With Christmas just around the corner, many workplaces are beginning to wind down for the holidays with parties and other festivities. Unfortunately, though, lots of people face their annual performance reviews as the year draws to an end.
An end-of-year review can be a great way to show your boss how well you’ve been doing in the past 12 months, as well as put forward any suggestions to improve your working experience. It’s also a chance to ask for a promotion or raise if things have been going particularly well.
However, a one-on-one assessment of your achievements, goals, successes, and challenges with your manager can be a stressful situation.
So what is the point of an end-of-year review — and how can you make sure you ace it?
“Your review could be a coffee and chat with your line manager or a more formal meeting with one or more managers,” says Helen Campbell, who coaches creative people and helps them achieve their goals both in and outside of work. “Either way it's where your individual performance is usually measured and evaluated against your annual targets, goals and objectives.
“Team goals can be taken into account too. The conversation may look at criteria such as being a team-player, showing enthusiasm or being innovative,” she adds.
Reviews may also be used to look ahead and talk about targets for the following year, or to discuss a pay rise and more responsibility. “Expect to look at strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities for growth and development,” Campbell says.
A smooth year-end review is similar to a smooth job interview, Campbell explains. Therefore, the key is preparation and thinking ahead.
“Preparing and bringing examples of what you're great at, and how you've met your targets is smart,” she adds. “If you're struggling to meet any of your targets or feel unclear about them, either bring that conversation to the review or talk about it beforehand with your line manager.”
Remember it’s not all on you
While you will talk about your successes, achievements, and things you’ve struggled with, a review is also a chance for you to outline anything you think needs improving in the workplace. If you’re unhappy with an aspect of your work and you feel you can speak to your manager about it, make sure you bring up the issue calmly and clearly and offer solutions.
“If you're feeling nervous or worried it can be useful to remember that both your manager and employer have some responsibility for nurturing your success, so it's an opportunity to tap into this support,” Campbell says.
Be confident and outline your successes
A review is your chance to show your bosses just how well you’ve performed. Nobody likes a show-off, but this is your opportunity to make sure they know how hard you have been working and how it has paid off for the company.
“To really ace it then show them your ambition and strengths, and ask what the next stage of your career might look like as well as describing how you see it developing and what support you need to get there,” Campbell says.
Ask about any changes you want
“It may be a suitable time to ask about things like flexible working, a sabbatical or further study — this depends very much on the organisation's ethos and you'll probably have a sense of whether your review's the right forum to do this,” she adds.
Know what you want in the future
Ok, so not everyone knows exactly how they want their career to pan out, but having a rough idea of what you want over the next few months can be helpful. This will let your employer know how fulfilled you are in your current role and let them know if you are willing to take on new challenges.
“Having a vision or plan for the next twelve months and knowing what you want to get out of the review, while also supporting your employer and your team, will stand you in very good stead,” Campbell says. “Enjoy it - it's a chance to show how brilliant you are.”