Guru Tips 1V4

14 Mar, 2012

Guru Guidance Tips: Annual Performance Reviews

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Read time: 1 minute, 40 seconds


The Scenario

With several years of experience under their belt, the mentee is interested in taking on more responsibilities. Annual performance reviews are coming up, so the mentee asks for suggestions on how to get the most out of this process. What is an appropriate way to solicit candid feedback during the review and discover areas for improvement? If justified, how should the mentee broach the potentially uncomfortable topic of negotiating a raise? And if the mentee is unable to negotiate increased responsibilities and/or pay, how can they gauge whether the timing was simply not right or whether they need to seek opportunities to grow their career at another firm?

Firms have varying approaches to performance reviews

  • Some managers give you a chance to describe your accomplishments
    • Even if this is not the case, you can keep track of your achievements and milestones – can keep manager informed of your progress throughout the year or provide a compiled list in advance of the review so your manager can be prepared to discuss it with you
  • Think about any feedback you would like to give to your manager regarding their role, if you are asked
  • There should be no surprises in a performance review. If communication is good all along, the formal review should just be a re-cap.

Never go into a performance review expecting a raise. It is often best not to ask for one outright.

  • If your company does not have a formal review process, you can request to meet with your supervisors to discuss accomplishments and establish future goals
    • Consistently demonstrate an eagerness to improve and contribute to the firm - a good manager will recognize this attitude and reward progress, when appropriate.
    • You could write an ideal future job description to identify what you would like to work toward and engage your manager to help create a plan to get there
  • Do not present industry-wide salary benchmarks as justification for a raise
    • It is difficult to accurately compare salaries from company to company without knowing more about the responsibilities and career levels of the survey respondents.
  • Be mindful of the economy before asking for a raise
  • It helps to be open to considering other, non-cash benefits as well, if the firm is able to offer them – e.g. an extra vacation day or half days on one Friday a month during the summer
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