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How to Handle Your Yearly Performance Review at Work

Companies rely heavily on yearly performance reviews to collect evidence for terminations or to provide a fair system of appraisal for promotions. Prepare to handle your meeting as the next step to advancement.


  • TIP: Don't let it change what you do, but some superiors won't take the process seriously.
  • Step 1: Negotiate some changes if you are disappointed with the increase they offer. Ask for another review when money loosens up, or suggest eliminating some of your duties, getting more days off, or pulling in extra help in the department. If you've put it on the line, so can they.
  • FACT: Actor Robert Redford had to find other work when, as a young man, he was let go by the same oil company twice, for sleeping on the job and causing a forklift accident while performing tricks out of boredom.
  • Step 2: Sit through your yearly performance review keeping in mind that it's just as tense for the person who has to conduct it. Put aside your fear, open your ears, and act mature in appreciation for the opportunity to present your case.
  • Step 3: Accept your boss's perceptions instead of arguing. Come in with an upbeat attitude and focus on the future, not the past. Show that you can take the criticism and find out instead how you can improve.
  • Step 4: Fill out forms for the yearly performance review in advance, or complete the self-review the company allows online. Be prepared by knowing the process ahead of time and finding out what they will want to know.
  • TIP: Reviews are often tied to compensation.
  • Step 5: Organize yourself and keep an updated file with your letters of recommendation and statistics on your performance. Collect opinions, reports, and details of related accomplishments and ask in the meeting to summarize your achievements, using specific and measurable examples.
  • Step 6: Be proactive and write the boss a letter during the year acknowledging how they've helped you perform -- assert your intention to be part of the team for a long time. Bosses deserve detailed feedback.

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