Annual Performance Review

As the end of the year approaches, there comes that moment that we all love to hate. The day your manager has to call you into a room and have a somewhat awkward conversation. Yes, I mean the annual performance review. As you review your notes, try to remember the goals you set months ago, feeling the need to justify your actions to continue receiving a paycheck. But when was the last time you benefited from the review process?

We have all been there. And a small percentage of you really enjoy the process. So if you’re in that small group, I’ll set you free. You can  stop reading now. Skip to another article, Medium’s homepage is a great place to start. Okay, now that it’s just you and me, let’s talk about why so many companies fail in the process.

Performance reviews

Your manager, like a coach, should provide guidance and criticism. If you were playing a sport, how would you do if the coach only gave you feedback during the last game of the season, and that feedback was to tell you how badly you played during the first game? How relevant would the information be if you had 20 games? Or 50 games?

That is what most of us believe is happening. By the time we get the appraisal, the issues are ancient history. The issues have been resolved or are in the past, making the comments feel like an afterthought.

It often seems that even before we go into the process, the organization has predetermined the ranking we will get with the pay increase. Managers have even admitted it to me; this is the way it works in your organizations. No wonder we feel so disenchanted.
Then there are the criticisms themselves. The onus is on the employee to evaluate himself. In fact, there are better ways to determine a person’s worth than to make him remember every detail of the past year. To give yourself a ranking of 1 to 5 in your competition, then write a justification for why they deserve that rank.

We know that there are problems with the system and companies are moving towards changing, or even eliminating, the performance review. But I’m sorry you can’t escape this year. What can you do to better prepare for the assessment? Here are some tips to help you.

Working the system

Like the American educational system, performance evaluation is an outdated measure from a different era. The workforce you provided feedback for has long left the US But we still “rate” employees through its use. Like the education system, we adapt to how it works in practice, rather than how it should work in principle. And, unfortunately, that means you will have to reproduce the system to get the desired result.

Speak yourself

Consider looking as amazing as possible. Expand on the work you’ve done, make it look like it was the best result for everyone involved. This can be difficult for many of us. We believe that our jobs are not as crucial as those of other team members. We think of what we do as a skill that anyone has. We often don’t consider how those elements that we know well will benefit our co-workers. Take the time to consider this and document that in your review. If you are not currently doing so, consider starting a journal to record accomplishments as the year progresses. Your future self will thank you.

Date 5 of 5

If your performance review has a rating system, give yourself the highest score and have management convince you. This is a common psychological trick for trading called an anchor. It creates a cognitive bias in a person who will be referred to in future trials. Set the bar high and they’ll be more willing to work from that bar. Unless you sit at your desk and surf the web all day, your work makes a difference for people. Your leadership manages multiple people, remind them of the things you do for others. Ask the people you work with on projects for their input. Most people will be happy to provide you with information. Use them in your justification.

Prepare as a team

One of the things we did as a team was work together on our reviews. We lock in time and meet without our manager, and go through the review process between ourselves. We help each other by remembering specific situations in which other team members excelled during the year. Team reviews can also be a great way to find strengths and weaknesses, leading to better dynamics and better separation of duties. It could also suggest an area of training that people may need over the next year.

Check your manager

Consider gathering a few comments to give to your manager. They must be friendly and constructive. You could list a few areas that you excelled in during the year and a place or two you might need to work on. Some people are receptive. Others are not. You should use your judgment when making this call. I would challenge you to consider that if your leadership is not open to comment, consider making some changes to your job.


Writing this article made me feel a bit discouraged. I think most of us want to do a good job and be rewarded for it. But the review system in many companies is created to do the opposite of inspiring people. Then we have to find the cracks in the system, the gray areas to work on, to create a revision that best reflects us. If you’re like most workers, you’re probably doing a fantastic job. Unfortunately, the review process has failed many of us to the point that the annual review is a time of anxiety and stress. Suppose we could look for a new method of leadership, one in which you are regularly evaluated and consistently received feedback. Consider how that would change the manager / employee dynamic.

This development plan will be part of the objectives for the next period of time which, again, will be reviewed in the next session. The process of review and evaluation of the performance should be performed with appropriate frequency. In the case of new incorporations, it is advisable to carry out a performance review 3-6 months after entering the organization. For the rest of the employees it is sufficient to hold an annual performance review session.

To understand and implement the performance review process we must:

Know current trends in performance review:


Current trend

Understand the «360º feedback» process and its application:

1. – Preparation

At this stage we define each step to follow and give time to the entire process of execution of the comprehensive evaluation. Key Labor Competencies should be analyzed by role or by type of position, as well as the observable behaviors that will evaluate the competencies.

2. – Distribution of documentation

This is the part of the process in which the evaluation forms are sent to the evaluators, so that according to the role they play in relation to the evaluated person, they can give objective feedback.

3. – Data collection

Once the evaluators have made their evaluations, it is necessary to collect all the evaluations made for later processing. It is necessary to constantly monitor the progress that each evaluator is having and notify them if they have any delay or check if there are any anomalies.

4. – Information process

Once we have all the information, it is synthesized and prepared in such a way that it can give us statistical information on trends and results of each evaluated.

5. – Performance review meeting

The leader and the employee meet to discuss the strengths and weaknesses identified by the evaluators. It consists of a conversation where the leader gives feedback to the employee and receives their comments.

6. – Development plans

As a result of the performance review meeting, we defined an individual development plan aimed at improving strengths (to be better) and weaknesses through face-to-face training activities, on the job, help from experts…

Positive: aimed at reinforcing desired behaviors

Negative: your goal is to modify unwanted behaviors

General: it is a feedback option to use but being aware that, both positively and negatively, its effectiveness is limited because it does not specify the behavior that we want to reinforce or modify.

Concrete: it is the most effective because we are clearly indicating the behavior that we want to reinforce or modify.
Conduct performance review sessions and improve with lessons learned Acquire general knowledge of competency management to apply it to performance review.

Know the basics of a career plan

Prepare development plans and improve with lessons learned Set goals that are realistic, concrete, measurable, achievable in the set time Understand the links between compensation and performance to apply it effectively and motivating: acquiring knowledge and skills should be rewarded with a fixed salary (the skills acquired are kept in the employee) and the achievement of objectives with a variable salary (it must be earned every period of time).

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