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How to Rock Your Year-End Performance Review

The season for turkeys, snowflakes and gift exchanges also marks the time for end-of-year performance reviews. Though widely recognized as a source of anxiety for many employees, with the proper preparation and if well handled by managers, performance reviews can offer a valuable opportunity to give and receive constructive feedback. Here are a few notes to set the tone to rock your end-of-year performance reviews!

1. Ask for [regular] feedback

Some managers are good at providing frequent feedback, others — not so much. If you and your boss don’t have regular one-on-ones, biweekly or monthly meetings scheduled, considering doing so, and don’t be afraid to ask how you’re doing.

“Don’t assume that no news is good news when it comes to how you’re doing at work,” says Career Bliss. “Schedule a few minutes periodically to check in with your boss. Give her a status report and ask if you’re working in the right direction. Use the feedback as a guide to address shortcomings and build on successes.” If you are receiving and giving regular feedback with your manager, there should be no surprises at your annual review.

2. Be armed and ready

Don’t go into your year-end review without the data that shows the quality of your work. Throughout the year, maintain detailed notes, spreadsheets, charts, emails and project evaluations that provide evidence of your contributions to your team and company. “Set aside time at the end of every week, month or quarter to review your accomplishments and highlight the ones that really stand out,” suggests Kelly Clay of Payscale.com. “These might be things you did that made a difference to your personal life (such as something that directly led to a raise) or accomplishments that you want to make a note of for your annual review or to add to your resume.”

3. Assess yourself

At some firms, employees are asked to evaluate themselves prior to their performance reviews. This is a good opportunity to take stock of your work and accomplishments as well as the areas where you would like to develop in the future. Whether the self-evaluation process is part of your company’s process or not, complete this exercise anyway. You might be surprised at how much you have accomplished over the course of the year!

4. Participate

Don’t let your boss do all the talking. Be prepared to represent yourself, your achievements and your professional goals when you meet with your manager. Although you will want to present yourself and your work in a positive light, don’t be afraid to acknowledge where your performance might have faltered. “Honestly assess where you can improve and take responsibility for your mistakes,” says Nicole Cavazos of Zip Recruiter. “Anticipate any related questions and don’t make excuses or blame anybody else. It’s always best to take the high road.”

5. Show facts and figures, not feelings

There’s no question that it’s tough to hear constructive feedback. Yet do your best to keep your emotions in check. Instead of emoting, take a deep breath and ask your employer to clarify where mistakes were made and how you might handle similar situations in the future.

6. Create an action plan

Don’t leave your review without a detailed action plan! Your action plan should include goals and objectives designed to address areas where you need improvement, as well as those that will help you reach your professional aspirations. Revisit the plan every few months and revise as needed.

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