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3 Strategies to Make your Work Performance Review Feel More Meaningful

Updated: May 25, 2023

If you are like many employees, the mere thought of your upcoming performance review can bring about a boatful of feelings some of which may include dread, worry or even apathy.

According to a Globoforce Workforce Mood Tracker report, 51 % of employees reported that their annual performance reviews were inaccurate and 53% of employees indicate that their performance reviews do not motivate them to work harder. And even more concerning, those who feel their performance reviews are inaccurate are twice as likely to seek new jobs.

There can be a variety of explanations that account for your ill feelings when it comes to the performance review system at your company. For example, you may feel that your manager does not really know your work or that they do not capture all your accomplishments and successes over your review period. You may perceive that your manager completed your review hastily and with indifference. You may discern that your review does not serve as a basis for growth and areas to develop professionally that are meaningful to you. If any of these impressions resonate or apply to your performance review experience, here are three strategies you can employ to give your review process more significance.

Strategy #1 - Create a list of your completions and send them to your manager monthly.

A proactive approach can be very effective and serve as a key strategy to have in your career arsenal. When you take regular steps to prepare for your review ahead of time, you and your manager will be able to craft a thoughtful and more precise review.

In a recent article I wrote about tooting your own horn, keeping a file of your completed work and sending it to your boss monthly was a mechanism to keep track of your performance data. You don’t want to assume that your boss is aware of all the progress or obstacles you or your team have overcome so capturing this in writing and sending it out will assist in building real substance for your review.

Strategy #2 - Request more frequent, shorter discussions to get faster feedback/input.

You may be like many employees who do not have regular meetings with your manager to discuss your performance. If that is the case, request it. Advocate and ask for brief regular meetings with the purpose of getting feedback about your performance. Ask the following questions to solicit your manager’s impressions of your work.

What should I be doing more of? What should I be doing less of or stop completely? What should I be doing that I am not? And what is your biggest problem and how can I help to solve it? Take note of the feedback you receive and information that you obtain from these brief meetings and incorporate your managers input into your focus areas.

Strategy #3 - Utilize your tuition reimbursement to enhance your skills, education and/or professional development.

Many employers offer tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance programs as a perk to pay employees for them to enhance their education and ultimately their skill level. If your company does offer this benefit, it behooves you to take advantage of this offering.

Increasing your knowledge and skill level through your continued education is a great indicator of your investment in your own professional growth. It will also bode well on your performance review.

A coaching client of mine, who is a Vice President of Financial Planning for a large bank, was struggling with her writing skills. She was tasked with sending out a monthly newsletter highlighting relevant information in her field to the 300+ financial advisors in her company. She signed up for a business writing class and accessed her tuition reimbursement to do so. She learned quickly that this class was a useful venture. She received important feedback from outside sources, was able to network with new colleagues and friends, enhanced her writing abilities and identified this initiative on her most recent performance review. She was confidently able to say that she achieved a two-fold win; improvement in her professional skills and a benefit to the organization via quality company communication.

If you are like many who have had negative experiences in the performance review process at your organization, institute these three tips and take initiative to showcase your great work. Seth Godin once said, “Excellence isn’t about working extra hard to do what you’re told. It’s about taking the initiative to do work you decide is worth doing.” Your great work does matter.


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