Get the most out of your annual review
WITH KIMBERLY RIPLEY
MPS, SHRM-CP, HR MANAGER AND A VOLUNTEER LEADER FOR THE SOCIETY FOR HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT HAWAII CHAPTER
If you work in an organization that conducts annual employee reviews, you may have experienced this common emotion: dread. But annual employee reviews don’t have to be so stressful.
Supervisors can create an environment where daily (or at least weekly) communication occurs and feedback is continuous. If you’re the one being reviewed, consider taking steps throughout the year to communicate to your supervisor about the good work that you’re doing and ask for open, honest feedback about how you can improve.
Q: How should I prepare for an annual review meeting with my supervisor?
A: The annual review meeting should be a summary of your accomplishments over the prior year and a strategy session for the coming year. Ideally, nothing you hear from your supervisor at this meeting should be a surprise. Before you meet, write down what you feel that you’ve achieved, noting any special projects or activities that were especially challenging. If you typically receive a written review, ask if it can be provided to you in plenty of time before the meeting. That way, when you and your supervisor meet, there will be less emotion and stress since you are both prepared, as well as have had a chance to digest the information. Kindly inquire for the meeting to be held in a private location with uninterrupted time.
Q: How can I achieve a win-win outcome from the annual review meeting?
A: The spirit in which you and your supervisor approach the meeting will make a difference in its outcome. If your supervisor has not demonstrated an intention to genuinely help you improve in the past, consider whether there is a preliminary conversation you could initiate to set the right tone. You could start by saying, “You will be meeting with me for my annual review next week — are there any things I could be thinking about now that you know you plan to discuss?” While this may not result in positive feedback immediately, it could open the door to better and more frequent conversation over time. Conversation is the key word that should define the annual meeting — and the overall supervisor-employee relationship.
Q: What questions should I expect my supervisor to ask me?
A: Many supervisors are likely to start off with, “What do you expect to be the most challenging thing about your goals for this quarter?” This can then lead to questions such as, “What support will help you reach these goals?” or, “What are your hopes for your achievements at our organization this year?” After reviewing the prior year, you can work together to develop goals that will meet both of your needs.