Get a Great Annual Review with these 7 Steps

By K. Stone

December 3, 2007   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Here we are and it’s just about time for the annual reviews to begin at work. If you aren’t sure if you “meet” or “exceed” expectations, odds are you haven’t tipped the scale in your favor. Don’t get yourself in this situation. There is so much riding on these reviews it pays to plan.

Consider adding a few of these points to your routine next year. If your annual review is routinely late, you may still have time to use some of these immediately to impact your 2007 review.

    1. Do Good Work. Duh, right? What is good work? It’s work that is aligned with your goals that you and your manager agreed upon at the beginning of the year. If your manager doesn’t do this with you then take the bull by the horns and make sure it gets done. How? Schedule an appointment with your boss and bring a printout of what you think your goals should be. Make sure to align them with the company and team goals. Then ask your manager for input. Put the results in writing and forward a copy to your boss after the meeting. 
  • Goal Accomplishment System. Make doing good work automatic by taking all of your goals and reducing them down to daily goals. Let your daily goals serve as your guide for planning and and executing your day. If you want to do “bonus” work, things that are outside of your goals, make sure that you are hitting your main goals first. Bonus work without completing the basics can actually make you look bad. Stay focused on your core work first and then add the razzle dazzle later. 
  • Keep an Accomplishments File. It can be paper-based and/or electronic based, whatever method works best for you. In the paper folder you can keep customer appreciation letters and any other documents you receive of your accomplishments. To make this habit successful, set up a system to do it everyday. Set a reminder that will alert you each day 15 minutes before quitting time. Take 5-10 minutes to review any accomplishments from the day and either jott it down on a piece of paper or record it in an electronic format such as a text document, a spreadsheet, a Google notebook, or one of the many other free online applications such as BackPack. This very small time investment will pay huge dividends!
  • Write Your Annual Self Assessment. Be sure to do this at the end of the year so that you can give it to your boss before he/she writes your review. It’s a good idea to start writing it during the last week of the year. Many managers request this, but some don’t. Be sure to do this and turn it in early or at least on time. When I was managing a professional sales office, I was astounded at how many people didn’t take advantage of this opportunity. The fact that other people don’t do this is another reason to do this and do it well. It will make you stand out even more. If you don’t have quarterly reviews, consider writing a quarterly self assessment and keep a file so that at year’s end you have a great summary of major accomplishments for the year. Here’s a sampling of what to include:
  • Specific measurements of your results on your core goals
  • Client feedback
  • Key examples of teamwork and leadership
  • Feedback from teammates (request this ahead of time)
  • Education or training you attended
  • Any “bonus” projects you worked on
  • Your subjective assessment of your work, your progress, and your future plans 
  • Schedule Your Review Meeting. Deliver your self assessment in person to your boss and also send an electronic copy. When you drop off the hard copy, schedule your quarterly review meeting with your boss. That will help your boss out by giving him or her a deadline for writing your review. Your self assessment will help make it easy for your boss to write your review, not to mention the fact that you will have influence in shaping your manager’s perspective of your performance. And lastly, your boss will appreciate your initiative.
  • Quarterly Goal Setting Meeting. If you are way off track and your review shows it, consider scheduling a quarterly goal setting meeting. This will give you a chance to quickly get it together before waiting for an annual review. 
  • If You’re Late to the Game. If you haven’t done any of these things yet this quarter, there is still time to get caught up. Set aside some time outside of your normal working hours to pull together your accomplishments so far for the quarter and the year. Check in with your manager regarding your goals explaining that you want to be able to write a quality self assessment for him or her. If you’ve been slacking a bit in your work recently, remember that a strong finish can help a poor start fade into the past. People remember the most recent performances best so kick it up a few notches and show your manager that you’re on the upswing! 

What do you do to get a good review? Please share in the comments! We look forward to your input!

Written for Dumb Little Man by K. Stone, author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. Popular articles are So You Want to Be a Writer and Your Most Productive Week Ever!

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