You might want to ease up on that eggnog, because there’s still work to do before the end of the year. Even while the radios are blaring horrible pop-adaptations of Christmas carols, it’s still important for business-men and women to keep their heads in the game. After all, just a few short weeks after the holiday season ends, businesses everywhere will be preparing for another annual event: year-end performance reviews. That’s right, it’s time to polish those negotiating skills because everyone is hoping for a raise or promotion.
About 65% of publicly-traded companies in the United States end their fiscal year with the calendar year, making year-end procedures necessary. Even for companies that use a different calendar, the traditionally slow months of January and February are the perfect time to review and inspect employees, consider promotions and re-organize for the new year. That means that your most distracted and hectic time of year is the last thing your bosses will see before they decide if you deserve more responsibility in next year’s big projects.
Here are some extremely basic first steps to planning for your year-end review. After all, there’s a lot to consider and plenty to strategize, but you have to start with a plan. These are all things to include on your preparation checklist.
- Tie up loose ends. Remember back in September when you were supposed to update the company procedure for returning damaged products? Or the customer service reviews you needed to summarize? Any non-pressing assignments that got pushed to the back-burner need to be finished before your review. You don’t want to walk in with a list of tasks that you forgot or never completed. It will make your managers less likely to trust you with projects later on.
- Make a list of your duties. If your job is anything like mine, it changes on a monthly or quarterly basis. As the company’s needs change, the outline of your job can shift to better accommodate new customers, new products or new guidelines. You need to be able to show exactly what you’re working on now and how much time it’s taking up. I suggest creating separate lists for daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly tasks, as well as a separate miscellaneous list. This way, you aren’t forgetting duties that only happen a couple times a year, but might take up a decent amount of time.
- Know your goal. What do you realistically hope to get out of this review? Are there any promotions open and available that you qualify for? Is your company giving out raises this year? Would you like to head up your project next year to put yourself in a better position for years to come? You need to have a clear objective in mind to get the most out of your time with the boss.
- Outline any problems you need to address. A performance review isn’t just to hear if you’ve done a good job. It’s also your opportunity to express frustration or confusion with your boss. You need to be able to do this in a composed and clear fashion, so it’s better to have it planned out ahead of time. List any issues you’ve been having as well as a couple realistic solutions for the problem. Every manager loves when employees solve the issues for them.