It’s a long way from your performance review. But that end-of-the-year spectacle will come up quicker than you think. The killer? Most people think they have no ability to influence their performance review — even with their performance.
The truth is, we all can influence our performance review — if we have anything resembling reasonable managers. If we don’t, well, that’s a completely different story.
Here’s the ultimate influencer: the self-review.
I know. Great let-down, right? The self-review? Yup.
The lousy work done on them gets thrown out the window all the time. But they don’t have to get thrown in the electronic trash can. Here’s what people do wrong when writing their self-reviews:
1. Most people think self-reviews don’t matter
Here’s the deal: your manager won’t remember the work you did during the year. Nor will your manager track your progress on your goals during the year. Too many people, not enough time, too much to do on their own job to worry about the ten people reporting to him or her.
How does your manager remember what you did during the year? Well, first, general impressions are formed through consistent status reports showing your accomplishments. If you have done good status reporting of your good work during the year, your manager will be more open to what you write in your self-review.
Second, you tell your manager your accomplishments in your self-review. And not in a way that is outstanding, but in a way that reflects reality. No one is perfect. No one is horrible. Call your accomplishments as you see them: some great, some fabulous, but great work overall. As long as you did the work. If you didn’t do the work, the better idea is to ignore this advice all together and hope you manager remembers more than you actually produced…
2. Back up the self-review with numbers
Numbers that reflect your impact on the business. Reduced cycle time. Lower inventory. Increased customer satisfaction. Reduced expenses. Increased sales.
Most people say they did a really great job and then fail miserably backing up that statement with numbers that impacted the business from their work. If you are not figuring out the impact of your work through numbers, you need to work on the Measurable part of SMART Goals…
3. Most people write the self-reviews wrong
They write them as if everything they did during the year was perfect. They show everything that was right and nothing that can get improved in their work. They note what they did but blame others for not completing goals.
They lose credibility in their manager’s eyes because what they write is not credible. As soon as a manager smells the “I’m so perfect” mantra coming from the self-review, they throw the credibility of the review right into the electronic trash bin. I know. I’m one of those managers that throw those types of self-reviews right into the trash bin.
The self-review gives your manager reasons to give you the rating
This story is true. I gave a rating to one of my employees that was higher than any rating that person received since they had started with the company. The phone call came from my manager questioning the rating. Because this person wrote a great self-review that contained numbers and the accomplishments against this person’s goals, in less than a minute my manager agreed with the rating, took the notes and was able to defend that rating with his peers.
The employee? An extra 2% increase against the lower rating and an extra $2,000 for the bonus. Thank you very much, self-review.
You can leave your performance rating to the whims of your manager — and with a good manager you might get lucky. The Cubicle Warrior, on the other hand, leaves nothing to chance. Besides your good work, the self-review is your ticket to translate that good work into a rating and ranking that gives you and your family the raises and bonuses you deserve.