Ask Your Boss: How Should I Prepare For an Annual Review?

“Year end reviews are just around the corner at some workplaces. What does my manager do in the next month to prepare for the review process? What can I do to prepare for the review process? For next year, how can I take the feedback from my coming review and prioritize my improvement efforts?”

We don’t do annual reviews at my workplace. We used to do it, but not anymore. I never liked it anyway, so I embraced this change quite enthusiastically. I am one of those who prefer to give feedback as we go, not once a year.

Let me give you a few pointers of how I would prepare myself for an annual performance review.

  1. Make a list of your responsibilities and grade yourself in each area. Be objective and honest with yourself. What’s the point of lying, right?
  2. Make a list of goals that you would like to set up for yourself for the next year. What do you want to achieve in the new year? What would you like to change? Think about it as your career development plan.
  3. Make a list of your accomplishments. Match them up with your job description. It always helps. Did you work on any ambitious projects this year? Write them down.
  4. Make a list of any conflicts and/or disagreements with your boss that happened in the last year. Be ready to discuss them. However, don’t bring it up yourself. It might never be mentioned, but it is always a good idea to be prepared.
  5. Make sure to be as detailed as possible. I, personally, love detailed examples.
  6. Make sure to address last year’s feedback you got from your boss. It shows that you are willing to improve. It shows that you care.
  7. Are there any problem areas you would like to address? This is the time to do it!
  8. Most importantly, take your time to prepare for the annual performance review. I always feel better going into one, knowing that I can address pretty much any question that might arise.

By the way, any manager goes through the same process that I listed above for you. this is exactly how I was preparing myself. We make lists of things we want to address. Sometimes we make these lists throughout the year, so that we remember everything that happened. We keep notes. At least, I do. I have a (locked) file drawer where I keep files on every employee. I keep my notes and emails. I am sure most managers do the same.

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