Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Be Prepared!

Be Prepared: Annual Reviews Will Matter in '09 says Liz Ryan of Business Week. “The downsizing may have just begun, so employees are well advised to take a few steps toward ensuring a stellar performance review.” She continues:

“… in 2009, performance reviews will matter—a lot. There's no sign that the rash of corporate downsizings is slowing. As employers get smarter about forecasting their '09 business prospects and their head-count needs, they're going to get smarter about talent management too…”

“… employers who are pressed to make head-count reductions will use them to release their lowest-performing employees. Plenty of employers continue to interview and make offers as they're releasing staff.”

In a time of enormous attrition, you need to use everything in your arsenal to show your best side. The annual review this year is likely to be less about raises and promotions and more about hard looks at performance and ensuring everyone is playing a vital role in a company’s success.

Quick takeaways:
- Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for your annual review
- Keep a running list of your accomplishments – you’ll be able to use them for your self-assessment, remind your boss of your achievements, and use the top picks to update your resume and LinkedIn profile
- Keep a file of the praise you received from your managers, coworkers, and clients
- Make sure your goals are aligned with your employer’s – things change quickly, so check in at least quarterly to ensure that your priorities are on target with the current objectives
- If your company doesn’t have annual reviews or is running late on scheduling them, ask your supervisor or peers if you can have an informal check-in

My thoughts:
Whether you work in a highly corporate environment or an informal small business, preparing for your review year round is a terrific practice.

I would add one thing here: while you track the ways you are achieving the company’s goals, make sure you are also fulfilling your OWN objectives. This isn’t selfish: while it is a good idea in this economy to continually add to your skill set, it also provides value-added to your company. So, for 2009, make sure to learn and grow – volunteer for some task forces, get involved with a new technology that you can introduce to your company, ask to be put on some special projects.

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