If you work as an employee of a large, medium or small organization, a new fiscal year has begun with budgets approved, projects planned and resources established. January is salary and performance review time. Employees often make the mistake of seeing themselves on the receiving end of this process and feeling that they have nothing to contribute and no input into the eventual result. This could not be further from the truth especially in organizations who walk their talk and want to grow and retain the best talent in the marketplace. These organizations often have rigorous processes in place for both managers/leaders and their teams to contribute equally to this process. The ease and advantage of succeeding with this process clearly lies with the managers/leaders as it is much easier to evaluate someone else’s performance than to do an assessment of your own performance.
If you are an individual who has worked hard, exceeded expectations, added tremendous value, increased profits and revenue, contained costs and fostered strong relationships with new and established clients/customers then you deserve a raise or some form or recognition and acknowledgement. While many organizations who have had successful years generously dole out year-end bonuses during the holiday season, a salary increase may be significantly smaller yet it has lasting importance. It may sound strange but the stellar performers often have a harder time with the salary and performance review than their less stellar counterparts. They may be uncomfortable with being praised for a job well done or having their accomplishments laid out before them. The performers who have done the bare minimum may also see this review with fear and trepidation as their lack of hard work and commitment will be exposed and they will be asked what they propose to do to improve their performance. If you have had a history of bad, tense or conflict laden salary and performance reviews, this is something you are looking forward to as much as the arrival of your credit card bill with your expenditures from the holiday season. Try to shift your perspective and instead look at your review as a chance to shine, to strut your stuff, to be impressive and memorable and to blow your own horn.
To make sure that you contribute as much as you can to the review process and gain as much as you can from it, it is important to do the 4P’s: Plan, Prepare, Promote and Praise!
Plan – If you consider yourself more of a French horn than a tuba, it’s a good idea to plan what you are going to present in advance of the review. If you have time, it would be ideal if you prepare a one-page summary entitled “A Year in Review” with these headings:
Accomplishments – describe how you achieved your success.
Contributions – demonstrate how you helped your colleagues, internal and external clients/customers achieve their success.
Goals – outline what you plan to do for the next year with dates of completion.
Requests – list development opportunities like courses, coaching and conferences that would contribute to your improved performance and professional development.
Send this summary in advance to the individual who will be delivering your review.
Prepare – Once you have completed and sent your one-page summary, it’s time to prepare for the review meeting. Solicit testimonials from the individuals you referenced under Contributions in your summary. Research the items on your Requests list and be confident in describing how working with an external coach, attending a course or presenting at a conference would enhance your performance and contribute to the success of your team and the organization. Anticipate questions and prepare answers regarding the contents of your summary. Visualize the meeting from start to finish.
Promote – While your one-page summary can promote you on paper, you must be ready and willing to promote yourself in person. Many individuals find it challenging to blow their own horn. If you cannot advocate for yourself, how can you expect someone else to advocate for you? Be proud of your achievements and contributions. Learn to be comfortable blowing your horn. Make sure that you adjust your volume so that those who are receiving what you have to say can listen, understand and respond.
Praise – Be generous in your praise and recognition of your colleagues and clients/customers. Express your appreciation to your manager/leader for the opportunity to work with them, to work in this role, work with this team and work for the organization. Take a moment to tell them what they have done well in their role.
At the end of the meeting, do one more P to set the tone for the new year: Promise
Promise – Make a commitment to consistently do and be your best and encourage others to do the same.
If you are having a salary and performance review meeting in the next month, try these tips and let me know the results. Please send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.