6 Steps to Prep for Performance Evaluations

By: Chris Lovell · December 12, 2023 · Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s the middle of performance review season, and you may be feeling a mix of emotions around this annual (or biannual) meeting.

However, it’s important to remember that these evaluations are much more than just a review of your past performance. They are a valuable opportunity for both you and your manager to discuss your future goals as well as highlight your accomplishments and the value you’ve brought to your employer.

But before you go into the conversation, be sure to get into the right mindset.

Remember, are two-way conversations and dialogues for mutual growth — it’s not just about your work performance. Be open to feedback and avoid getting defensive. Use this opportunity to understand how your work affects the organization, and express areas you want to improve in or need more support. This is your opportunity to speak with your manager about both your current role and your future growth.

Here are six tips to help you effectively prepare for your review, helping you transform the conversation into a valuable opportunity for both growth and recognition.

Document Your Accomplishments with Metrics

Before your meeting, start a list of your accomplishments from the past year, and the positive impact it has had. Especially include any instances where you contributed to increasing revenue, streamlining processes, cutting costs, or times when you’ve come up with new and innovative ideas. Include data to support your accomplishments whenever possible.

Pro tip: Start a log of your achievements and track them throughout the year. This will make prepping for your future reviews much easier.

Review Your Job Description and Past Goals

Review your original job description, as well as any goals you set during your previous evaluation. Assess yourself and how well you’ve met or exceeded your goals and expectations of your role. Again, use metrics and data whenever possible to further illustrate your accomplishments.

Set Clear Goals for the Coming Year

Head into your meeting with an idea of what you’d like to achieve in the upcoming year. Use the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) framework to create goals that are in line with your greater career aspirations, as well as the organization’s mission and vision.

Gather Burning Questions

Since evaluations are a dedicated time between you and your manager, they can be a great opportunity to have any lingering questions answered or clarified. Jot down any questions you’d like to ask about your projects, expectations for your role, feedback, or future goals.

Conduct a Self-Assessment

Before your meeting, take a moment to reflect on your own performance. Think about where you’ve exceeded expectations and where you need further support. The purpose of a self-assessment is not about defending your work. It’s about showing a proactive approach and commitment to your professional development.

Show Your Adaptability and Self-Improvement

When preparing for your evaluation, create a list of any new skills you acquired over the past year, or any training and certifications you’ve completed. Note significant challenges you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome them. This will help to demonstrate your willingness to learn and grow as a professional.

These steps can help you turn your performance evaluation into a constructive experience that benefits you and your career growth. Remember to use this opportunity to showcase your achievements, set future goals, and get the support you need to grow in your career.

Bonus Tips:

Engage in Continuous Dialogue

Reviewing your performance and goals shouldn’t only happen once per year. Schedule regular check-ins throughout the year to make sure you are on course to meeting your goals. Frequent check-ins can also help you receive the necessary support and recognition for your efforts and contributions.

Monitor and Adjust Your Progress

Take charge of monitoring your own progress by documenting your achievements and tracking them throughout the year. Regularly review your records and evaluate your progress against your yearly goals. If necessary, adjust your strategies to better achieve your targets.

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