Ah, it it the season of the annual performance review. This time of year is looked at with a mixture of anticipation and dread, with employer and employer alike probably both wishing that they didn’t have to be done. Or at least not in such a predicable fashion.
Your employer will deliver your personalized review, something that is typically accomplished in 15 to 20 minutes, with your raise percentage also outlined. If inflation is 3 percent and you score number that is higher, than good for you. If you came in lower, you’ll want to know why and learn what steps your can take to make improvements. Improvements can come following a series of questions that you pose to your employer.
1. How can I improve my performance in the year ahead? If your review was especially critical, you may have withered under what may have seemed like a very personal attack. Rather than taking your lumps, consider that they points should trigger a question from you — “what can I do to improve my performance over the next year?” Get specific with your boss and ask to have those steps spelled out. Ask for interim reviews over the coming year so that you can meet and even exceed expectations.
2. What went well this past year? You may want to ask this question first, especially if the review was particularly blistering. Then again, if you need to lick your wounds and regroup yourself, keep this question second. In any case, have your boss spell out what you did well. And that should go beyond your attendance record to your actual performance. Have your boss list your accomplishments including the completion of a very involved project, a client’s satisfaction with your work or obtaining new business. Your boss may suddenly recall a few matters he forgot, perhaps realizing you should get a better raise. Don’t count on it though!
3. Where can I help you out personally? Your boss is your leader, even if you do not always feel that he or she is. Sometimes that lack of respect for leadership can be felt, and may cause tension that you never planned to convey. At this point, push your differences to the side and ask your boss what steps you can take to help him or her personally. Perhaps you brushed off your boss’ help to assist with a project, taking that request as a general appeal, not a personal one. Realize that you may have been indifferent in the past; make a point to show that you are available to help.
4. Who needs my assistance? You’re part of a team at work, but sometimes those teams are not clearly defined. You may work together on a project and quickly go your separate ways after the job is done. Or perhaps you’ll join a different team. Maybe your company is comprised of individuals that basically work on their own tasks and rarely collaborate on projects. You may find that your employer values your work, but would like you to show personal leadership by organizing your department or taking a new employee under your wing.
5. Where do you see our business in the next 3, 6 and 12 months? If you were not happy with your review, there could be certain underlying matters that have little to do with your personal performance. Sometimes, a company will minimize or free salary increases to preserve its bottom line. You should ask your boss about the business and where he sees it over the coming months and year. It could be that an important election has your supervisor concerned that taxes will be raised and jobs possibly lost. He may not be so direct with you, but you may learn that lean times or a pending acquisition are the real reasons behind your performance review. Then again, you may be given the opportunity to help shepherd you department through changing times.
You may also want to ask your boss if there are certain skills that he would like for you to improve or acquire. If so, take advantage of your company’ s education benefit and take a course or two. If no benefit is offered, consider investing in yourself anyway as this will pay dividends going forward.
If your relationship with your boss is an especially good one, CNBC staff writer Cindy Perman advises that you ask your boss about the most difficult thing for doing a performance review. She may appreciate that you care about her too, a question that can help build an already firm relationship.
CNBC: 10 Questions to Ask at Your Performance Review — http://www.cnbc.com/id/40840654/10_Questions_to_Ask_at_Your_Performance_Review
Jenny Houston is a professional blogger that writes for SafetyBanners.org, a leading manufacturer of safety banners for the workplace.