Performance reviews are those things that happen at the end of the year, right? So, not much to worry about until much later. Time to sit back and relax a bit, easing into the new year.
Cubicle Warriors, though, know that starting the year off right means the probability of ending the year right with their performance review. Here’s what you need to start your new year off right.
Goals are set and have to know how to achieve them (all levels)
Most companies work on your yearly goals for this year back in the fourth quarter of last year. Or maybe they are working on them right now. Regardless, you have two action items. First, make sure your goals are really set. Follow the SMART goal approach, even if your company doesn’t fully embrace that method of setting goals. If you can’t measure your goals, know they are reasonable, are attainable and have a time-frame associated with them, you won’t be able to reach — or re-negotiate — your goals.
Second, every goal has a story of how you will attain the goal. If your goal is to reduce expenses by 5%, you should have a plan to achieve that through actionable steps. So take a look at your goals. Do you know how you will achieve each of them? What your next step is to start achieving them? If you don’t, you’ll never reach your goals for the new year.
Your goal-tracking mechanism in place
It’s one thing to know how you will go about achieving your goal. It is an entirely different matter to measure your progress of attainment. How will you know you are on track for achieving your goal? If you don’t know, you can’t measure progress — or communicate your attainment to your manager.
Besides, how do you know what you attained in the first quarter when it comes time to do your performance review in the fourth quarter? You won’t, unless you have a tracking mechanism in place.
You know how to improve your competency (soft skills)
Outside of goals, the other major area of your performance review is your competencies or your soft skills on the job. Things like how well you understand the business or how you do at teamwork is not related to attaining goals, but how well you do with your team. What things do you plan to do to improve those soft skills?
Without the plan, you won’t be able to demonstrate to your manager come performance review time what you did to help the department or business with your work.
Look, it’s easy to coast a bit during the beginning of the year. While everyone else is coasting, ensure that you have your goals in place, know how you’ll track them and what you’ll do to improve your soft skills during the year.
It’s what Cubicle Warriors do.