The dreaded yearly performance reviews. Most employees consider them to be a stressful experience and find themselves unprepared and anxious when being called into their manager's office to discuss their performance.

Rather than rushing to get your review over and done with as quickly as possible, make the most of your appraisal by seeing them as the opportunity to discuss your performance and highlight what you have been able to accomplish in the past year.

“Appraisals are a perfect opportunity to discuss your future plans, potential opportunities for personal growth and your career development” says Özlem Simsek, Managing Director of Walters People Belgium.

Here are 3 suggestions on how you can get the most out of your performance review and show how truly valuable you are to your manager.

1. Be prepared

Preparation is key to feeling confident. It is therefore vital to prepare for your performance review just as you would for an exam or an interview.

Prepare a list of topics you would like discuss, anticipate what aspects of your job might be a speaking point and prepare answers to any potentially tough questions you think may come your way. Carefully prepare examples of your work and accomplishments and make sure you are able to explain why and how you did them.

Has your work supported senior management in any way? Use the performance review as an opportunity to discuss the major responsibilities which you have excelled in or to highlight your performance during quarterly and yearly forecasting.

“Don’t be put off if you receive constructive criticism, maintain a positive attitude. Performance reviews can identify exactly what you need in order to succeed in your job and can therefore serve as key moments in your career."

2. Consider your career goals

Your review is a good opportunity to discuss your goals for the next year and beyond. Think about your career path and where you would want it to go.

Do you want to take on more responsibilities in the future? Consider possible training options or additional industry qualifications which could help you succeed in reaching your goals. Demonstrating ambition and the willingness to expand your role is a sure way to get noticed and showcase your commitment to the company.

“If you want to achieve career progression, it is important to maintain a future-focused outlook” says Özlem. Performance appraisals are the perfect opportunity for you to share your ideas on how your role, the team, or a specific process within your department could be improved. Explain how it will enable you and your department to be more successful.

3. Be specific and factual

Always remember that a performance appraisal is a business discussion.  Remain professional in the language you use and in your responses to any constructive feedback. Showing you can take criticism is key to maintaining an open and productive dialogue with your manager.

Point out all your achievements that you think are worthy and give factual reasons as to why you should be considered for a salary increase or promotion. Your performance appraisal is your best opportunity to demonstrate the value you have added to the business and how you can continue to contribute in the future.

Anything that is discussed in an appraisal should not come as a surprise to either you or your manager. Do not wait until your performance review to finally reveal all your grievances - these should be resolved as and when they happen. Your appraisal is, however, a good time to review any issues that occurred throughout the course of the year.

The bottom line

Make the most of the opportunity your performance review offers to communicate honestly with your manager about your career progression.

“Performance reviews should be a positive experience, and you should always take a positive and energetic approach” says Özlem Simsek.  Take ownership of the process and the rewards will follow.

Find out more?

Download our free digital Salary Survey tool to compare your salary with similar profiles in your domain. Be sure to check out other tips and advice to boost your career.

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