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Navigating Performance Reviews

From a personal standpoint, December and January represent many exciting things that we look forward to, from holiday gift shopping to spending quality time with family and friends. From a workplace perspective, this time is filled with rushing to meet deadlines before people are out-of-office for the holidays or before the week of manufacturing downtime starts.

Since most people keep busy by focusing and addressing their daily work responsibilities and handling all the unexpected obstacles that always seem to make an appearance before the holidays, the idea of year end performance reviews usually gets put on the back burner until the actual meeting rolls around.

We understand how hectic times may be around the end of the year, so we put together a guide of some things you might experience during your review meeting that you might not have expected. The intention of this post is to allow you to prepare for some of the situations so you’re not caught off guard. Of course, this list is not all-inclusive and each company has its own Performance Review process, but we think the following information will help you enter this meeting confidently.

Managers may ask you to provide input on colleagues if your role requires any cross-collaboration amongst teams or departments.

Some questions they may ask are:

  1. Is this team member an effective communicator? Do many questions need to be addressed before actions can be completed?

  2. Does this team member make commitments on time? Do they require many follow-ups on actions assigned?

  3. Are they open to feedback when you have questions about their “ask” or what they’d like to implement?

  4. What would make this person a better team member to work alongside?

You’ll likely have to complete a self evaluation before meeting with your manager - this is a pretty routine practice across industries.

This evaluation helps your manager understand how the conversation might go based on your responses - whether you think you’ve been nothing but stellar or if you brought up a few situations that you learned from and will be able to handle a bit better in the future.

During your review meeting, your manager might ask you for input on what your expectations are regarding salary increases.

This may be surprising, but good managers focus on retaining qualified talent and want to ensure expectations are met. Take some time prior to the meeting to reflect on the value you brought to your team and company as a whole this past year to understand the effort level you’ve put into your role responsibilities and what percentage you’d be happy with. If you’re not sure and are content with your situation, one good response option is, “I don’t have a number in mind at this time, although I’m looking for something comparable to last year’s increase.”

A few topics you should be prepared to speak on are:
  1. Your feelings on your current role and whether you want to move to another role internally within the company.

  2. Discuss what you want to focus on and work on more and vice versa what you’ve disliked and what project types you’d like to avoid if possible.

  3. Bring attention to what you accomplished the past year. Mention quantitative accomplishments such as, “I reviewed/drafted X number of documents during this time period.”


Stay tuned for more articles about how to deal with other stressful meetings that you might come across as a professional in the STEM field - be sure to subscribe to our email list to stay up to date!


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