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Employment Reviews

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Employment Reviews Performance Review

Employment reviews are generally an annual hour of terror in which workers everywhere worry that they are not doing enough, not pretending to do enough or not being seen pretending to do enough to warrant a promotion, raise, bonus or simply to keep their jobs! The good news is that employers seem to dread employment reviews just as much, consistently ranking them among their least favourite tasks.

So why does anyone bother with these reviews? Unfortunately they truly are an efficient way to check in with employees/employers, make sure that everyone is on the same page regarding performance expectations, set goals for the year to come and generally discuss the employee’s future career prospects so they’ll probably stick around for a while. Thinking about employment reviews from this angle, that they are there to assist the employee, helps make them vastly more palatable. Well, a little bit more palatable, anyway.

Prepare Carefully

Employment reviews can feel a little bit like an interview (with the headmaster, if you haven’t been careful!) so treat them like one. Arrive slightly early and be prepared with:
  • Answers to common questions such as your greatest strengths and weaknesses in the past year, tasks you particularly enjoyed and despised, and what you think you have learned through your work.

  • A “year in review” sheet summarising the projects you have been a part of, the skills you have mastered and any outstanding awards or honours that you have received.

  • A proposal for any upcoming projects that you would like first crack at. Include a cover letter explaining why you would be the best person to undertake this venture.

  • Ideas about the goals you would like to set for yourself or your team for the coming year.

Dress the Part

Shallow though it may seem, looking the part is a very important part of business. Prove that you are prepared to lead a team or project by dressing the part. Conform to your normal dress code, but remember to:
  • Invest in the best quality materials you can afford for suits, shirts, ties and shoes.
  • Make sure that your clothes are all neatly pressed and tailored.
  • Check all clothing and accessories for scuff marks, tears, fraying or anything else that detracts from your overall look.
  • Carry your papers in a good quality leather or canvas portfolio.
  • Carry yourself with good posture. Look confident and you’ll feel confident!

Cope With the Results

Coping with the results of an employment review can be difficult, particularly if you received a review that is less complimentary than you were expecting. Rather than immediately firing off a resignation letter, think about:
  • Asking for another meeting with your reviewer in which you can respond to their views.
  • Crafting a well-written letter responding to the concerns voiced in your review.
  • Using examples from your career, particularly in the time period being reviewed, that disprove negative statements made in your review. Bringing along documentation to this effect always helps too.
  • Requesting feedback on what you can do to turn around these negative results. Open a discussion about how you can improve your reputation and standing.
Employment reviews are not fun, there’s no doubt about that. Unfortunately they are an efficient way for employers and employees to review the past year and get set for upcoming projects. Remember that employment reviews are important and learning from them is the main point, but that they are not the absolute only way in which your career is judged. If you get a less than stellar employment review, use this as a catalyst to prove your skills in the next year. If you still feel short changed, then perhaps it is time to think about moving to a company that will really appreciate your worth!

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