Don’t Be Surprised by This Year’s Annual Review

You know it’s coming because it happens every year at this time.  Annual performance reviews are a ritual that we love to hate. Here’s why:  we are rarely prepared for them, they are often poorly written or vague, and we are not always convinced they are a true measure of our performance. Not to mention that we are rarely prepared to ask for a raise!

I ought to know – I went through more than a decade of reviews as a corporate communicator and know first-hand that PR pros are rarely prepared to promote themselves.

Why not take a new approach this year so you won’t have that “deer in the headlights” look when the boss calls you in for this corporate ritual?

Here’s a checklist to get the most out of your performance appraisal.

First take stock of your accomplishments for the year.  Have you met the objectives set by your employer?  If something is lacking or missed the mark,  what happened and why?  Be prepared to explain.

Were you missing important components like people resources, budget allocations or a timeline for planning?  How did that contribute to or hinder your efforts? Is there a way to pick up where you left off next year?

Is there a key program or campaign that was successful? Reflect on that and plan to highlight it in your review conference.

Now take a minute and write up an executive summary for your accomplishments that can be included in the discussion and added to your comment section of the document. It’s the section you always forget to utilize — but not anymore!

Based on what you wrote for your executive summary, would you give you a salary increase?  How much? While a 10-15% raise in this economy is very desirable, be honest with yourself.  How did the company do this year? Is a 5% bump a more viable increase?

Be prepared for a range of options.  Some companies have fixed ranges, while others have a “pot of money” to divide among those who have earned it.  Others will award a token cost of living adjustment.

Before the conference, set some goals for yourself, your team or your organization for the coming year.  By having an idea of where you want to go, you may even beat the boss to the punch.

By assessing your successes and challenges over the year, putting them in an executive summary, and creating goals for next year, you will be ready for your appraisal conference.

Let me know if it worked for you by leaving a comment.