How To Improve Your Performance Review

Merry Christmas! For most of us corporate rat race participants the winter holidays signify the time of year we either dread or dismiss as a mere formality. Yes – the Performance Review is almost here. Why not use this small break from the monotony of Excel spreadsheets and the humdrum of daily stand-ups to get ready for an outstanding performance appraisal? Read on!

Amanet (the official website of the American Management Association) offers a good overview of the helpful tips and tricks for PR, focusing on what typical mistakes are made during the process and how to avoid them. They would be most useful to a manager, but you can benefit even if you’re on the appraised side of things.

According to the American Management Association’s guide, one of the principal errors is appointing an interviewer who is not in direct professional relation with the assessed employee. Consequently, this person may not know the actual day-to-day stuff or real progress (or lack thereof) made during the year. The obvious solution is to let the supervisor or line manager do the PR interview to ensure factual knowledge of the employee’s real responsibilities and tasks is taken into account. Remember that objectivity is always a myth, so lean in and use your subjective expertise and knowledge of what the other person does to your advantage.

Another issue that may cause performance reviews to yield unsubstantiated or biased results is conducting it as a top-down, one-way process. The boss or supervisor just tells the employee what the good things and the bad things are expects the employee to change bad habits or ineffective methods. However, the risk of such approach is only seeing things from the perspective of the supervisor, without taking into the account the bigger picture. A so-called 360-degree review involves peers’ feedback on the employee and includes any opinions of that employee’s subordinates (if they have anyone reporting to them). This process is much more objective and tends to actually bring good change to the whole team, highlighting bottlenecks and problematic areas out of the assessed teammate’s control, rather than singling out their individual failings.

Finally, one of the factors deemed most detrimental to the Performance Evaluation process is tying the results not to just improving the worker’s productivity or building up their skill set, but also to any remuneration bumps. These may be based on merit, but they have a side effect of making the employee focus on goals and their fulfillment in a synthetic way, just to perform well enough to obtain a raise. Splitting and untying the salary talk from the PR can help resolve this issue, though obviously many companies perform PR at the same time as budgeting for promotions is taking place.

Amanet (and many other specialist websites, e.g. Primepay) also cites several other problems with typically conducted Performance Reviews. From taking notes during the year and documenting as much as possible, to giving enough advance notice before PR starts, to giving clear feedback and assigning meaningful numerical values to the employee’s yearly results through to doing performance appraisals not just once a year, there is a lot that can be done to make performance assessments better.

There is absolutely no denying that these ideas are helpful, but they concentrate on improving the whole process or changing the way manager approaches the notion. Equally important to the process is making sure the employee gives PR the attention it deserves and takes some steps to also ensure the review goes smoothly, generates meaningful results and follow-up actions and serves well its original purpose. Just as a reminder, the idea is to see what went on in the employee’s career and day-to-day work throughout the year and analyze what has been done well or what needs improvement in order to devise an action plan for the year to follow.

The Muse offers a very helpful article on the topic, diving deep into the minutiae of the interview from the appraisee’s point of view that are surprisingly relevantregardless of whether you are a corporate drone, C-suite wannabe, blue collar factory floor worker or a freelancer gearing up for a more permanent gig-worker role. If you’re a manager, you can skip this part, but it would be better to stick around – there is always a chance you’ll learn something new.

1. Ask for specifics and reasons behind assessments.

Many employees are paralyzed by the fact that what superiors tell them should be accepted, because in general that’s how the hierarchy works. Blind acceptance is not what is required, however. Instead, be sure to ask questions and request explanations. If your boss says you seem less motivated to attain goals, ask for actual examples. More often than not what the superior thinks they are saying and what gets through to you are different things. Examples will help you get better come next performance appraisal.

2. Give context and explain your side.

Very often our superiors are aware of the input and output of your work, but not what goes in during the process – or maybe they have a vague idea of it, or are completely mistaken about the specifics. This is the chance to let them know why you did something that seems to them wrong, or what your reasoning was before coming up with a questionable decision. Bosses are not omniscient, they need to understand your point of view and just your job description won’t be enough.

3. Ask for actual ways of improvement and monitor progress.

If you are given a bad or less than stellar appraisal mark for a specific area, usually you are given an idea of what to improve and how to do that. However, your superior may have expectations of you that are not explicitly stated. Now is your chance to ask what exactly can be done to meet their expectations for quality, timeliness, inter-team relations etc. In addition, be sure to ask for ways of monitoring this change or improvement. Of course the manager may simply be approached later on with the direct question, but perhaps there is some KPI or statistic that you could simply keep an eye on over the coming year to see you’re actually improving. After all that’s the main idea here: to work smarter, not harder!

Well, with these little pointers you can absolutely ace your next appraisal – no matter if you are the one being appraised or the one conducting the process. Make improvement your mantra, but don’t forget to treat the other person with respect and kindness. And not just because today is Christmas!

Oh… And Happy Holidays, by the way! 😀


to signify sth – znaczyć coś, sygnalizować
to dread sth – lękać się czegoś, bać
to dismiss sth – odrzucać coś, lekceważyć
mere – zwykły, czysty
Performance Review – analiza produktywności/wyników, ocena pracownicza
monotony – monotonia
spreadsheet – arkusz kalkulacyjny
humdrum – monotonia, nuda
stand-up – tu: spotkanie w zespole, spotkanie typu stand-up
to get ready for sth – przygotować się na coś
outstanding – niezwykły, wybitny
performance appraisal – ocena pracownicza
tip – porada
to benefit – skorzystać
principal – główny
to appoint sb – wyznaczyć kogoś
consequently – w rezultacie, w wyniku
day-to-day – codzienny, typowy (np. o zadaniach)
thereof – tenże, tegoż (o którym mowa)
supervisor – przełożony
line manager – dyrektor odpowiedzialny
to ensure – upewnić się, zapewnić
to take sth into account – wziąć coś pod uwagę
myth – mit
to lean in – tu: zmienić słabość w siłę, obrócić minus na plus
to use sth to one’s advantage – wykorzystać coś z pożytkiem/korzyścią dla siebie
to yield sth – przynosić coś (np. wyniki)
unsubstantiated – niepoparty dowodami, bezpodstawny
biased – uprzedzony, nieobiektywny
to conduct sth – przeprowadzić coś
top-down – z góry do dołu, w relacji odgórnej
one-way – jednokierunkowy
the bigger picture – szersza perspektywa/obraz sytuacji
so-called – tak zwany
360-degree review – ocena środowiskowa/z uwzględnieniem opinii środowiska
peer – rówieśnik, osoba na jednakowym poziomie w hierarchii
feedback – ocena, opinia zwrotna
subordinate – podwładny
to report to sb – raportować do kogoś, być pod kimś (w strukturze firmy)
to highlight sth – naświetlić coś, uwypuklić
bottleneck – wąskie gardło
out of sb’s control – poza czyjąś kontrolą
to single sth out – wyróżnić coś, wskazać
failing – niedociągnięcie, wada
to deem sth sth – uznać coś za coś
detrimental to sth – szkodliwy dla czegoś, wpływający na coś negatywnie
to tie sth to sth – przywiązać coś do czegoś, powiązać
remuneration – wynagrodzenie
bump – podwyżka (pot.)
merit – zasługa, osiągnięcie
side effect – efekt uboczny
fulfillment – tu: wykonanie, wypełnienie (celu, zadania)
raise – podwyżka
to split sth – rozbić coś, oddzielić
to resolve sth – rozwiązać coś
budgeting – planowanie budżetu, budżetowanie
to cite sth – przytaczać coś
to take notes – notować
to give advance notice – poinformować zawczasu, dać wcześniej znać
to assign sth a value – przypisać czemuś wartość, podać wartość dla czegoś
yearly – roczny
there is no denying that… – nie da się zaprzeczyć, że…
notion – tu: zjawisko, kwestia
to deserve sth – zasługiwać na coś
smoothly – bez przeszkód, gładko
follow-up – następczy, wynikowy; powiązany, nawiązujący (np. do czegoś)
to serve sth well – dobrze się czemuś przysłużyć
reminder – przypomnienie
improvement – poprawa
to devise sth – wymyśleć coś, opracować
action plan – plan działań
to dive deep into sth – rzucić się na głęboką wodę, dać nura do czegoś
minutiae – drobne szczegóły, detale (zwłaszcza mało istotne)
appraisee – osoba oceniana
relevant – mający związek/znaczenie z czymś
regardless of – niezależnie od
corporate drone – korporacyjny szczur, szeregowy pracownik korporacji (pot.)
C-suite – szczebel dyrektorski firmy, dyrektorzy ogólnie
wannabe X – niedoszły X
blue collar – pracownik fizyczny
factory floor – hala produkcyjna/fabryczna
freelancer – wolny strzelec
to gear up for sth – szykować się na coś/do czegoś
permanent – stały
gig-worker – pracownik dorywczy/zatrudniony tylko do danego zadania
to stick around – nie zniknąć, pozostać gdzieś
to paralyze – sparaliżować
to attain sth – zdobyć coś, osiągnąć
come X – gdy nadejdzie X (arch., form.)
aware of sth – świadomy czegoś
input – wejście, dane na wejściu
output – wyjście, produkcja/produkt pracy
vague – mglisty
specifics – szczegóły (czegoś)
reasoning – rozumowanie
to come up with sth – wpaść na coś
questionable – podejrzany, wątpliwy
omniscient – wszystkowiedzący
job description – opis stanowiska pracy, zadania pracownika na stanowisku
stellar – świetny, doskonały
explicitly – wyraźnie, jawnie
to meet sb’s expectations – sprostać czyimś oczekiwaniom, spełnić je
timeliness – punktualność
to approach sb – podejść do kogoś, zagadać do kogoś
KPI (key performance indicator) – kluczowy wskaźnik wydajności
to keep an eye on sth – pilnować czegoś, mieć coś na oku
pointer – wskazówka
to ace sth – świetnie coś zrobić, doskonale sobie z czymś poradzić
mantra – mantra, stale powtarzane motto
kindness – dobroć, dobro

by Prochor Aniszczuk


Komentarze są wyłączone.