Why Does Your Annual Review Feel Like Déjà Vu All Over Again?
The title of this blog post is very telling. If you don’t know what to expect, it is very likely that you haven’t prepared for it well in advance.
Lauren has been a veteran of these annual reviews and she knows you couldn’t wait until the day of the review or even a week before to prepare for it.
The review process really starts the day after the previous review. Most companies will use arbitrary methods for reviewing their employees.
Having gone through 8 of these annual reviews, Lauren began understanding what was coming. The first couple of years she would show up to the review session and hoped she was doing well.
She realized that going about it this way meant she was giving all the leverage to her boss. She had to sit there and listen to her boss give his opinion of her work.
While it may seem like the boss is biased, it’s really a case of him really not knowing how well you really do. He has to rely on anecdotal information or comments from co-workers.
Here’s a little secret Lauren after her first two annual reviews. The boss is very busy and has little time to decide how he is going to rate his employees.
This is a dangerous situation to be in because if the boss doesn’t have an opinion of you one way or another, you’ll wind up with a very average or mediocre rating for the year.
After Lauren’s second annual review, she decided she would not be rated by an opinion or anecdotal information. This left too much to chance.
Here’s another secret Lauren learned. Step up and volunteer for important jobs that other co-workers may be afraid of. The boss is always looking for a go to person and that works in your favor.
Right after her second review, Lauren was really upset because she thought she was doing excellent work and she worked hard all the time.
She was bound and determined to figure out how to be the go to person in the office. After all, pay increases were determined by your annual review rating.
Lauren got a big fat ZERO both years because of average ratings.
One day Lauren was sitting in a café drinking coffee and the gentleman sitting next her was ready the book The Essential Performance Review Handbook: A Quick and Handy Resource For Any Manager or HR Professional
He seemed like a nice enough looking guy so Lauren asked him why he was ready that particular book. He said he was getting ready to conduct his annual reviews.
Lauren introduced herself and told him where she worked. The gentleman said his name was Louis and he was pleased to see someone showed interest in the topic.
He said he dreaded this part of his job because too many employees think they are doing better than they really are.
As they talked, Louis said something so profound yet simple that Lauren did not forget it.
He said, “it is imperative that the annual review is not the only point in time during the year our employee’s are reviewed on their performance and that it really is the culmination of a year’s worth of discussions”.
That’s when Lauren knew she had to provide examples of her work to her boss on a regular basis throughout the year. She knew she couldn’t brag about her work so she had to come up with a plan.
The first thing Lauren did was come up with a working document she would present to her boss. In this document, she would describe what her goals were for the year.
The second phase of the document included the things she knew she had to work on to be more of an asset to the company.
The third phase was to get an agreement from her boss that this plan was on track.
The fourth phase included getting a commitment from her boss to meet with him once a month to monitor her progress.
Lauren didn’t know it at the time, but she was actually giving her boss all the information he needed to write her annual reviews.
This was another secret Lauren learned. Bosses really don’t like doing reviews because they don’t have enough information to conduct good reviews.
Lauren is coming up on her ninth annual review and she is fully prepared to discuss the work she has done. The boss is also ready because he has conducted 11 other mini-reviews with Lauren so far.
Here’s a lesson Lauren learned too. Some employees will see the interaction Lauren has with the boss and immediately say she is a kiss butt.
Lauren knew she was doing the right thing and chose to ignore any office gossip. She was doing this because she was getting the top pay increases every year.
She laughs when she thinks of the times she said, “But I work hard”. Working hard is only part of the equation.
This is the position all the gossipers find themselves in every year and they are the ones that wind up with a big fat ZERO for a pay raise.
So who do you want to be? The person that shows the company how valuable you are or the jealous gossiper?