How to prepare for performance reviews

Posted on Thu 12 January 2023 in Leadership

It's that time of the year, for performance reviews. I want to write here about how you could plan it better and be prepared.

Start advocating for yourself

If you are new to this, you need to start from somewhere. This gets better with practice. For beginners new to this, do the following:

  • Get clear on what your goals are: Do this yourself or take your manager/mentor 's help.
  • Learn to articulate them for yourself: Do you feel good about it? Do you feel challenged, motivated and excited?
  • Share it with peers, your team, your manager.

Think about yourself as a product where you are the only best marketing person to pitch about yourself.

Journal small wins

I keep a log of all the messages I receive on slack when someone gives positive or negative feedback. I message myself on Slack, and this way it is easier to track all conversations, date, time, etc.

One benefit of doing this is when it is time for performance reviews, you have the context, history and log right there. All you need to do is to document or write them down in a verbose manner.

Impactful outcome vs output

You might be working on OKRs or any other goal based framework to track your team/company 's work and progress. You will notice how they get written in a way they are aspirational and impactful.

Similarly, while writing a self-review, focus on the following:

  • Write about the impact achieved vs a mere output: Example - you might have worked on 15 tasks, but if you are not able to write a summarised version of the impact achieved through this, then this will not be valued.
  • Focus on numbers or be quantitative where possible: Example - worked on increasing the test coverage by 10%. cut down the website loading time by 10s.
  • Write about what you were able to learn: It's not always about doing what you know, being able to learn a new topic which you did not know about previously and being able to write about the impact achieved through that is equally valuable. The learning can be slow, it does not matter. What matters is that you have a continuous learning aptitude and you were able to grow.