What do you want out of a performance evaluation? More money? A promotion? More appreciation at work? Then it’s time to learn how to ace those performance reviews. That means preparation, and lots of it. Here’s what you need to do:

Learn the Process

Every organisation has different kinds of performance review processes. Ask HR or your manager about what will be covered in yours and how you will be rated / evaluated.

Know Your Achievements

Spend some time to sit down and look at what your goals and deliverables were from your last performance review. Assess yourself to find out how you’ve performed, using those standards as a benchmark. Make sure you collect evidence to back up each achievement to strengthen your case.

Understand What’s Expected of You

Do you know what constitutes as stellar, standout performance at your organisation? Based on that yardstick, how much value have you added to the organisation? Using this basic process, you should be able to demonstrate your contribution to the company and present a great case for a pay rise. Organisations like people who add value and tend to reward them for it.

What Makes Your Boss Tick?

Do you know what matters to your boss (and as an extension, the company)? The more you delve into what’s important to your boss, the easier it is to target your responses on the big day.

What Do You Want?

As mentioned at the start of this piece, you need to figure out what you want from the review. Is it a pay rise, a bonus, or a promotion? It’s very useful, nay, essential, to have your own objectives for the performance evaluation and a solid understanding of how you’re going to discuss them and make sure your position is well defined.

It’s also important to note that you need to be realistic about what you can get from this review – expecting exuberant salary increases and bonuses will get you nowhere (unless you have the work to show for it!).

Knowing what you want brings us to the most critical part of prepping for your evaluation:

Take Charge

Don’t be a passive participant and just let the review happen. Take the proverbial bull by the horn and own the meeting. Bring your documented evidence of deliverables and work to back up your case, request feedback and set time frames for any promises made at the meeting to ensure they aren’t forgotten – this applies to both your employer and you! After all, they’re offering you improvements with an expectation of even greater things from you.

You need to consider developing a policy of “continuous review” to ensure maximum returns by the time your next performance evaluations turn up. This involves some behavioral shifts as follows:

Learn to follow up. You will have questions about your evaluation even after the meeting has concluded – learn to bring those up to your manager and boss. It will demonstrate your ability to mold and evolve and learn to overcome any deficits and improve upon your strengths. This will also clarify that both you and your manager are on the same page regarding the salient points of the review.

Develop an ongoing, goal oriented approach. If you weren’t given goals at your evaluation, you need to initiate that process on your own. Having goals to meet is the best way to avoid surprises regarding your own performance – it’s the basis for good career growth and development.

Ensure that the goals agreed upon by you and your boss are realistic, achievable and time based! You can use a process of ongoing feedback to know where you stand, goal wise, at any point. This lets you be on top of your performance and deliverables at all times while also continuously demonstrating your evolution to your employers.

Know that a performance review is a critical stepping stone to your success. Effort invested now will pay off in the future!