Annual Reviews – The Roadmap to Success

It’s that dreaded time of year when your boss calls you into her office and hands you the all too familiar annual review form. Your heart beats wildly as you try to read the small print crammed into the little boxes titled “Comments”. Whew! You let out a mental sigh of relief because there are no unsatisfactory boxes checked. But some of the comments your boss makes about your work performance comes as a shock. What does she mean, “lacks initiative” or “needs to work on her time management skill” or may be even something like “lacks confidence”? Why didn’t she talk to me earlier, so I could improve BEFORE my review was written up….and why didn’t she write anything about the new marketing plan I put together. Everyone is already using it. Well, it’s too late now. I wonder if I’ll even get that promotion?

Most people take on a passive role in their review process, but the MsFiscallyFit Professional Woman takes a proactive role in her evaluation process. She is not surprised by any of her boss’ comments; instead she actually takes part in preparing the review form. The review process is a necessary step in getting the promotion and raise YOU want. Use the evaluation form as your road map to success.

Don’t expect your boss to remember all your past achievements. She may have several people to review and a year can be a long time. First find out when your review is scheduled. Submit a summary of all your achievements during the year with the results to your boss (give her ample time to evaluate it). Clearly detail the effects to the company’s bottomline. Did you increase revenues through a new marketing program? Did you reduce expenses by eliminating a cumbersome process? Be specific. Maybe someone in accounting can help put together some solid numbers to include in your summary. List all new accounts established during the year. Calculate a client retention rate and compare it to the company average. The idea is to increase the odds in your favor. You want your boss to see you as you see yourself.

In order to make the necessary improvements in your work performance, you need to have a clear understanding of your areas of weakness. Don’t let your boss get away with those “nebulous” terms like “lacks confidence” or needs to improve her time management skills”. Ask them to give you specific examples. You need to identify an action not just a general description.

We all want to be promoted and make more money. Right? To achieve that goal each year you need a plan of action and that is exactly why you need a review. Effective review forms not only document your past performance, but also outline what you need to change, improve or achieve during the next year in order to move up in ranks. If you are shooting for a promotion next year, tell your boss about it during your review. Don’t be shy. It’s all about good communication. You want and need her on your side. Ask her to draw out exactly what it will take to get that promotion. Do you need additional classes? Do you need to up your rating from satisfactory to excellent and if so what will it take? Can she help get you on a high-profile project and expose you to the right people? Now all you need to do is follow that plan of action, counsel often with your boss during the year and success will be “done deal”.

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