So this is random, but did you know that the ‘performance review’ dates back over 2000 years ago. And, if our history books are correct, they originated with China’s Wei Dynasty, who used them when ranking government employees on their performance.
In saying this, you may be thinking, ‘ok, that’s great, but do we STILL need to be doing them?’ Or you may be thinking, ‘haha, whatever, my company doesn’t have performance evaluations anymore.’
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Companies may have said GOODBYE to the label “performance evaluation or review,” but does “performance achievement,” “check-ins,” “performance and growth,” or “employee development” sound familiar?
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT IS NOT DEAD
At the end of the day, almost 99.9% of companies have implemented (or are trying to implement) performance management using these fancy new labels. And as much as you may begrudgingly oblige to them, trust me, you want the concept of performance evaluation to exist.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
If done well, performance evaluation supports career advancement, helps connect you to the bigger picture at work every day (purpose!) and can even support the case for a pay increase.
Like I said ⬆️ if done well, you can actually get a lot out of this seemingly redundant practice. To help ensure your next performance review is productive, I’m sharing 3 best practices for you to implement.
Here we go with #1.
#1. CLOSE YOUR EYES AND REFLECT
How often do you give yourself time to reflect on your career journey? Are you always waiting for someone else to tell you you’ve done a good job or looking for a manager to tell you when you’re off track?
While it’s important to seek feedback and perspective from others, it’s essential to do this yourself. If you need some help reflecting, I can help. Check out my free reflection guide HERE.
When it comes to performance reviews, create the time in advance to reflect and bring specific examples to your conversations.
TIP: Reflection is also a significant component to interview preparation.
Bringing strong examples to your review allows you to show proof of your performance. In the context of requesting promotions, salary increases, or simply asking to take the lead on a project, you’re much more likely to have these requests accepted.
As leaders, sharing specific examples with your team members is equally important. It’s much more meaningful to communicate something specific when you celebrate them. Similarly, it will be much easier for your team member to understand how to ‘correct’ specific behaviours when you share a specific example of what has been done ‘incorrectly.’
That leads to point #2.
#2. DON’T WAIT
All too often, the real conversation gets put on hold until a formal work review is scheduled. My advice, don’t wait! As leaders and team members, we have a responsibility to support the growth and development of the people around us.
In holding back feedback, we’re holding back an opportunity for someone to learn more about themselves. If they’re doing something well, don’t we want them to do MORE of it? And, if they’re doing something undesirable, don’t we want them to consider a different approach? And moreover, don’t we want them to get into action right away?!
If we wait for a formal review, so much time is wasted in between.
Think about this. If we’re always talking through performance, the performance evaluation meeting can focus less on the past and more on the future. This rolls nicely into point #3.
#3. THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT
While it is a review, don’t get stuck in the past. It is just as important to spend time forward-thinking. Maybe even more important. Think of this as time spent strategizing how to apply your performance review learnings (the positive and constructive) for future improvement.
Also, consider what you want to take on, what goals you’re setting, and how you want to contribute over the next quarter or year.
Talking through the future will ground you in the work ahead and connect you back to the purpose of your role. I promise this is a great use of time and energy.
To recap, reflecting to identify specific examples, always being in the real conversation and strategizing for the future will make for a worthwhile performance evaluation.
If you’re looking for additional career tips or interview prep resources, check out the OTI blog
Oh! And one last thing…if you didn’t create the space to ask for a raise in your last performance review meeting, check out this resource to guide your conversation