Let's talk performance reviews

Want more money? A promotion? More appreciation at work? Then let’s talk about performance reviews.

Perhaps you love performance reviews, or maybe you don't. Either way they're important to nail. Get it right and you could be on the fast track at your organisation.

We want you to hit the bull’s-eye. Here’s how:

  • Understand the process. Find out how the review process works. What will be covered at the review and how will the company rate you? “A lot of companies have different grading systems,” says Robert Lyster, regional director at Michael Page International. It is important to understand what the matrix of the grading is.”
  • Review your deliverables. You should know what the organisation expects from you. Were you given goals when you started your job or at the last performance review? Ask your boss in advance what these are if you don’t know.
  • Self assess.Be honest with yourself about how you’ve performed against those deliverables, says Lyster. Armed with reality you should be better at facing the performance review. You could use that second opinion to be the voice of reason, says Bateson. Beware, however, of deluding yourself.
  • Know your achievements. We all deserve a pay rise, but what is it that will take your case over the line? “You have to have some real tangible reasons as to the achievements you have made,” says Bateson. To do this you need to keep a record of your accomplishments.
  • Find out what matters to your boss. Knowledge equals power. What does your boss want from the performance review – other than keeping his or her own boss happy? The more you know about what’s important to your boss, the easier it is to target your responses on the day.
  • Understand outstanding performance. Think about how you can be of more value to the company. Find out what is considered to be outsnding performance by your company and how by doing that you might be rewarded, says Lyster. Organisations like people who add value and will usually recompense them for it.
  • Know what you want. Can you articulate what you want form the review process asks Peter Bateson, director, at Robert Walters? You might want feedback, a pay rise, a bonus/perks, or a promotion. It’s very useful to have your own objectives for the performance review and make sure they’re met.
  • Take control. Don’t just let the review happen. Take charge of the process. Go in prepared to subtly steer the review onto your strengths. Having a list of questions helps “That way you get to control the conversation a bit more and you get the answers you want,” says Bateson.
  • Be realistic. If it’s a promotion you want think about who else is in the running for that role, says Bateson. Or if it’s a pay rise, find out what your company can pay in your role.
  • Set time frames. If promises are made at the performance review, ask for time frames to be put in place, says Bateson. This ensures that the promises aren’t forgotten.