How To Have A Successful Year-End Review

Career News

by Ashira Prossack, Contributor,

A performance review isn’t necessarily something that people look forward to at the end of the year, but it can actually be a positive experience if it’s approached in the right way. By taking the time to prepare for a year-end review, you can alleviate some of the stress that’s typically associated with it and turn it into something quite valuable for your career.

The key to a successful year-end review is preparation. Here are five steps you can take to prepare for your review:

Do a thorough self-evaluation.

The first step in preparing for a year end review is to do a thorough and honest self-evaluation. This is a critical step in ensuring you get the most out of your review.

Start by creating a list of your achievements and your opportunities for improvement. From there, you can start to fill in details to support your achievements such as how you accomplished them and data that supports the results. For development opportunities, think of how you’ll approach making improvements and creating solutions. If you have any goals you didn’t meet, be prepared to explain why and what steps you’re taking to accomplish them in the new year.

Get ready for the conversation.

A year-end review is not just about your manager talking about your performance, but also a time where you get to weigh in and give your own feedback. Think of the review as a conversation you’ll be having with your manager, not just getting a report card. The review will not just be about your successes, but it will also include at least one critique, so be prepared to receive feedback as well.

You’ll want to prepare a few talking points highlighting your achievements and goals you accomplished and also come up with some questions. The year-end review is a great time to bring up any concerns or questions you might have, as well as explore your thoughts and ideas for the next 365 days.

Collect data to support your claims.

Year-end reviews are often tied to bonuses, raises, or other performance incentives, so you’ll want to come prepared with a list of your achievements to help boost your case as to why you deserve that extra money. Support your claims by including data, statistics, and other specifics. Including data helps you in two ways – by quantifying your achievements and also showing your manager that you’ve put effort into preparing for the review.

Prepare to respond to feedback.

Sometimes your review doesn’t go exactly as you expected, so you have to be prepared to receive and respond to both positive and negative feedback.

When receiving negative feedback, it can help to take a pause before responding so that you don’t react defensively. You have every right to disagree with the feedback, but you must do so in a tactful way otherwise it undermines what you’re saying. Take a deep breath or count to two before you respond to prevent any outbursts of emotion. Focus on the fact that the feedback is meant to help improve and grow, and remember that it’s about your performance, not personal.

When it comes to reacting to positive feedback, there’s something to be said about restraint. You can show that you’re excited about it, but don’t go overboard in your reaction. Thank the manager for their positive words and assure them that you’ll continue to perform at the same high standard. Save the actual jumping for joy for after the review.

Think towards the future.

At the end of your review, your manager will likely want to set goals for the new year. Almost undoubtably, they’ll ask you what your goals are before offering up any suggestions of their own. Show them that you’re prepared by creating goals for yourself so you’re able to easily answer their question.

Think big and small when setting goals. You can give yourself one large goal that you’d like to accomplish in the next year as well as smaller milestone goals to meet quarterly or monthly. Your manager will help you focus in on these goals and together you can create an action plan.

These tips are all applicable to all types of performance reviews, so keep this handy to reference whenever you have a review coming up.