5 Things You’re Forgetting to Ask During Your Review
The basic purpose of a performance review is to provide feedback on your performance.
However, the vast majority of such reviews finish within five minutes because most of the managers want to get over with it as soon as possible.
As a matter of fact, most bosses feel at sea when it comes to reviewing someone’s performance.
They normally do not have any plan to discuss your appraisal, nothing to talk about analyzing your strengths, weaknesses and future growth areas etc.
You as an employee or subordinate obviously want to get a salary raise or possible promotion from your review.
If you cannot attain both of these goals, you would at least try to get five-star ranking or wonderful reviews about your work.
But, you have to face sheer disappointment on most occasions.
About 90% of the managers would only show you your performance review form, saying you are doing a good job and that is it.
Your review is over even before you have settled in your chair.
It has happened to most of us in the past and will happen to some of us in the future.
But, you need to keep in mind that a performance review is always a two-way conversation.
For instance, you do not have to be a silent listener if your boss falls into the above-mentioned category.
You can encourage a prolonged and fruitful discussion by asking some appropriate questions of your own.
It is your opportunity to bond with your boss and expand your knowledge.
Performance reviews are also the best time to share your suggestions and goals.
Remember you are part of a team and you can only become a better professional by revealing what is working for you and what is not.
More importantly, it will also enable your boss to become a better leader.
There are employees who will never get a chance to sit with their boss and discuss their performance and show their commitment to the company.
Therefore, never ever be a submissive participant during your performance review.
Try to be more proactive and use this rare interaction with your manager to your maximum advantage.
WHAT IS A PERFORMANCE REVIEW?
In simple words, a performance review is a meeting between a manager and a team member where the earlier measures the efficiency and performance of the latter.
The manager also assesses the employee’s effectiveness and subsequently, gives the appropriate feedback.
The employee can use the feedback to improve his performance in the future.
On most occasions, managers discuss other things like salary hike and possible promotion in the performance review as well.
Also referred to as performance appraisal or check-ins, the performance review is your chance to improve your relationships with your boss or manager.
Getting an honest feedback from the boss is also necessary because it often proves to be a decisive factor in making or breaking your corporate career.
Establishing a good rapport with your boss means you will have a much easier time to perform your day to day duties.
Similarly, the boss will most likely set lenient deadlines for you which you can meet in a fizzy.
On the contrary, a shaky relationship with your boss means deadlines will be tighter for you. In addition, the work environment will be tense and stressful.
Your immediate boss happens to be the most stressful person for you at your workplace.
One way of reducing tension at work is to have good terms with your boss.
Use your performance review to your advantage and try to develop a good relationship with your manager by asking some really thoughtful questions.
5 QUESTIONS TO ASK DURING YOUR REVIEW
In the context of the above discussion, the following are the five questions you should always ask during your annual performance appraisal.
What Are My Future Growth Areas?
It always feels good when your boss praises you for your work.
Admiration always works as a great ego booster. But, you are still not at your acme even if you have done nothing but performing absolutely brilliantly during the last year.
There is always a room for improvement. It is your own duty to identify your future growth areas and ask your boss, in your review, how to improve in those areas.
Devoting some time to continuous professional development is also essential.
If you want to grow professionally and move forward, you still have to learn and do a lot of new things.
You need to ask your boss whether it should be in the form of taking a high-profile and difficult project, mastering a new technical skill or some sort of management training.
Honestly speaking, most managers find it very difficult to identify growth areas for you.
Things can get really tough for you if your boss has the tendency of giving critical feedback.
You will struggle to perform according to his expectations in this particular case.
He may only give a standard “great job” or similar feedback if you have done well in the period under discussion in the performance review, failing to think about any constructive advice which might help you in your future endeavors.
In an ideal world, your boss should point out 2-3 areas you must focus on during the next 6-12 months.
On the other hand, it is up to you to come up with your own growth areas in the review if your boss has not specified any.
If your boss is in haste to finish the review, you can interrupt him and ask questions like, “What are the next steps I should take for my career growth?” or “Do I need to learn new technical skills to assist my growth?”
Questions like these can turn your performance review on its head.
They will compel the manager to change his strategy and think hard about your growth areas and performance.
It also conveys the message to him that you take care of your career progression seriously.
You can create a comprehensive list of growth areas also including the areas identified by the manager.
Finally, never forget to take advice on how you can improve these areas and whether or not the organization will help you learn new skills.
What Are the Goals You Want Me to attain?
Bosses or managers set different goals for different employees depending upon their experience and skill set.
The best time to make sure your boss clearly explains these goals to you is the performance review.
It gives you a rare chance to have a long discussion with your boss and identify what are the goals he wants you to attain during the next year.
After all, you cannot live up to your manager’s expectations if you do not have any idea what they are.
Similarly, you should also prepare a list of goals you attained over the course of the last 12 months.
It will enable you and your boss to reflect upon your achievements and failures and how you can rectify the mistakes which lead to those failures. It will help both of you to set realistic and specific, measurable, attainable and relevant goals for you.
You and your boss should be in perfect harmony over what you want to accomplish in the next month, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months.
Some employees also take the liberty of making a list of goals before going to the performance review.
Subsequently, they ask their respective bosses to create their own list by adding or deleting goals from their list.
Goal setting for the coming year can be really helpful as it enables you to prepare well in advance for the next performance review.
Having clear goals in mind will help you set specific milestones and achievements against each goal, enabling you to improve your performance and negotiate a better package for yourself.
You should not hesitate to ask how autonomous you are to attain each of these goals.
Your manager probably trusts you a lot if he awards you a reasonable level of autonomy.
Some of the questions you can ask about your goals during your performance review are, “What you want me to accomplish by the next year’s performance review?”
Or, “I want to ensure I set realistic and attainable goals for myself. How can you help me in this regard?” Or “What are some of the criteria you will assess my performance against in the future?”
It is pertinent to mention that most of the employees cannot articulate their own goals.
They often do not have any idea what their boss or manager has in the bag for them.
However, you must always have a full understanding of your boss’s priorities.
As a result, you can give valuable assistance or information to your boss regarding setting your goals for the future, which will definitely improve your rankings during the next performance review.
Timeline for Promotion or Salary Raise
Against common perception, your manager will not give you any salary raise, promotion or bonus after every performance review.
He may only review your performance, pinpoint your weak areas, advice about how you can improve and set goals for the future.
But, it is the best time to determine what is the timeline for your next promotion or raise.
You can ask about what are the next steps you have to take to get there.
One of the best methods to ensure your own growth is to show dedication and commitment to the company’s growth in the annual review.
It is definitely better to talk about your performance and goals at the start, but you can and should end by talking about the possible date or month you will get your much-deserved promotion or salary raise.
Sometimes, your boss will not reveal the exact timeline you so desperately want to know despite your best efforts. In this case, you can allude to your intentions by employing different techniques.
For example, you can start by mentioning that you are really happy with your current salary and position and the growth opportunities the organization provides you with.
It conveys to the manager that you want to talk about your raise or promotion in a more constructive and positive way instead of locking horns with him.
Exact wording you can use to accomplish this task can be something like, “I really like my position in the company.
I am also thankful to the administration for providing me with abundant growth opportunities.
What I can do in addition to performing my current duties to get a salary raise or possibly a promotion?
Can you please give me a timeline when you think I can get there?”
Timeline for Next Review
Your annual performance review is the most important tool when it comes to analyzing your performance in the year gone by.
However, it is not enough to measure your performance accurately.
There are many other things you need to do to ensure you get the proper appraisal of your skills and services you render to your organization.
For example, you should find ways to have frequent meetings with your boss or manager.
Most of these meetings should focus on your performance and whether or not you are on the right path to attain all of your goals.
You can even request for an informal check-in 6 to 7 months before the actual review.
It is imperative for you to learn how your boss perceives of you if you want to perform better in the next annual review. It will also give you a lot of time to work on the areas which your boss thinks you need to improve.
The more friendly, informal conversation will help you identify some of the extra projects and responsibilities you can take in the middle of the year.
Casual talks can also reveal the real intentions and feelings of your boss, enabling you to modify your strategy accordingly.
Similarly, you can also reconfigure your priorities and goals to meet the ever-changing expectations of higher authorities. This will go a long way in enhancing your ranking during the actual review.
The questions you can ask to determine the exact timeline for next formal check-in can be, “What is the approximate date when you will call me for the next performance review?” or “Can we have an informal check-in session sooner because the next formal session seems to be too far away?”
You can also rephrase the question such as “I would love you to have an immediate performance review session so I make sure that I am on the right track to attain all my goals for the year.”
Is there Anyone Else I should Get Feedback from?
It is commonly and somewhat rightly believed that only your manager will analyze your performance in the annual check-ins.
However, you should also strive to get feedback from some other people during the peak of the review season.
These people may include boss of your boss, your clients, managers of other teams, anyone you report to or even your colleagues.
The best person to ask where you can get extra feedback is your own manager.
You can kill two birds with one stone by asking for additional feedback.
Firstly, it shows your relentless commitment to your organization.
Secondly, it shows that you want to be an integral part of your team and you are not doing all this to simply impress your superiors.
Best of all, you will have a more holistic idea of your performance and what others, especially people occupying managerial positions, think of you.
These are the people you normally come in contact with on a daily basis.
What you can do is to ask your reviewer to introduce you to people who can give feedback that really matters.
Furthermore, utilize your performance view to meet new people and expand your network.
However, always take your reviewer or manager’s advice about whom to meet.
Asking multiple people to review your performance and give suggestions about how you can improve is definitely important.
However, you should focus most of your energies and efforts to attain goals and accomplish tasks specified for you by your immediate boss or manager.
Strive hard to meet all the expectations of the person directly in charge of your success.
The question you can ask to find more people for your performance review is, “Who are other people I can meet and get valuable and practical feedback from.”
Yes, the main reason why performance reviews are carried out is to analyze what you have been doing for the past 12 months.
But, you must also utilize the annual check-ins to plan for your future success.
You should leave no stone unturned to learn what you need to do in the next year.
Maximize the advantages of performance reviews and identify areas you must improve and skills you need to learn to get to the next level.
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