pitch a few goals and strategies to your manager to see if they are aligned with your manager’s goals for you. The best goals are SMART. For example, if you are working in risk management you might suggest that you train three junior underwriters how to perform the modeling that has worked well for you by the end of 2022. You can measure your trainees’ performance under your mentorship so that during your annual review you have objective data showcase.
Be Honest and Communicative
The final component to help you ace your review is to be honest with your manager about where you can grow. Your manager wants to get the best from you and one of the most challenging parts of their job is learning where you’re struggling since many workers won’t admit what they need help with.
Whether or not your reviewer brings up what areas you can improve on, it’s important to have a few ideas to mention. Asking your boss to help develop you in the areas you’re weakest shows humility and allows you to utilize them as a mentor. If you’ve had a favorable review, you can ask about the best ways to skill build to be ready for higher-level work – this is a great nudge your manager to consider you for a promotion.
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