If you’ve experienced a performance review, then you know how daunting it can be. This is especially exacerbated if the review does not go as well as you had hoped. Ever been told that your performance did not meet the expectations set for you at your job? It’s not a great feeling, is it?
However, it does not have to be the end of the world. There are certain things you can do to make sure you don’t end up losing your job, which is the worst-case scenario. So how do you work your way back to getting a glowing performance review?
1. Understand your blind spots – Take time to reflect on the feedback, don’t let your first reaction be defensiveness. Pay attention to the feedback and take time to internalize it without hurrying to point a finger to other factors. Then, ask for clarifications where need be, understand how your shortcomings may have affected expected outcomes and the impact they may have caused to your department or organization. This can all feel very uncomfortable, however, it’s a critical step that will feed into how you can work on improving your performance.
2. Create SMART goals – Once you have understood what past behaviors led to a bad performance review, it’s time to come up with clear goals that will meet set expectations, to improve. This should be a collaborative process, and so you should work with your supervisor to draft them, leaving no room for assumption. Ideally, you should take the initiative in coming up with these goals because this would make you feel in charge of your development plan, and also shows that you understand what areas you need to work on. Here is a guide to creating SMART goals you can use, which is also applicable to managers/supervisors, for any of you reading this.
3. Have your own Personal Improvement Plan (PIP) – What is a PIP? It’s a tool designed to help you work towards achieving specific goals. It’s a clear plan/strategy for how determined goals will be achieved; what resources will be needed, support required and from whom, expected performance outcomes (KPIs) and timelines, and should have an agreement on when reviews to track progress can be done. You can find multiple templates here. It’s important to point out that PIPs can also be used in other cases, such as when you’re transitioning into a new role, or you just began working in a new organization. In fact, we recommend you try this because it’s a good way of documenting your progress and assessing your performance on your own, in case this is not a standard practice where you work.
4. Put in the work – This simply means that you need to be intentional in the steps you take towards achieving expected goals. This could include but is not limited to; taking up online courses to improve on particular skills and setting aside time to do so, asking a peer to help you learn more about a certain area that you’re weak in, or even shadowing them in certain tasks, etc. If there are any resources that your supervisor should provide you with, make sure you ask of them early in advance, preferably, as soon as you have your PIP created and approved.
5. Ask for feedback periodically – Ideally, the onus is on you to request for feedback from your supervisor(s). Markup days on your calendar (informed by timelines on PIP) where you can talk to them about their views on your progress thus far. This will let you know whether you are on the right track, or if there needs to be a revision of set expectations. You can also request feedback from your peers, who may be helping you in this journey.
Ever received a not so stellar performance review? How did things go?
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