Every year when it’s time for your annual review, does a feeling of panic flood your body? Or if not panic, thoughts of “I have no idea where to begin to think about my year”?
If so, you’re not alone. Many people don’t have an approach to their annual review that sets them up for an ideal outcome for their career- the promotion, the raise or the additional responsibilities. First hint: it’s a year round process!
Here are the 4 critical components for a successful annual review:
- Plan throughout the year- this is not a one-night-only kind of exercise. The day after your annual review is when you start thinking about the next one.
- Start weaving your accomplishments and projects of note into weekly meetings with your manager a few weeks out from your review- there’s no harm in sharing accolades, praise or accomplishments with him or her beforehand!
2. Facts & Figures
- Did you increase departmental sales year on year by 30%? If you don’t know, figure it out! Taking the time to understand your department or function’s KPIs and understanding how you stack up against it in hard figures is critical to being prepared for your review. And if you’re doing it all along, it’s a breeze!
- Not in a position with cold, hard numbers? Maybe you improved a process so that things take less time by 30%. Even if you don’t have a sales or numbers oriented gig, think more deeply about what you offer and try to quantify it. If it’s just not applicable, think about the IMPACT you had on a department, client, or the organization as a whole.
- All of the above would be for naught if you didn’t document this stuff! I use a step by step “Projects of Impact” exercise with my clients that allows us to explore the many different facets of a project including the scope of the project, key stakeholders, outcomes for company, outcomes for clients, impact and lessons learned. Then they can use this for a variety of ‘projects’ of their own- their annual review or their LinkedIn profile or, if they’re looking for a new challenge, their interviews and job search strategy.
- If someone says something great about you and your impact on a project, document it! And if you can go a step further, ask them to write you a LinkedIn recommendation on just that very thing. Asking them in real time, rather than waiting 3 months, means it’s more likely to get done and say what you want it to say.
- If you get constructive feedback (and you should invite that in whenever you can!), document it and then showcase your steps to improve it. It can be another tab on the same excel workbook as the projects exercise I mentioned above. Keeping it all in one place means you’re likely to a) remember where it is and b) continue these exercises throughout the year. Doing this for a few minutes each time something happens worth documenting means that when it’s time for the review process, your prep is minimal. Voila!!
Once you’ve implemented this process (or one that works for you), you’re more fully able to know your worth at work, thus making asking for that salary increase THAT much less daunting, because you’re backing it up with facts and feedback, rather than nebulous concepts. And doesn’t that take away some of the uncertainty of asking?
If you’re interested in learning more about how to do this, I’m a panelist and workshop facilitator on April 13 at $mart Women’s Finance Your Dream Life Workshop. Details are here.