How To Survive Your Annual Performance Review

Leave the nerves at the door, and walk into your annual review confident and ready.

Performance reviews are a necessary evil in the modern workplace.

Necessary? Yes, indeed. They exist to keep you on track with the company’s objectives, as well as to plan for next year’s strategy. Evil? Only if you don’t put any effort into them. The good news is that these are short-term data points. This puts you in the power seat. Here’s how to make a big impact on your own future when you take control of this annual exercise.


Make a plan that’s good for you and the company. Be proactive. Show up to the meeting with your supervisor with a prepared list of objectives for 2015. Your plan should include personal and professional development, such as attending one industry conference annually. This would be something beneficial to you (new contacts!) and the company (expanding your professional network).


You want to get the most out of this assignment, and it’s important to propel yourself. Plus, work should be fun! Individualize your plan as much as possible. Think about goals that you would enjoy, like subscribing to news feeds, reading books about your industry, forming a business resource group, writing articles for your company’s newsletter, or mentoring a new-hire.

Here are the top five subjects you should include in every performance plan and review checklist. Don’t forget to make them SMART.

1. Educational Outside sources include TED talks, MOOCs, industry magazines, email feeds, books, and iTunes University. Inside sources include your company’s educational platform, media press releases, industry news on their website, or mentoring from a senior manager.

2. Financial If you work at a for-profit business, you were hired to help contribute to the bottom line. In non-profits or governmental agencies, controlling costs is very important. Have a plan for how you can contribute.

3. Customer Making connections, contributing business leads, and speaking positively about your company have great impact and show you know why your job has purpose. Don’t forget about your internal customers as well as you external customers.

4. Community Your company has a philanthropic side as well. Volunteer, do service within your company, and build relationships within your building. Just because it’s not in your job description doesn’t mean it’s not your job.

5. Connections What’s more important to your professional development than company networking, participating in professional groups, and peer mentoring? These are the key ways to ensure your best professional development.

Finally, don’t forget to do your research, so you can justify everything you’ve brought to the table. You want to build off last year’s review, and help you’re boss’s review look better, too!

Bethany Miller is a business executive, professional pilot, military officer, and avid traveler.

This article originally appeared in Levo, then in Fast Company.

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