Get Results from Your Review Experience!

November 1st, 2012

A time for growth, feedback, professional development—and maybe a raise in pay!  Yes, it’s time to discuss the review process.  Every employer is different and there are so many ways to handle the process.  As a result, it’s a good idea to ask questions.  Here are a few basics to get you started!

What’s the purpose?
This is the ideal opportunity to check in with your supervisor(s) and see how things are going.  You can learn what you’re doing well, of course, and also where you could use some improvement.  It’s also a time to look at the job description and see how it lines up with what you’ve been doing.

For some reviews, it determines the amount of your raise, but that doesn’t mean that every review culminates in a bump in pay.  For example, some employers conduct two reviews per year, but raises may only be issued at one of those reviews.  It’s good to ask questions ahead of time so you know what to expect.  And finally, this is your chance to discuss your plans for the future and your career path.  Sharing these plans with your employer empowers him or her to connect you with professional development resources that will help you to reach your goals.

How to prepare
These days, many employers ask their employees to do a self-evaluation.  The idea here is for both the employer and employee to create a detailed review and then come together to compare notes.  Even if your employer doesn’t require the self-evaluation, it’s actually not a bad idea to do one!  It forces you to review your performance so you will be prepared to have a thorough discussion and truly reap the benefits of this meeting.

Typically, it’s best to start with the job description—the document that specifically lists your responsibilities.  Go through each duty and evaluate yourself.  Are you performing each task?  And if so, how well and how thoroughly are you doing so? Think about the quality of work and the turnaround time.

If you haven’t been fully performing a task, why not?  The review is less a moment to be scolded for dropping the ball and is more about having the opportunity to discuss challenges and potentially ask for help.  Perhaps you don’t have time because other unforeseen priorities keep cropping up.  In that case, you can discuss shifting items off your plate or making other adjustments so you can achieve goals.  In other cases, you may be struggling because of lack of knowledge or training.  Some professional development may be necessary.  This is why the self review is especially important.  You not only find the areas where you may be underperforming, but you have the chance to reflect and figure out WHY you are struggling in those areas and then share your thoughts.

Other things you should know
Last but not least, it’s crucial that you have an understanding of how you will be evaluated.  First, that means you’ll want to understand how supervisors are measuring your performance.  Second, it is also helpful to know what the rating system means.  For example, some employers use a scale of 1-5 to rate employees where 3 is “meets expectations” and 5 is “greatly exceeds expectations.”  Most likely thanks to school, we are all trained to need an A+ and would struggle if we receive a 3.  However, be sure you truly understand the scale!  For some employers, the 3 means you are doing a fantastic job and are not inadequate in any way.  A 4 or a 5 could be saved for absolutely out-of-this-world performance, which only a very small percentage of employees receive.

So before you beat yourself up, have a solid understanding of what the numbers mean.  And as always, feel free to ask questions about how you can bump things up for your next review.  That’s what this process is all about!