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How to Participate in a Work Performance Review

Updated on October 19, 2014

Documentation On the Job

When you begin a new job, keep a folder of documentation. In fact, begin it with your interview portfolio that you take into your interview with your current company. Keep it and add to it as you progress in your new occupation. This documentation can be much like a journal and will contain information and records about your work activities. It can be caontained in a folder, a notebook, or even a box.

Your documentation, your Work Journal or Career Journal, should include at least the following items:

  • Your written view of your own progress,
  • Copies of your past reviews with this company, if any,
  • Samples of success projects you have completed, with pictures if appropriate,
  • A record of positive comments from co-worlers,clients, and supervisors regarding your work,
  • Thank you letters from clients and customers,
  • A list of your specific accomplishments on your job,
  • A list of three times in which you were able to cut costs or increase income for the company,
  • A list of ideas you have for business improvements or inventions relevant to your company,
  • A description of any problems or issues that come up during work and how they were resolved,
  • A list of things you would like to learn to help you improve your job performance the the compny bottom line profits,
  • A list of actions you have taken that illustrate that you are a good team member and loyal to the company,
  • A list of any professional development training you have attended, including classes, seminars, college or tech courses, in-service meetings, conferences, continuing education credits (CEs), and other,
  • Documentation of community service and volunteer activities you have achieved,
  • A list of three questions to ask your reviewer, involving your position, your chances for promotion, business trends, possibilities for company expansion, etc.

Before your Performance Review, be well-prepared by following the procedures at this link and browasing the additional links within this resource:

Preparing for an Interview

Next, go to your performance review with a pleasant attitude. During the review, ask questions about anything you do not understand. If you disagree with something on your evalatuion, then say so with tact. Take the opportunity to present information from your Work Journal - use it to build a good case for your continuing employment and advancement.

After your review, repsond to it orally at the time of the review and also in writing (to be added to your personnel file). Get any new job duties/goals or promises in writing and ask for continuing feedback. Finally, send a thank you note to your reviewer (at least an email Thank You).

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Feel as if you jump through hoops at work... or that you are under surveillance?
Feel as if you jump through hoops at work...
Feel as if you jump through hoops at work... | Source
or that you are under surveillance?
or that you are under surveillance?

Continuous Improvement

In a trend that I think is lessening in our country, some people change behaviors during the two weeks before the date of an announced job performance review -- They suddenly work harder. This is like speeding on the highway and slamming on your brakes when you see a State Highway Patrol Car - Too late!

As employees/staff work with me in for-profits, non-profit sporting organizations, or volunteerism and they do this, I remind them that this is not the way to earn a raise and a promotion.

Performance on the job should be consistently good and continually improving in a gradual and logical progression - not just before a review. This also reminds me of the children that begin to display perfect behaviors during the month before Christmas in hopes of gaining more expensive and larger numbers of presents.

Most companies use a system in the workplace called continuous improvement in the 21st century. Your company supervisor should be sitting down with you to help you set work goals during training and from time to time afterward. If this is not occurring, ask for some help in this regard and keep communications open with your supervisor.

Participation in the Review

The words "Performance Review" make some people nervous, but this does not need to be the case. An annual work review should be an opportunity for you to shine in your accomplishments at work and to learn about any areas that you can make even better. it is a time to ask about employee development courses, pathways to advancement, and the like.

You may have an area or two among your job responsibilities that needs substantial improvement, but the performance review is a good time to admit that and commit to improving your related skills. It is also your time to talk about your job and how you see yourself accepting more responsibility in the future in order to earn promotions, raises, and possible bonuses. In fact, the employment review is sometimes a time when an employer will offer an employee a promotion.

If everyone were perfect, there would be no need for employment reviews and there would be less opportunity, perhaps, for employee-supervisor interaction because of it. Further, good employees that do not receive reviews sometimes are forgotten in the crush of business demands and are therefore not offered company promotions.

Performance reviews must follow legal procedures so that they do not become discriminatory. This makes the process somewhat overwhelming because of the need to use specific review forms, job standards, rating systems, rules, and questionnaires. Sometimes in a large company, your review will be completed by a supervisor and will simply be placed in your mailbox for your signature. If that occurs, contact your supervisor and set up an appointment to discuss your review. Even if your review is very good, ask to discuss how you can improve in order to step up to the next level and earn a promotion. Remind your employer tactfully that you want to make progress in your career and not simply to stay in the same job.

It's impossible to participate in a performance review if it is simply handed to you already completed, so find a way to speak up and make yourself heard as well as more visible. Use tact and good timing, but you owe it to yourself to do this.

I worked for a company in which I received several raises followed by two promotions without performance reviews. I did nothing about this, because most of my previous employers did not give performance reviews and I thought the one that did was the one that was "different."


What I did not know was that the current company was planning to close down. I eventually was given a wage reduction, then an hours reduction; then the company went out of business. The hours reduction was the worst part, because I had always worked 50 hours, with 10 of those being without pay per week, streamlined operations, doubled positive outcomes and thus decreased cost per client, etc. However, this taught me to continually research business trends, salary ranges, employment trends, and job and career opportunities. It taught me to ask for performance reviews and to ask important questions during them, including questions about the future of the business.

Performance Reviews Must Follow the Law, As Do Interviews

Performance reviews must follow at least these requirements:

  • Employees need to help set their own company-expected performance standards.
  • These standards must be based on the actual job and precisely written down and the employee must receive a copy during training and performance reviews.
  • Employees must receive a copy of subsequent standards as they are instituted.
  • Reviews should not be based on comparisons with other employees, but only on the actual standards to be met.
  • Reviews must be done in writing once a year or more often.
  • Documented review results must be used in staff decisions that include raises, promotions, demotions, firings, etc.
  • Employees must be allowed to respond to reviews orally and in writing.

What is the Purpose of a Performance Review?


  • Provide an ongoing basis for communication between workers and management.
  • Remove obstacles from your successful completion of your job duties and advancement.
  • Clarify your own job description and pinpoint your specific responsibilities.
  • Add new or additional responsibilities and delete outdated tasks.
  • Specifically identify employee professional development interests and needs.
  • Document specific individual training areas for expansion or remedial improvement.
  • Discuss work objectives and performance standards and determine if they are being met.
  • Provide workers (you) with answers to questions of:
  1. What exactly is expected of me?
  2. Am I doing well on the job?
  3. What specifically are my strengths and weaknesses and how are my weaknesses improving?
  4. How can I improve my work to be more productive?
  5. How and when can I receive a raise and a promotion?
  6. What is the future of the company?


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