Did you achieve all your goals for this year? How are you progressing relative to your peers? Are you meeting expectations — or exceeding them in a way that positions you for advancement? How do you know?
Annual reviews are a typical end-of-year activity, and it seems that neither employee nor employer are particularly fond of the process. I ran across some statistics on LinkedIn earlier this year that show rather than traditional reviews, “80% of Gen Y said they prefer on-the-spot recognition,” and almost as many “HR execs believe performance reviews aren’t an accurate representation of employee performance.”
One may be tempted to conclude that formal employee reviews are more of a necessary evil than a valuable tool for career development. Yes, immediate feedback — both positive and constructive — is valued and impactful. It is often more specific, and frequent feedback enables one to immediately make improvements or corrections.
That said, I believe formal reviews create an opportunity for us to be intentional about long-term development in a way that “on the spot” feedback does not.
Be Purposeful About Performance
As you begin thinking about this year’s review process, I challenge you to make it a useful endeavor. Employers who are purposeful about the review process demonstrate a commitment to the ongoing development of team members. Do not view the performance review as a nuisance or as only a means to determine compensation. This process opens the door for conversations about your future.
Formal reviews make it possible for you to ensure you are working toward your career goals. These conversations give you an opportunity to articulate your successes and accept feedback. Use that feedback, and identify areas for development. Sitting down with a supervisor may be intimidating, but remember, those individuals are valuable resources who can help you grow. By opening the door of communication, you can better understand expectations and clarify how you fit into the overall strategy of the company, ultimately enabling you to contribute to the vision in meaningful ways.