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by Nancy Guberti | March 10, 2009


Performance reviews can prove valuable to an individual's career development. If a company conducts reviews properly, the employee should receive pertinent feedback from peers and managers and, if applicable, clients. Be sure to check your company's review schedule - reviews may take place on an annual, semi-annual or even quarterly basis.

The review usually consists of two components: the written or electronic review, and the oral review or review meeting.

The written or electronic review should be divided into several sections: goals achieved by the employee, future goals, the employee's strengths and weaknesses, and helpful recommendations for the employee's future growth.

The review process may include information on promotions, bonuses, career transfers, or an increase in job responsibilities. This will depend on factors such as the formality of the review, its intended purpose, and the frequency with which reviews are conducted. Many organizations combine performance reviews with promotions and bonuses. Some companies, however, are more concerned with providing feedback to the employee than they are with compensation and advancement issues.

The review meeting can either be an asset or hindrance to the individual, depending on how effective the manager is at giving the appropriate information and feedback. It is important for the manager performing the review to show the employee that time and effort was put into the review process. Employees should be made to feel that they are an integral part of the organization in order to encourage them to address their weaknesses, work on further strengthening positive areas, and achieve future goals.

If your reviews take place on an annual basis, you must inquire about future promotions, increases in job responsibilities, and any desires for transfers or new projects. Do not rush your review - regard it as a very important time to receive formal feedback and discuss your future career path. Ask questions, and offer ideas to improve the work of your group or the company in general. Hopefully, your ideas will be appreciated, recorded and acted upon. You may also want to follow up on these ideas and suggestions at a later date.~Unfortunately, some reviews may raise internal political issues or power struggles. Some managers are insecure, intimidated by their employees' performance, or just lacking in interpersonal skills. We've all come across someone who is not looking out for the best interests of the employee and the firm. To work around this dilemma, request that your mentor or another manager be present at your review and active during the entire review process.

Ask for a copy of the written review so you can gauge your progress and remind yourself of your future goals. Do not sign any review unless you are totally in agreement with the information accumulated from the review process. Also, make sure that your goals are achievable - otherwise at your next review your manager will want to know why you didn't meet expectations. That puts you in an unfortunate position.

Performance reviews should be beneficial to you. Be prepared and be positive!


Filed Under: Job Search