Happy New Year! Hopefully your holiday season was safe and enjoyable, and business year ended up successful. As the calendar turns, a few things always occur- you make resolutions, your company will talk about rebirth and rejuvenation in the New Year, and you will have your annual review. If you are like most people, all three bring groans and disappointment instead of excitement.
However, if you follow some simple steps, you can not only make your annual review tolerable, but turn it into a tool for pushing your career track.
- Do Your Research. Review the copy of your previous review and become intimate with the details. Know your perceived deficiencies, strengths, and goals. Believe it or not, almost no one reads their previous annual review before their new one including the reviewing manager. Get a leg up by knowing what was already said about you.
- Be Prepared. List the results of your goals- both the challenges that caused you to miss them and the actions that caused you to achieve them. Write out the corrective action that you took to improve your deficiencies. Be prepared to talk about how you grew as a person and as an employee in the previous year. Point out achievements in a missed goal, but make sure there is no blame assigned for missing a target. For instance, if you only hit 95% of your sales goal, but booked 125%, focus on the bookings, not operations inability to ship it.
- Be Proactive. Based on your last year achievements, your corporate climate, career goals, etc., have your version of your annual goals ready to discuss. Make them challenging, but attainable. It is amazing how if you present your goals to your manager, it makes it easier for you to meet those goals. Know possible areas for improvement and corrective action.
By taking the time to be prepared and proactive, you will have an opportunity to lead the review rather than react to it. This is one of the few opportunities during your year where you can lay your cards on the table and shape how you are judged. However far too many people leave their review in the hands of their boss. Take control of the situation, it will lead to a better increase (maybe not this year, but in the future), more attainable goals with better buy in from you, and ultimately, a better career path.