Preparing for a Performance Review

If your company supports professional development; you likely undertake quarterly, bi-annual or annual performance reviews.  Here is a useful exercise to help you prepare for any upcoming reviews, and how best to outline your achievements.

The Review Doc!

The Review Doc prompts you to think about your specific responsibilities, what your managers expectations are, and subsequently the actions you’ve taken to accomplish them.

Writing these down provides you with a better understanding of what you have achieved and how. Doing this regularly gives you time for personal review and reflection to help improve work performance, ensure your actions are aligning to what your manager views as successful or can also assist in highlighting areas for further training and development.

Ideally this is created from Day 1 as a go-to template to edit and update throughout your evaluation period.

First off;

  • know your goals and performance objectives and
  • know how your manager measures success

Second, create a five column table as shown below:

                  A                                             B                                       C                               D                                E

Responsibilities Measurement/Actions Limitations Proposed Actions Additional Achievements
task/responsibility 1 a) What is the expectation (measurement of success)

b) What actions you undertook to meet that expectation

List any limitations you encountered that may have slowed the process / progress of achieving the task Any suggestions you have to alleviate limitations and assist in accomplishing the task OR
any suggestions on how to make your actions / processes more efficient in achieving the task.
Anything else you may have done that was over and above your responsibilities that effected this area
task/responsibility 2
task/responsibility 3
task/responsibility 4
task/responsibility 5
task/responsibility 6
task/responsibility 7
  1. Column A = Responsibilities
    • Outline each of your responsibilities for your current position (review your job specification to assist in compiling this list).
  2. Column B = Measurement/Actions
    • Measurement – reflects the expectation of your Manager (i.e. the metric or specific goal associated with that task)
    • Actions – outline how you met/addressed/tackled each responsibility (i.e. what actions you took to accomplish the task, keeping in mind the measurement metric).
  3. Column C = Limitations
    • Outline any limitations (if any) faced in trying to achieve each task  *TIP: typically you don’t want to sit on these only mentioning at review stage. Use your better judgement and address accordingly, otherwise, not mentioning and expecting to utilise these as an excuse at your review will not go in your favour.  You’ll get the “Why didn’t you tell me this earlier” response!.
  4. Column D = Proposed Actions
    • Come to the table with thoughts and suggestions around resolving any road blocks that may have caused restrictions to your role OR outline suggested improvements/efficiency to achieve the task  *TIP: bringing suggestions to the table shows that you are solution oriented and are not limited by your current remit.
  5. Column E = Additional Achievements
    • Outline any additional tasks you have undertaken that were over and above your core remit; (highlighting special projects, helping team members, strategic initiatives etc.  This column can be continued for any undertakings that are not task specific, just list these further down so as not aligned to any one responsibility). 

This document should be a continual work in progress and updated to reflect new goals or metrics as assigned and /or changed throughout the evaluation period.

When scripted as above, you have a clear understanding of what you have or have not achieved and to what degree.  It outlines your level of expertise in this particular remit and highlights areas for upskilling where appropriate.

I advice completing and sharing with your Manager in advance of your review meeting.  Reflect on what you have accomplished within the evaluation period and based on performance, approach the discussion constructively.

Preparing a review document shows you are taking ownership of your own career by tracking your own performance, allowing for self reflection and being able to bring constructive solutions to your Manager for consideration.

Being prepared like this will eliminate ambiguity and uncertainty around your review and provides a more constructive landscape to discuss clearly your role, achievements, growth and development within the position and company at your next Performance Review.

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