Performance Review Guidelines for Employees: How to ensure that YOU get recognised for your work | Tani Amarasinghe | Skillshare

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Performance Review Guidelines for Employees: How to ensure that YOU get recognised for your work

teacher avatar Tani Amarasinghe, Leadership Skills for the 21st Century

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Preparing for Your Performance Review

    • 3. Knowing Your Job and Managing Job Expectations

    • 4. Setting SMART Objectives and Goals

    • 5. Doing a Self Review

    • 6. Conclusion

    • 7. Class Project

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About This Class

It is often assumed that an employee knows what to expect in a review process and that they know how to PREPARE for the review process. This is often not the case. Most employees are often not prepared and see it as something to be feared. And yet with some preparation and a slight change in mindset, it can be a positive experience, where you can showcase your accomplishments, proactively discuss future performance and goals… and further your career.

This class is for all levels, and no prior experience, software or special equipment is required. It is for:

  • New Entrants into the Workplace
  • Current Employees who want to know how to prepare for their performance review
  • For anyone preparing for any form of review or appraisal of something that they have worked on.

In this course, you will learn:

  • How to prepare for your performance review
  • How to manage job expectations
  • How to set SMART objectives
  • How to do a Self-Review

By the end of the course, you will:

  • Know how to prepare for your performance review
  • Know how to set SMART objectives
  • Manage upwards
  • Improve your chances of getting that raise or promotion
  • Take accountability for your career advancement
  • Feel more empowered


Meet Your Teacher

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Tani Amarasinghe

Leadership Skills for the 21st Century


Hello, I'm Tani.

I am the founder and CEO of Human Capital Matters, an end-to-end HR Consultancy focusing on Leadership and Management development, Executive Coaching and Training. I have over 20 years of experience in the field of human resources with a career spanning multiple industries including mining, exploration, online marketing and financial services, and in countries across multiple continents. I hold a Bachelor of Arts, Honours Social Science and Master’s in Commerce (Industrial Relations – Cum Laude) Degrees from the then University of Natal in Durban, South Africa. I also hold a Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management. I also completed a management development programme through the Insead in ... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Welcome to this course on performance review guidelines for employees. How to ensure that you get recognized for your work. A performance review, also called the performance appraisal or evaluation, is an important opportunity for you to review your goals and accomplishments and get feedback on your performance from your manager. As performance reviews are used to justify salary increases, bonuses, promotions, as well as further development and continued employment. You can see why it is really important for you to ensure that you have prepared adequately for your appraisal conversation with your manager. It is often assumed that an employee knows what to expect in the review process, and more importantly that they know how to prepare for the review process. This is often not the case. Most employees are often not prepared and see just something to be feared. And yet with some preparation and a slight change in mindset, it can be a positive experience where you can showcase your accomplishments, proactively discuss future performance and goals, and further your career. This course is for the employee. It is for the first time employee who has just entered the workplace. It is for the current employee who wants to know how to prepare for the performance evaluation. And it is for anyone who is preparing for any form of review or appraisal of something that they have worked on. In this course, we're going to look at what you need to do in order to prepare for your performance review. We will look at knowing what your job actually is, how to manage job expectations. And we'll be spending some time on the setting of smart objectives and goals. I'll take you through the importance of doing a self-review or a self-evaluation and the kinds of questions that you should ask yourself in order to prepare. Throughout the course, I will be giving you tips on how to manage upwards and ensure that your manager is always kept in the loop. By the end of this course, you will know how to prepare for your performance review, how to set smart objectives, how to manage upwards, how to improve your chances of getting that raise or promotion, to take accountability for your career advancement and as well as to feel more empowered. My name is tiny and I have over 25 years of experience in the field of human resources. I have been in human resources business partner, a head of human resources and human resources director in corporate spanning multiple continents in industries, from mining to retail, from financial services to online marketing to name, but a few. And I'm now a business owner. But you can find out more details about me and my company on my webpage or on LinkedIn. A few years ago, I founded Human Capital Matters, a specialist end to end human resources consultancy based on my belief that people are fundamental to the success of a business. But that's just one side of my story. I was born in Sri Lanka, brought up in Zambia, and now call South Africa home. I have lived and worked in many African countries as well as Europe and the United Kingdom. I have worked with people from many different countries, cultures and backgrounds. I'm a wife and a mother and have juggled these roles with that of a full time HR leader and now a business owner. My initiation into the field of human resources was in the South African mining industry at a time when there were very few people of color and female people of color. Roles of authority and leadership. I had to learn very quickly how to work with and influence people who looked at me and thought that I looked and sounded different from their view of someone whom they should be taking instruction from. I also learned that if I did not take responsibility for my performance and for recording and voicing my own accomplishments. Nobody else would. I was responsible for advancing my career. It's actually a little bit scary to think of just how many performance reviews I have been part of in my 25 years, both as an employee and as a manager. In my role as a head of HR or HR director, I have been in many poor performance conversations and have helped turn poor performers into high performing individuals. I am passionate about human resources and passionate about enabling people to be the best that they can be and to arm them with information that they need to enhance the skills that they have. Enough about me. Enjoy the course and please do reach out to me if you have any questions. 2. Preparing for Your Performance Review: It is natural to be nervous about your review, especially earlier in your career. It can be really intimidating as you probably have no idea what to expect and how to prepare for it. Let's get you up to speed. Performance review, performance evaluation, performance appraisal, performance management, rather confusing, isn't it? Do they mean the same thing? Are they interchangeable? What is what? Let's clear this up before we go any further. Performance reviews, evaluation, or appraisals are interchangeable and are meant to be part of the performance management process. For this course, I will be using the term performance review. Performance reviews looks at all of the past actions of the employee within a specific agreed upon period. And and it looks at rating that employee against how well they performed in their role and how many goals they met. Performance management looks at the present and the future. It looks at future performance objectives and goals. It focuses on the development of the employee and how that development can benefit both the employee and the company. Performance reviews are therefore reactive, while the performance management process is proactive. Every organization will have its own performance management and review cycle. Some organizations do this annually, some bi-annually, and the really good ones do it quarterly or even more regularly than this. You will obviously have to follow your organization's specific timelines. But it is important that you understand regardless of your companies timelines, that performance management and review is not an event. In order for it to be meaningful and successful, it must be viewed as an ongoing process. If this is not the case in your organization, I urge you to take the initiative and set up regular meetings with your manager when you discuss your performance and what you need to work on, you can slot into your company's process for a more formal review. Properly preparing for your performance review throughout the year and not just a week or two before it occurs, can listen any surprises and increase the likelihood of a productive, successful meeting. Imagine how much more successful, productive, and less time-consuming it would be if you had also had regular catch ups prior to it. From the start of your performance, you maintain a portfolio of evidence, rather like an artist or graphic designer does. It is vital that you maintain a detailed blog or work Journal of your goals and accomplishments that you can refer to throughout the year and use them in preparation for your formal review. This will ensure that the information you provide is detailed, complete, and accurate. It will lessen the likelihood of missing a key item in your review. It will also prevent both you and your manager from falling into the recency effect trap. The recency effect is exactly that. People have a tendency to only recall events that have happened recently and put judge accordingly. Now, while this is okay, if your recent deliverables and performance has been great, it's not so great if you have dropped some balls. If you are also able to have regular catch-up sessions with your manager, you should keep records of the feedback he or she has given you with regards to your work as well. In addition to this, make sure you know what your company's goals are. Stay current on these as companies strategies are always changing and could very likely impact on what is expected of you. All the more reason to meet regularly with your manager to make sure you continue to meet present expectations. Your portfolio of evidence should not only contain your list of successes and accomplishments, but also record your mistakes and any weaknesses and areas of development that you have identified and you want to strengthen. Make a note what you have learned from your mistakes and what changes you implemented to avoid making the same ones. Again, make a point of saving any notes or e-mails, thanking you for good work on noting your accomplishments. Get into the habit of recording these as soon as they happen. Believe me, being as busy as you are, you will forget to do this later. Tried to sit down, recall and write all this up just before your formal review can be daunting and you're more than likely to forget a lot of important details to your detriment. The purpose of the performance review therefore, is to help you do your best work and understand better how your contributions have helped or hurt your employer. This is your time with your manager to talk about where you think you are doing things well. Where you think you have some things you'd still like to learn and where you can improve. The review is meant to be a two conversation in which you can identify areas for improvement and have a robust conversation about WayForward. It is not and should not be a session where you are being passively and directly evaluated. It should not feel like you're back at school and just having had received your report card. Here is an example of a portfolio of evidence. Ideally, you should do this on a weekly basis so that you do not forget what is happened. You can use this weekly summary in your catch session with your manager. And you can summarize these for your formal performance review. In planning and preparing for your review, make sure you know what your manages expectations were for the review period and what your goals were throughout the course of the year. It is a good idea to constantly go back to your goals, to refresh your memory, to stay on track and not lose sight of what you agreed to do. This is, after all, what you will be measured against. It is easy to get distracted on other things. But even if you do do these things freely, well, if you have not performed against your agreed upon goals, you will get a negative review. You can use your portfolio of evidence as a reminder of how you have measured up against your goals. If one of your goals or objectives changes through the course of the year, make sure that you record this and have a mini review on it with your manager. Gets your manager to give you a rating on it. And don't forget to discuss these as well in your performance review. Goals do sometimes change throughout the year and it is easy to forget that a lot of work went into it and that that work should be acknowledged. By the way, keep in mind that your record of major accomplishments or portfolio of evidence can be summarized and update your CV or resume, and can also be used to update your LinkedIn profile. In the next section, we will talk more about your job and the setting of goals. 3. Knowing Your Job and Managing Job Expectations: It is natural to be nervous about your review, especially earlier on in your career. It can be really intimidating as you probably have no idea what to expect and how to prepare for it. Let's get you up to speed. Imagine that on day one of your new job, you are given a huge box of Lego pieces and you are told to go ahead and hit the ground running and that you will be measured against delivery. But you do not know actually, what you are supposed to do with that box of Lego. Is it your job to sort the pieces? If so, are you supposed to sort the pieces by size or by color? Are you supposed to use it to build something? Great? What do you suppose to build? Is it your job to handpieces out to others and keep an inventory of what they use. If you do not know what it is that you are supposed to do, how are you supposed to do it? And how can you be measured fairly against that? Now, imagine that you have a copy of the job posting or advert that said that they were looking for someone capable of using Lego pieces to build various items. Great. Now you know what you're expected to do and you can do it. Hence you applied for the job. They imagine how much better it would be if you also knew that you were to use the pieces to build a Lego plane and that why do you choose the design? It had to fit certain criteria and that it had to be done within a certain timeline. Much better, right? You know what you have to do, how you have to do it, and by when you are expected to do it. Now, you can be measured fairly against your deliverables. Now when you apply for a new job, you will only have a superficial awareness of what that job entails. Remember the Lego analogy? We were supposed to build something. But you didn't know the details behind what she was supposed to do. One of the first things that you need to do is make sure that you have a job description in place. That job description is a useful tool that explains the tasks, duties, functions, and responsibilities of a position. It details who performs a specific type of work, how that work is to be completed, the frequency and purpose of the work as it relates to the organization's mission and goals. It also tells you who this position reports to. Generally, a job description should already be in place. If it isn't, you will have to put it together. If one is in place, make sure it is current and that it is accurate. Once you have a job description in place, you now need to know how you will be assessed and when you will be assessed. Most companies do have for formal goal setting or development planning processes in place. But even if yours doesn't, you can still set informal goals with your manager. By doing so, you're not only demonstrating to your manager that you are ambitious and results oriented, you are also minimizing the chances of being taken by surprise during the performance review discussion. This is a really good example of managing upwards. A good manager will set up regular, even weekly catch up sessions with you. If your manager does not, there is nothing wrong with you asking your manager for these, you will be demonstrating your focus and commitment to delivery and once again, managing upwards. These sessions are important as they are a means to keep your manager informed as to what you are doing. A means of reviewing job expectations, especially when duties change along with changing company goals. A temperature check against your performance. Remember to keep a record of the outcome of these catch-up sessions. You might want to summarize the key points of discussion and decision points in an e-mail to your manager and then print a copy for your portfolio of evidence. In summary, the key points to remember for a smooth performance review. Know what your job is. Have an accurate and up-to-date job description in place. Managed job expectations by meeting with your manager regularly. 4. Setting SMART Objectives and Goals: Henry David Thoreau said, it is not enough to be busy. So r ands, The question is, what are we dizzy about? The only way that you can be sure that your business has purpose, direction, and is linked to the company's vision and strategy is by ensuring that you have measurable goals and objectives in place. And written down. This is true for both your business and personal goals. You are more likely to achieve a goal if you write it down and frequently see how you're doing against the achievement of that goal. You can only be measured fairly for your performance if you know what you are being measured against. As promotions, raises, increases, as well as continued employment are generally dependent on positive performance reviews. The setting of goals and objectives that are measurable and unambiguous is a key step in planning ahead for your formal review process. In this section, we will discuss the setting of smart objectives. Goals and objectives should be done in collaboration with your manager. There is a joint exercise. Those goals and objectives must align to what the organization's overall goals and objectives are. Once these goals are agreed to, please remember that you are then accountable for their delivery. You should clarify if their team goals or whether you are solely accountable for their achievement. If there are team goals, you will need to work with your team to achieve them. Goals should be near term, achievable within a quarter and reviewed regularly to ensure that they are still relevant. This is not to say that you cannot have long-term goals, but rather that they should be broken up into smaller, achievable and agile ones. For example, using that Lego analogy, once again, you can have a long-term goal of building a life-sized lego plane. You might put a timeline of a year for it. However, this goal can be broken into smaller, bite-sized pieces. For example, investigate different designs. One month, build frame for months, build wing, two weeks, you get the picture. Simply put, smart objectives or goals are a form of objective setting which allows managers and employees to create, track, and accomplish short and long-term goals. Smart is an acronym that traditionally stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-based, or bound. I expanded on the traditional word somewhat to help you really identify and own your goals and objectives. In essence, however, in setting smart goals and objectives, ask yourself the following questions. Is the objective clear, precise, and unambiguous? Is the objective stretching in some way, but still realistically achievable? Does the objectives say what successful look like and how it is to be measured in terms of quantity or quality. Is the objective realistic? Is it achievable? It should be stretched, but not too difficult to achieve. Taking into account the timeframe, resources, and support that are available, can it be done? Half both the individual and the manager agreed on the objective. The objective relevant to what the business and or team need to achieve, will it support the achievement of the overall goals of the organization? Does the objective have have a specific date that it's been agreed upon for conclusion. Is the target date related to the objective rather than simply coinciding with the end of the review here. In summary, properly set goals and objectives are split specific, insignificant. You can clearly see how they contribute to the greater goal. They are not vague. You should easily be able to measure them. Working on the goal should be motivating as you should have to stretch yourself to achieve it. But it should never be so unrealistic as to make it impossible for you to attain it. You must be accountable for the achievement of that goal, and it must be an agreed upon goal. If your manager has not signed off on the goal objective, then the chances are that you will be working on the wrong thing. Some examples of smart, not so smart goals. So not so smart. Lose some weight, get in shape, save some money. Be more aware of what is happening in the world. If we were to convert these into smart goals, it would look something like this. Lose 10 KG by x date, one KG a week. Exercise three times a week for at least 30 minutes at a time, put aside 10 percent of my salary every month into a savings plan, spent 13 minutes every day scanning newspapers. So let's look at examples of smart and not so smart goals when it comes to work. Not So Smart. Increased sales, fill a vacancy, increase LinkedIn followers, get more people to sign up on the newsletter. If we were to convert these into smart goals, once again, we could say something like increased sales by 10 percent by the end of the quarter, right? Job description, today's advertised job on LinkedIn by the end of the day, shortly CVs two days into the all shortlisted candidates by the end of the month, increase LinkedIn followers by 25 percent every month, and grow newsletters, sign-ins by 10 percent every month. 5. Doing a Self Review: A self-review, self-evaluation, or self-appraisal is exactly that. And exercise way you view yourself and your performance. This is a vital part of your preparation for your formal review with your manager. So why would you do a self-review? Well, simply put, it allows you to reflect on your past accomplishments and mistakes. It is hard to keep track of everything that happened during an entire year. So taking time to remind yourself about both the good and bad projects and pieces of work that you complete it is worth doing. It is a chance to remind both yourself and your manager of the great things that you have achieved in the past year, as well as the skills and lessons that you have gained or learned along the way. A reflection on your performance might serve as a starting point for making those future plans, for defining future goals and objectives, as well as assisting you in putting development plans in place to address any flaws or weaknesses that you might have identified. Reminding yourself of how much you've accomplished and learned over the course of the year recovery period can be a great source of motivation as well as being a morale boost. If the self-review indicates that it wasn't as successful as you would have liked it to be. It's not wasted as it gives you a wake-up call as to how and where you need to improve. The work is long. So much happens in a short space of time that it is easy for things to fall through the cracks. Your manager might not have kept track of all your accomplishments and progress. A self-review is a great way to remind your manager of your performance during the review period. Decisions around salary increases, bonuses, promotions, and in some cases, continued employment is often based on performance reviews and ratings. Self reviews are your way of ensuring that nothing has been forgotten and that your view is based on the whole performance period and not just on recent events. Do you remember the recency effect that we spoke of earlier? Your view of your performance might differ from that of your managers view of your performance. If is a discrepancy between your perception of your performance and that of your managers. You will have to ask yourself, if you are valuing yourself too highly. If the manager is underrated you if there is a break in communication somewhere or have some things fallen through the cracks. Do you remember your portfolio of evidence? You know, the one-way you noted your weekly successes and learnings. The one that includes your email summaries of your one-on-one catch ups with your manager, as well as feedback on performance and WayForward. Well, not only will your portfolio of evidence help you in compiling yourself review, it will also assist you in resolving that difference in opinion between your manager and yourself with regards to your performance. Here's a framework for planning your review. Start with your accomplishments and make a note of any and all projects that were completed on time and in which your participation contributed to its success. Make note of work where you contributed more than was expected of you. Include any and all additional tasks that you undertook. Make a note of any courses, learnings, training, development opportunities that you went on. And finally, don't forget, please put a rating against each goal or objective that was set and agreed to with your manager. Admit your challenges, mistakes and failures, do not make any excuses. Rather state what you have learned from them and what you have put in place to ensure that it will not happen. Again, give some thought as to what goals and objectives you would like to set for yourself going forward and how this aligns to your managers, teams and company goals. Give feedback to your manager on what support you would like from him or her going forward. And don't be afraid to give input into way you think things could have been done better. Remember, it's not just what you say, but how you say it. Some questions that you can ask yourself for purpose or purposes of self-review are, what accomplishments am I proud of? What goals did I meet? What enabled me to meet them? Where did I fall short of? Feel that I could have done better? What lessons did I learn? What aspects of my job too, I find most challenging. Why, and what can I do about it? What aspects of my job too, I find the most and least interesting. Why? What to I think that I should do differently for the next review period. Why? In what ways can my manager and the company better support me? These are just a few questions, but can you see how, if you prepare against such questions, how very little can take you by surprise. Particularly if this is backed up by those frequent catch up and feedback sessions, as well as a detailed portfolio of evidence. As part of your preparation for your performance review. Asked three to five colleagues, peers, direct reports, and other managers. Anyone whom you have directly worked with or who has been impacted by your work. To give you written feedback on your performance, you can ask them to answer specific questions related to the actual work that you have been doing. Imagine presenting these hopefully positive reviews to your manager. Some examples of questions that you could ask them to complete for you. Give me examples of three things that I have done well. Give examples of three things that I need to work on. What should I stop doing? What should I start doing? What should I continue doing? How has my work impacted your ability to deliver on your goals? To what extent do I follow through on goals and expectations? Please provides polls. How well do I set and meet deadlines? Once again, please provide examples. What have been my successes and challenges over the last few months. Getting feedback from your colleague is a really nice way to corroborate your review of yourself. Now, I have given you some generic questions to ask like the old favorites, stop, start and continue. It is up to you now to prepare specific questions related to the projects or work that you are responsible for. Good luck. 6. Conclusion: It is normal to feel nervous about performance reviews and the performance management process. However, if you remember to treat it as an ongoing process as opposed to an event. And you keep your portfolio of evidence up to date, set smart objectives and have regular feedback and catch up sessions with your manager. You might even start looking forward to you to review as it will be a platform to showcase your achievements. We have come to the end of the course. I hope that you enjoyed it and I hope that it will help you in preparing for your performance review. These are things that help me when I was an employee going for my performance reviews. And these are the tips that I share with the people that I coach. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask, reach out, or drop a note below. Your feedback is always appreciated as are your reviews. Thank you. 7. Class Project: Let me take you through the details of your class project. Your project consists of two parts and I would like you to use real data to complete it. For the next two to three weeks, make a daily list of achievements, accomplishments, and challenges. Use the template portfolio of evidence and the daily list to populate this template for the next two to three work weeks. That's part one of your project. So part of your project, give yourself about 30 to 45 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time. Ask yourself the following questions. What skills would you like to master by your next review? What responsibilities do you want to take on? What projects are you passionate about pursuing? What weaknesses would you like to improve upon? What goals would you like to continue to build on? What role do you want to shoot for within one to three years from now? What can you do now to put yourself in the running? After completing the previous exercise? Make a list of your current goals and objectives. See if they are smart. Use the Smart template and if not, convert them according to smart principles. You will do this exercise every time you set new goals and objectives.