Here’s the secret that only a handful of people who have worked for me in my career have really understood: your review is completed months before you receive it.
Consequently, the (necessary) work of actually writing the review is too little, too late.
Some of the reason is simply logistics: in a large company, the ratings — and raises — need to be submitted early enough so that your manager’s manager can review the impact, make changes, and then send the information up the chain for the next level of approvals.
By the time that is done — in a large company, this can be four levels of approvals, including to the Board of Directors (it affects budget) — three months can pass before you actually get your review. The review you receive along with the possible promotion and raise at the end of December was all done by your manager by the end of September. And you had your mid-year review in July.
But I write my own self-review!
Writing a self-review does three important things for your manager, and these should not be discounted:
But, by the time you write your self-review or very soon thereafter, you have no more legitimate input into your review because of the logistics above.
Four ways to never have your manager rate you low
Since the ratings and raises are determined before the manager ever writes the review, here are the keys to never being rated low:
This will feel uncomfortable at first, especially if your manager is not well organized or isn’t into conversations about performance (you’d be surprised how often this is the case). But, come up with a format to review your work and try it for six months. It will become more comfortable and you and your manager will be able to discuss performance easier.
Managers want to know that their employees are capable of handling the work and can communicate. More is icing on the cake. Following these steps will help ensure you’ll never be rated low by management — or you’ll know about it.
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