17 Performance Review Tips for Employees

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 27, 2022 | Published July 26, 2021

Updated November 27, 2022

Published July 26, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Most companies hold employee performance reviews at least once a year during which they evaluate employee performance, provide input on productivity and set goals for the future. Because these reviews typically only happen once or twice a year, it's important to be prepared when going into them. In this article, we explain why performance reviews matter and offer 17 performance review tips for employees that can help you succeed during your next evaluation.

Why do performance reviews matter?

Performance reviews are important for several reasons. They:

  • Help employees better understand where their strengths and weaknesses lie

  • Provide a thorough evaluation of employee performance and productivity

  • Enable employees to realize how their work contributes to the organization's goals and purpose

  • Allow employers to identify high-performing employees and recognize them as necessary

  • Promote manager and employee engagement

Related:

  • What Is a Performance Review? (Definition and Examples)

  • What Is a Performance Metric and Why Should You Use Them?

17 performance review tips for employees

Here are 17 performance review tips for employees that can help you prepare throughout the year for your next performance review:

1. Keep track of accomplishments throughout the year

Writing your accomplishments throughout the year can ensure you forget nothing when going into your performance review. Use a spreadsheet or something similar to note each accomplishment and the details surrounding it. The more thorough you are in tracking your accomplishments throughout the year, the better prepared you'll be to present these accomplishments in your review.

2. Check in with your manager year-round

Checking in with your manager regularly throughout the year can ensure you are on top of your goals and making the desired progress in the workplace. Consider meeting with your manager quarterly to review your performance and ask for feedback about any areas in which you could improve. Doing this can keep you up to date on how you're performing and can help you prepare for the results of your annual review.

3. Write down your performance goals at the start of each quarter or year

After meeting with your manager, either for a performance review or an informal check-in, write down the goals discussed and keep track of your progress. Making your goals measurable can help you get specific about whether you are on the right track to accomplishing them. When you complete a goal, ask your manager for insight into what your next goal should be if you are unsure.

Related: How to Write an Action Plan to Help You Achieve Your Goals

4. Look for additional ways to contribute to your company

Another great way to prepare for a performance review is to seek ways to contribute more to your organization. For example, if your company needs someone to post once a week on their social media platforms, volunteer to help. Even if it's not your area of expertise, your willingness to contribute shows initiative and allows you to learn new skills. This also presents well in terms of your performance and may support your manager's decision to give you a raise or promotion.

5. Understand your value as an employee

Determine what makes you valuable as an employee and focus on emphasizing those factors. For example, if you're great at coming up with new ideas for your company's social media initiatives, find ways to contribute these ideas to the social media team. Regularly adding value to your organization shows your commitment to your company and makes you an invaluable employee.

Related: How Employee Performance Is Measured and Why It's Important

6. Be willing to ask for help

Instead of saving your questions and need for guidance for the performance review, speak up and ask for help as issues arise so that you can resolve them and move on. Asking for help shows initiative and that you aren't afraid of working with others to reach a goal. Keep track of issues that come up on a reoccurring basis and discuss these during your performance review if necessary.

7. Request constructive feedback regularly

While your annual performance review is often a great time to get feedback from your manager, it shouldn't be the only time you request feedback. Make it a habit to ask for constructive criticism from your supervisor or another trusted mentor regularly. This can ensure you are continuously growing professionally and can help you show up to your performance review as the best version of yourself.

Related: How to Ask for Feedback After an Interview

8. Discuss your career goals with your supervisor

Have a conversation with your manager about your career ambitions either before or during your performance review. Discussing your career goals with your supervisor shows your commitment to growing professionally within your career or industry. As your manager likely has more experience than you in the field, they can also be a great resource for helping you achieve your professional aspirations.

9. Ensure you understand your manager's priorities

Make sure that you know what your manager's priorities are for each fiscal or business year. This can assist you in determining how to prioritize your responsibilities and tasks throughout the year. Knowing your supervisor's priorities may also increase your productivity level.

10. Seek out development opportunities

Taking part in career development opportunities can not only further your career but distinguish you at your company. Many managers appreciate employees who devote some of their personal time to learning new professional skills, tools, or knowledge. Look for professional or personal development opportunities that could help advance your career, such as:

  • Conventions

  • Workshops

  • Memberships to professional associations

  • Courses

  • Lectures

  • Mentorship programs

  • Certificates

Related: 5 Personal Development Tips to Progress Your Career

11. Be flexible

Show your employer throughout the year that you can adapt to various situations and challenges. For example, if your job responsibilities change unexpectedly, do your best to learn about how to perform your new or altered duties efficiently and thoroughly. Employers often look favourably at professionals who can be flexible during unexpected changes or new situations.

12. Actively participate in your performance review

Take part in your performance review. While it's important to listen carefully to your supervisor's feedback during a performance review, many employers also appreciate it when you contribute to the conversation. Prepare discussion questions or topics ahead of time, such as:

  • Goals your supervisor has for you

  • Goals you have for yourself

  • Ways you could be a more valuable team member

  • Tasks you could approach differently

13. Think creatively

Try to approach workplace challenges or complex situations in unique or creative ways. While you might think that only artistic professionals, such as designers, use creative thinking, most professionals can benefit from fostering innovative ways of thinking. Companies often like having employees who can creatively think about and solve various circumstances. During your performance review, you can then bring up specific instances where you helped your team, department, or company fix an issue with your innovative thinking or solution.

14. Keep documentation of your feedback

Keep records of feedback you receive throughout the year from clients, coworkers, and supervisors. Your company may already have an internal system in place for retaining employee feedback. Maintaining your own records for your feedback helps ensure that you and your supervisor have access to the feedback reports before or during your performance review.

15. Listen actively

Pay close attention to your supervisor's feedback during your performance review. Although you may not agree immediately with everything your supervisor says, take some time to consider the feedback before rejecting it. If you have questions about your manager's feedback, try to ask in a way that shows you're receptive to their constructive advice.

Related: 9 Ways to Improve Your Active Listening Skills

16. Have feedback prepared for your supervisor

Depending on your relationship with your supervisor, they may ask you during your performance review to give them feedback in return. Prepare constructive feedback ahead of time in case you receive this request. Offer praise for your manager's strengths and suggestions for what they could improve or what you'd appreciate more of, such as more frequent one-on-one communication.

Related: What Is a Project Retrospective?

17. Take notes during your performance review

Write the most important conversation points during your performance reviews, such as what your supervisor identifies as your primary strengths and weaknesses. Taking notes during your performance review can help you generate an action-based plan for your goals and projects over the upcoming year. You can also refer to your notes on your performance review during future meetings or conversations with your supervisor about your progress.

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