Transform Your Performance Review From Poor To Awesome In Four Simple Steps!
In the corporate sector, performance review or performance appraisal is a common annual activity. If you aren’t familiar with performance reviews or appraisals, they’re formal evaluations of an employee’s performance at work. The evaluation is performed by the employee’s manager and feedback is provided accordingly. The results are pretty universal: a good performance review leads to increased benefits and higher confidence, while a bad or poor performance review can be frustrating, can lead to decreased morale, and — if it’s not tackled head on — can ultimately affect future performance.
Nobody likes to see expressions such as “unsatisfactory”, “needs improvement”, and “poor performance” in their performance review. These words may jump off the page and generate fear into the mind of any employee. They may also shatter self-confidence. However: a poor performance review is not something that is irreparable. With the correct attitude and approach, you can transform the situation.
Read on for tips for how to transform a negative performance review from a bad experience to a great one:
1. Accept the Situation and Try to Understand it
Immediately after receiving a negative performance review, try to maintain your composure. Staying professional is always important in the workplace, and it’s even more important in a scenario where your performance is being called into question. Don’t slink back to your desk, and don’t hide. Despite the discomfort that you’re feeling at this time, it is imperative to do your job the best that you can and remain upbeat in the moment.
Later, when you have some time to reflect, really think about the feedback you received and the actions you might have taken to give your manager the impression that he or she has been given. This is the first step for improvement. Without an awareness around where you might be falling short, you can’t make the changes necessary for future success.
To take a negative performance review and grow from it, you are going to need to have further conversations with your boss. You might find it uncomfortable to talk to your boss in this way, but you should make every effort to open the lines of communication. Doing so will show your boss that you are dedicated to improving and it will give you the clarity you need for moving forward.
For example, it’s important to understand what specific actions you took to make your boss review the way he or she did. Did you miss an important deadline? Are you spending too much time talking with co-workers? Are you putting in fewer hours in office than expected? Knowing what it is your boss is seeing that is affecting his or her impression of your professionalism will help you make the changes you need to make.
It may feel overwhelming for you to ask such questions immediately after receiving the feedback. That’s fine! You may take your time and approach your manager after a week or so to open the lines of communication.
2. Take Some Practical Steps
As with any change you want to see in any area of your life, this change is going to require action on your part. After getting a negative performance review, make a detailed plan for recovery. What purposeful actions are you going to take to address each issue that was highlighted in your performance review? Start implementing these actionable steps right away.
3. Ask for Assistance
You may find that you need help implementing some of the changes you need to make in order to get the results you want. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to approach your boss or colleagues for assistance. For example, if your reports are sent late because you’re always waiting for someone else to supply essential information for the report to be concluded, you might approach that person and discuss workflow issues with them. It’s a good idea to let your boss know what was causing your inadequacy in this area and what is being done to address it. Your boss may be a good resource in streamlining the whole work process or revise your deadlines to make them more realistic.
Another example may be that you are facing issues related to a lack of skills or knowledge. If this is the case, take action and enroll in some professional development courses to hone your skills and keep yourself updated.
Understand that your boss wants you to succeed as much as you want yourself to succeed. Asking for help opens the lines of communication about how that success can e achieved.
4. Follow Up
This is the final and most important step of the process of turning your negative performance review into an impressive review. Keep to keep a track of your progress. It can be easy to deviate from the desired course of action as time passes, but you can’t let that happen. It’s important to stay on top of your intentions and your progress.
Plan to have a talk with your boss one month after your performance review. Let him or her know about actions you’re undertaking to improve your performance, and ask for his or her opinion on your improvement. Getting periodic feedback from your boss is much better than waiting until the next performance review, only to find out that you’re still not achieving what you’re hoping you are.
Remember: every cloud has a silver lining. A negative performance review gives you the chance to identify where you are having issues. It urges you to make improvement and it wakes you up before something worse follows. If you see a bad performance review as an opportunity to improve and follow the above four steps, your next performance review will hopefully bring a smile on your face and will make you feel proud!