Employee performance reviews shouldn’t be a one-way conversation. I understand that the whole point of them is to review your individual performance, but this is a great opportunity to discuss things that are on your mind.
In fact, managers want you to tell them certain things during this process, and even look to see if you say certain things.
It’s important to remember that you’re part of the team, and you are supposed to be growing and developing as a smarter, better employee.
During the review process is where you and your manager can start to plan and define your goals for the future. Perhaps using a feedback or survey tool will allow companies to get more honest answer from employees?
In Dan Pink’s book Drive, two of the things he talks about is autonomy and mastery being incredibly important to people as intrinsic motivators.
It’s clear that professional development at work will lead to a more engaged, more productive employee.
Here are some things that you should consider telling your manager on your employee performance review.
1. What You Want Your Boss To Stop (Or Start) Doing
This is the perfect context to be able to tell your boss what you want them to start or stop doing.
The atmosphere that you’re in is conducive to feedback, so it will be better received.
Since your boss is potentially telling you about things that they want you to start or stop doing, you can feel free to tell them the same.
Your boss can ruin employee motivation pretty easily, so make sure that he or she can’t.
I think your boss will appreciate that you’re being proactive, and are participating in the meeting, versus just sitting there listening.
2. What Your Goals Are
Employers love to see their employees striving to reach a higher goal and passionate about growing professionally.
The smart leaders understand that an employee that is growing personally and professionally will be more engaged and more productive, which is obviously a win-win for the company.
It’s also important for an employee to set personal goals and work hard to achieve them.
It’s also a good way to set a benchmark, and you can see where you stand with your goals at the following review session.
3. How Happy You Are
This is probably the most important thing to tell your boss, in case he or she doesn’t ask you about this already in the review.
Employee happiness is directly related to employee engagement, and a smart leader will ask you several questions around this subject during the review.
If they don’t though, make sure to tell them if you’re happy, why or why not, and what you think would make you happier.
What I found interesting, was in my last review, my boss asked me about my personal happiness as well, meaning he asked what would make me happier even outside of work.
I thought this was a nice gesture, and depending on my answer, the company might have tried to do something to make me happier overall, not just at work.
Learn the 10 metrics you need to measure & increase employee engagement.
4. Things You Want To Learn
Tell your boss about new skills you want to have or new things you want to learn.
It’s very possible that the company can help you learn, through subsidized courses, to giving you time at work to pursue these things.
Smart leaders will understand that growing both personally and professionally is important, and if for example you want to learn how to play the guitar, if that will make you happier, then the company should support that and encourage you to pursue that.
The smartest leaders know that when you are happy in your personal life, that will spill over into your work life.
5. The Future Of The Company (And What Role You Play)
I think for any manager or leader reading this, this is a very smart question to ask during the review process, because it gives you great insight into how the employee sees the long term vision for the company.
If your manager doesn’t ask you this, tell them anyways, because it will show that you’re thinking about the long term, and that you see yourself in that vision.
That shows dedication and loyalty, which managers love.
It’s also important to really explain what role you see yourself playing in that future, because it shows that you want to grow professionally, and you have a long term vision for yourself as well as the company.
6. Things You’d Like To Try
The review is a great opportunity to reflect on certain processes that you currently have, and how they can be optimized.
If there’s a new tool, or new process that you want to try that you think will improve the way you work, feel free to mention it.
For example, if you notice that employees don’t normally receive enough employee recognition, something like an employee recognition program might help.
For me, I wanted to use a tool called Outbrain, which is a new type of ad network for content, which I happen to write a ton of.
I mentioned and explained to my manager during my review that this would be an interesting thing to try and experiment with for a month.
7. Collect Feedback
If you’re smart, then you’ll use this opportunity to collect as much feedback from your manager as possible.
If you want to really grow as a person, you need to be willing to take criticism, no matter how hard it might be.
Keep pressing for more information, and ask follow up questions. Find out how you can be a better employee.
Find out what it would take for you to really impress your manager, and what he or she wishes you did better.