How to Survive a Pay Performance Review

A pay performance review is an assessment of an employee’s work performance of assigned tasks. The review usually occurs annually. Review results are based on how the employee performs job responsibilities, not on his or her personality. The appraisal is supposed to, with reasonable accuracy, measure an employee’s job skills and achievements. This process offers a subjective scenario for employers to identify specific areas where the employee’s performance needs improvement. Employers should realize that the pay performance review must not be the only form of communication with their employees. The entire process works better in the long run when there is open communication throughout the year. It creates more effective working environments. In order to receive truly beneficial results, both the employer and employee need to be honest. The employer needs to be thoughtful and give a correct review. The employee needs to be open to constructive criticism. This article will discuss how an employee can survive a pay performance review.

What the End Result of a Pay Performance Review Should Be

If done right, pay performance reviews should accomplish the following goals:

1. The employer will gain a deeper understanding of an employee’s work skillset.

2. The employer will recognize the employee’s achievements and evaluate job progress.

3. The employer will design a training program specific to the needs of the employee.

4. The employee should begin to have a renewed interest in improving job performance.

5. The management team receives formal feedback to assist in promotion and raise decisions.

How to Survive a Pay Performance Review

Step # 1: Come Prepared

It is important to come prepared to your pay performance review. Not only is the work you’ve done throughout the year on display—your appearance and performance in the appraisal is also on display. As the saying goes; dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Come to the meeting dressed in professional attire. Be prepared way before the performance review is scheduled. If you want a good review, you need to be performing well in your job throughout the entire year. Take the initiative and write out your own self-assessment regarding your skillset level and current achievements. This may not come up in the meeting. However, it will boost your confidence level when you see with your own eyes what you’ve actually accomplished. As your confidence shines through in the review meeting, it will be noticed in a positive light by your reviewer. It is also important that you revisit your goals. If you haven’t yet written them out, check out this article on how to write a professional growth plan.

Step # 2: Be Open-Minded

When you are meeting face to face with your performance reviewer, it is important to have an open mind and maintain the right perspective. This person is not “out to get you.” Performance reviews are normal and happen all the time. Yes, the experience can be nerve-wracking for you. However, take a moment to think about your reviewer’s perspective. Performance reviews can be an onerous and time-consuming process. Your boss or manager may not have been taking specific notes on each and every employee either. As you are thinking about your perspective, remember to accept constructive criticism. Even the best employee has room for improvement. If the criticism crosses the line over constructiveness, try not to become defensive. That will only paint your behavior in a bad light and won’t bode well for a good review.

Step # 3: Express Opinions

Be prepared for the time in the meeting when you are asked to express your own thoughts and opinions on your work performance and the constructive criticism given. During the meeting it is important that you pay attention to exactly what the reviewer is saying in case you are asked to comment. You don’t want to space out and look ignorant for not having paid close attention to what was being said. At all times, remain professional and again, don’t become defensive when you respond. Remember, that your behavior during this meeting is also being reviewed. The way you handle yourself says a great deal about you as a person and can speak volumes to your boss or manager. This would be a good time to share thoughts on your own self-assessment. Explain how you think you’ve improved and what areas you still need to improve in. An employee who can effectively critique himself or herself is seen as a valuable asset to a company. Find a balance between sharing your strengths and weakness, yet continue to speak out confidently. Also, share your professional goals and how you think your job has helped you move closer toward them.

Step # 4: Keep Things Positive

Accept responsibility for your actions in your job and as you are participating in the review meeting. Show that you have been actively thinking about ways to continue to grow and develop as an employee by asking for new work projects. You want to showcase, in moderation, how you are motivated to continue growing in your job and working for this company. Even if the reviewer does not seem to mirror your excitement about your skillset and achievements, make every effort to keep things positive. The performance review meeting can become very taxing on your emotions. However, work diligently at remaining professional throughout the entire meeting.

Surviving a pay performance review can seem like a worrisome experience. However, if you keep the right positive perspective, you will get through it with ease. Remember to come prepared wearing professional attire and having written out your own personal self-assessment. Be open minded with a perspective that helps you want to grow and develop as a professional. Express your thoughts and opinions at the appropriate time and never allow yourself to become defensive. Share that you are continually seeking ways to grow, and new projects to work on. Give your employer a reason to want to continue investing time and money into you and your career.


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