How to Take Charge of Your Annual Review
For a lot of people an annual review is the time when an executive calls you into their office, they sit on one side of the desk and you sit on the other, they talk at you for twenty minutes or so and then tell you whether or not you are getting a raise and how much. If they are a good manager they may discuss things like goals and objectives, performance and reward, etc. If they are not such a great manager, they will talk extemporaneously and your raise may be based purely on company economics.
Instead of letting your annual review just happen to you, why not take charge of it instead? Consider taking the following steps:
- Find out when your annual review will take place.
- When you know your review is imminent, send or give the person who will be reviewing you a list of your accomplishments from the past year.
- Prepare a presentation for your review.
It's All About Communication
Save The Date
Ask Management when your review will take place. Well run companies have a policy on when reviews happen, less well run companies may not. Managers at some companies don't like to give reviews at all. You, however, want to have a review because you want your raise to make sense. You want your hard work and your contribution to company success recognized, hopefully in a financial sense, but at least some verbal or written recognition of your performance.
Why do you want this? Because you spend several hours a day at your job. It takes up a lot of your life. Wouldn't you want it to mean something besides a paycheck? Well, no guarantees, bucko, but a great way to help make your job meaningful is to get Management to recognize that your contribution indeed is meaningful, is valuable, to the company. And the best way to make that kind of recognition is through your annual review.
If Management hedges about your review date, be pleasantly persistant. Send them a few emails a week. Mention it at the coffee machine. Or, combine Steps One and Two by sending Management a list of your accomplishments over the past year in order to spark interest. Then follow up by inquiring after your report.
"How did you like my personal assessment?"
You may get an impromptu review on the spot.
List Of Achievements
Knowing in advance that you are going to list your achievements for the past year is incentive in itself for you to go out and achieve. You are, in fact, self-incentivizing. Be sure and tell your boss.
Write you list of achievements well. Write it for your audience. The person who will give you your review is probably a very busy person. Be brief. Use bullets. Edit it down to one page.
Begin your list of achievements with an Executive Summary, just in case your manager or supervisor is too busy (or too attention deficient) to read one whole page. For the Executive Summary, boil down everything you talk about in your list of achievements into one short paragraph. Headline the paragraph, "Executive Summary". Next, create bullets and fill in between each one, and follow everything up with a brief conclusion. For example:
Annual Review: Patricia True
Prepared for Management
- Executive Summary
This year I became more productive, implemented new procedures to enhance company efficiency and suggested cost cutting measures to management that were later implemented.
- Improved Productivity
Over the past year I was able to rearrange my personal life, enabling me to come in earlier and leave later. As a result, I became more productive, getting more work done at no additional cost to the company.
- Implemented New Procedures
In November, 2008, I redesigned the model delivery procedure so that fewer mistakes would be made. Since my new procedure has been implemented, mistakes have been virtually eliminated.
- Cut Costs
In February, 2009, I suggested to Management that if we eliminated paper coffee cups we could save over $400 per year. In March, 2009, I suggested to Management that the air conditioning could be set one degree lower, saving the company over $4,000 in annual energy costs.
During the past year I have become more productive at no cost to the company and I have saved the company money by increasing efficiency and helping to cut costs.
Do not go empty-handed to your review. At the very least, bring your list of achievements. At best, create a presentation about how you will improve in the coming year and how you will improve the company.
Whatever you decide to present, it must be brief. To many managers, giving annual reviews is an odious task. Try to make it fun as well as informative. Use a little humor. Use graphics.
Your review can be an opportunity to impress Management and advance yourself in the company. All it takes is for you to make the effort to make it just that.
Of course, some managers are just plain mean, or just not interested in rewarding performance. Even so, preparing in this way for your review is an opportunity for personal growth. And, of course, it will help you assemble the material you need to sell yourself through your resume, cover letters and job interviews as you search for a job where they do, in fact, reward performance.