How to Prep for Your Performance Review

Every day you’re in the working world, your superiors and colleagues are grading you. Unless you’re receiving consistent feedback from your manager, which is no guarantee, you may have no way to gauge your progress at work — until it’s time for your annual review.

An annual review is a chance for you to have an open, honest conversation with your boss about how they perceive your work performance — as well as what your opportunities for growth are. There are a few steps you can take in preparation for your review that will help make the experience a positive and productive one — especially if you’re hoping to land a raise.

Do the Math

In an ideal world, your review will be a series of glowing compliments with an offer of a big, fat raise at the end. You’ve worked crazy hard for the past 12 months, the least you can get is a little acknowledgement. Wrong. Your boss may have generally positive feelings about your work, but chances are they weren’t keeping as good of track of your progress as they should have.
Even if your review is going well, you owe it to yourself to come armed with stats about your career successes from the past year. Before your review, prep a few notes about your work successes. You may have to do some calculations to impress your supervisor. Did you grow your company’s Twitter followers by 25 per cent? Please write it down. If you found a new tool that increased your team’s productivity, estimates how much time and money you’ve saved.
Illustrating how you increased revenue or helped save the company money can be instrumental in receiving a raise. However, you measure success in your job, come up with some cold, hard facts about why you’re killing it.

Tell the Truth

In theory, an annual review is an appropriate time to raise any concerns you’re having. Your boss has an opportunity to critique your performance, so it’s only fair you can share any struggles you’re experiencing. Before you raise any complaints, evaluate how honest you can genuinely be. Does your boss take critical feedback well? Do they look at employees who air grievances as “difficult?” Even if your boss is receptive to feedback, tread lightly. You don’t want your boss to think you’re unhappy at work and that you want to leave, or they may not adequately invest in your future at the company.

If a raise is your top priority, you may want to hold off on raising any complaints unless necessary or if they help to support your justification for a raise. For example, if you took over a colleagues responsibilities when they left, and your workload increased, that is a complaint that can help make your case. Too many complaints may distract from your goal.
If you do have complaints to make, pepper the conversation with compliments about your manager or some insight on why you love your job, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, after all.

Know What You Want

Now is not the time to waffle. When you go into your review, you should know precisely what you want. A raise, a promotion, or an office are the biggies — but those milestones aren’t going to happen every year.
If your job description has evolved over the past year, consider asking for a title change. Want to learn more about your industry? See if your manager will expense education resources or a trip to a conference for you. If you’re going to move desks because you don’t get along with one of your coworkers, now is the time to ask. Your boss is less likely to be taken aback by requests during your annual review. Take advantage of the opportunity.
If you’re asking for a raise, this is an especially important step. Use this time to practice a convincing ask. Outline why you think you deserve a raise (now is the time to use the evidence you collected) and how much of an increase you’d like (start high so your company can offer lower).

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