Performance review tips for employees

November 8, 2021

This article is from Robert Half. View their article at the bottom.

Most people dread job performance reviews (cue ominous music), whether they’re on the giving or receiving end, but you’re not doing yourself any favors by calling in sick to avoid them. Companies have figured out it’s worthwhile to devote time and attention to employee evaluations, leading to new performance review tips for managers and their teams.

Performance review tips for employees

These meetings can affect everything from your career path to your chances for that raise you’ve been asking for, so it’s not surprising if they make you nervous.

But performance appraisals actually can be helpful. The key lies in making the meeting work in your favor. How exactly do you do that? There are several ways, some of which require preparation. Others involve adjusting the way you receive constructive criticism.

For employees, setting a goal to make a good impression at work (followed by a positive review) starts with small, everyday efforts to improve their performance. Here are seven tips to help you prepare for— and rock — your performance review:

1. Show your adaptability. 

One way to demonstrate this attribute is to become more proficient in the latest software or to attend seminars, webinars and courses. Explain how you’ve shown initiative to build your job skills.

2. Be innovative.

This could be anticipating an upcoming task and tackling it beforehand, mentoring or providing assistance to a colleague, or doing something for the greater team, like volunteering to lead a project not yet assigned to someone. Have you had an idea that was successfully implemented, or did you find a way the department’s budget could be used more effectively? Bring it up.

3. Speak positively.

Talking energetically about the company and the people you work with contributes to a positive workplace.

4. Listen.

Remember, the goal of feedback is not to make you feel bad. Instead, it’s intended to help bring out the best of your abilities. So actively listen to what your manager is saying and consider how you can apply the words to your responsibilities.

5. Dig deeper.

If you have questions about the reviewer’s feedback, don’t hesitate to ask them. After all, you can’t improve unless you completely understand what areas need improvement and exactly why you’re not meeting expectations. Also, many managers will see your active interest as a positive sign indicating that you’re planning to act on their feedback.

6. Drop the defensiveness.

Nothing good comes of performance reviews if you go on the defensive, trying to offer explanations or excuses. If you do need to explain a mistake or misunderstanding, that’s fine, but make sure you have supporting evidence. Otherwise, you could sound like you are playing a game of he-said-she-said.

7Be engaged

Performance reviews are a conversation between you and your manager, which is why you need talking points. “Winging it” is rarely effective and could waste the allotted time you have each period for this one-on-one.

  • Is there something you could be doing differently?
  • What new skills and knowledge do you need to become more of an asset?
  • What goals does your employer have for you?
  • How can you be more helpful to your team?
  • What company challenges does your manager predict over the next year?

The world of work is changing — as it always has and will continue to do — and direct, open and honest feedback are the watchwords you want to make sure are part of your workplace.

Robert Half. “15 Performance Review Tips to Usher in a New Era.” New Era of Performance Review Tips | Robert Half, Robert Half, 10 Sept. 2019,

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