10 Tips for Doing Your Best in Performance Reviews

Jennifer Herrity

Updated July 14, 2021

Published March 12, 2020

Jennifer Herrity is a seasoned career services professional with 12+ years of experience in career coaching, recruiting and leadership roles with the purpose of helping others to find their best-fit jobs. She helps people navigate the job search process through one-on-one career coaching, webinars, workshops, articles and career advice videos on Indeed's YouTube channel.

Most companies hold employee performance reviews at least once a year, during which they evaluate employee performance, provide input on productivity and set goals for the future. Because these reviews typically only happen once or twice a year, it's important to be prepared when going into them. In this article, we explain what a performance review is and provide several tips for how you can ace your next performance evaluation.

What is a performance review?

A performance review is a formal business meeting when employees meet with their managers to go over their performance over the last year. Most performance reviews are held annually, but some companies may implement quarterly or bi-yearly performance reviews. The goal of a performance review is to provide input on an employee's performance at work as well as explore any areas that need improvement and set goals for the future. A performance review may also be referred to as a performance evaluation or a performance appraisal.

Performance reviews are important for several reasons, including that they:

  • Help employees better understand where their strengths and weaknesses lie

  • Provide a thorough evaluation of employee performance and productivity

  • Enable employees to realize how their work contributes to the organization's goals and purpose

  • Allow employers to identify high-performing employees and recognize them as necessary

  • Promote manager and employee engagement

Read more: Employee Performance Evaluation: Definition, Benefits and How To Prepare

Tips for excelling in your next performance review

Here are a few tips to help you prepare throughout the year for your next performance review:

1. Keep track of your accomplishments throughout the year.

Writing down your accomplishments throughout the year can ensure you don't forget anything when going into your performance review. Use a spreadsheet or something similar to note each accomplishment and the details surrounding it. The more thorough you are in tracking your accomplishments throughout the year, the better prepared you'll be to present these accomplishments in your review.

2. Check in with your manager throughout the year.

Checking in with your manager regularly throughout the course of the year can ensure you are on top of your goals and making the desired progress within the workplace. Consider meeting with your manager quarterly to review your performance and ask for feedback about any areas in which you could improve. Doing this can keep you up to date on how you're performing as well as how your manager perceives your performance and can prevent you from being unprepared for the results of your annual performance review.

3. Write down your performance goals at the beginning of each quarter or year.

After meeting with your manager either for a performance review or an informal check-in, write down the goals discussed and keep track of your progress. Making your goals measurable can help you get specific as to whether you are on the right track to accomplishing them. When you complete a goal, ask your manager for insight as to what your next goal should be if you are unsure.

Related: Setting Goals To Improve Your Career

4. Look for ways to contribute more to the workplace.

Another great way to prepare for a performance review is to seek out ways to contribute more to your organization. For example, if your company needs someone to post once a week on their social media platforms, volunteer to help. Even if it's not your area of expertise, your willingness to contribute shows initiative and allows you to learn new skills. This also presents well in terms of your performance and may support your manager's decision to give you a raise or promotion.

5. Understand why you are valuable as an employee.

Determine what makes you valuable as an employee, and focus on emphasizing those factors whenever possible. For example, if you're great at coming up with new ideas for your company's social media initiatives, find ways to regularly contribute these ideas to the social media team. Regularly adding value to your organization shows you are committed to your company and makes you an invaluable employee.

Related: Ways To Become Indispensable at Work

6. Ask for help when you need it.

Instead of saving your questions and need for guidance for the performance review, speak up and ask for help as issues arise so that you can resolve them and move on. Asking for help shows initiative and that you aren't afraid to work with others to reach a goal. Keep track of issues that come up on a reoccurring basis and discuss these during your performance review if necessary.

7. Request constructive feedback regularly

While your annual performance review is often a great time to get feedback from your manager, it shouldn't be the only time you request feedback. Make it a habit to regularly ask for constructive criticism from your supervisor or another trusted mentor. This can ensure you are continuously growing professionally and can help you show up to your performance review as the best version of yourself.

8. Prepare for your performance review.

When your performance review is scheduled, set aside time to thoroughly prepare for it. Ensure your list of accomplishments is up-to-date and that any questions you have are written down. You should also note your current goals and what you are doing to achieve them. The more prepared you are, the more you will get out of your annual performance appraisal.

9. Discuss your career goals with your manager during the review.

Be sure to discuss your career goals with your manager during your performance review. For example, if your goal is to get a promotion within the next year, make this clear to your supervisor and ask how you can work to make this goal a reality. Being open with your manager about your career goals can ensure you are headed in the right direction and ensure your supervisors have you in mind when a promotion becomes available.

Related: Learn How To Make a Plan for Your Career Goals

10. Make sure you understand the priorities of your manager.

If you are uncertain of what your manager's priorities and goals are for you for the upcoming year, be sure to ask about them during your performance review. The better you understand what is expected of you, the more easily you can work towards these goals and contribute to your organization positively and productively.

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