Whether you’re a freelancer, small business owner, or full-time employee at a large company, it pays to conduct your own performance review.
We all know that planning is such an important part of a successful career. But reviewing your performance and finding new ways to improve are also key steps in your career development.
A performance review is a chance to reflect on your progress so far, address any issues, and identify ways to grow. And if you work at a company that conducts its own performance reviews, being proactive about your own reviews will have you feeling confident and prepared heading into your one-on-one meeting with your manager.
Giving yourself a performance review also helps you…
- Stay on track. When life gets busy, it’s easy to lose sight of our work goals and objectives for the year. Checking in on your work and your goals will help you stay on track. You’ll find out how you’re doing and identify what you need to work on.
- Measure progress. If you’re a freelancer or small business owner, it’s essential that you measure your income growth, output, and wins in order to maintain a profitable business. Measuring your progress is not only a great indicator of your performance, but it can also help you make important business decisions, such as whether or not to increase your rates or expand your income streams.
- Identify learning opportunities. We all have room to grow. And a self-review can shine light on all the different areas of our career that could use some improvement. Whether it’s developing a new skillset or improving your business strategy, identifying your growth opportunities will make you a stronger employee in the end.
How to conduct your own performance review
Below are some tips and best practices on how to conduct your own performance review so that you can get the most out of it.
When to conduct a performance review
You don’t want to wait until the end of the year to give yourself a review. By then, it might be too late to address any issues and course correct. So give yourself a quarterly review instead. Three months is an ample amount of time to work on your goals, record your progress, and note any obstacles. Plus, if your company does a mid-year and end-of year review, then you’ll always be a step ahead before it comes time for your own performance meeting.
What to assess during your performance review
An effective performance review is one that is comprehensive and provides a clear snapshot of the various aspects of your work life. Below are some of the ways that you can evaluate your year so far, and reflect on the different areas of your performance. Feel free to modify as necessary.
- Review your goals. In order to help you figure out where to go, you need to reflect on what you’ve done so far. Take a look at the past three months and gauge where you are with your goals. Maybe your professional goal was to meet 5 new clients a month. How did you do? Were you close? Off track? Your findings will help you determine if you need to adjust your goal or not.
- Measure your profits. If you’re a freelancer, your income is a good measure of how your business is faring. What were your income goals for this year? Are you meeting them? How do your profits compare to last year’s?
- Identify your top resources and investments. What resources helped you do your job well? Maybe social media helped you spread the word about your business. Or your alumni network connected you with new clients. Or your Instagram ads boosted your sales this quarter.
- Identify resources and investments that didn’t pay off. It’s also helpful to take a look at the resources and investments that didn’t pay off as you had hoped. Maybe you’re spending a lot of time attending networking events but not getting any new clients from them. Ask yourself: is there a better way I can use my time? For example, maybe you’ll discover that sending an email newsletter or posting regularly on social media is much more effective at attracting new customers.
- Identify your obstacles. What were the issues or roadblocks that prevented you from doing your job well? Maybe a noisy workspace distracted your focus and productivity. Or maybe time management was an issue for you.
- Find solutions. Now that you’ve defined your obstacles, brainstorm a list of solutions for them so that you can work better in the future. For example, get headphones to cope with a noisy coworker, or organize your schedule to manage your time better.
Identify where you need to improve
Maybe your quarter isn’t going as well as you had hoped or your goals aren’t developing as well as you’d like.
It’s normal to feel discouraged, but try to use this as an opportunity to learn, grow, and be even better next quarter.
So if you saw that your profits were decreasing this quarter, what are the different ways that you can improve? Maybe it’s taking a marketing course to learn how to attract new customers. Or maybe it’s reconnecting with old clients to get their business.
When you continuously seek out new ways to learn and improve, you are setting yourself up for success.
Ask for feedback
Want to know how you’re really doing? Get external feedback.
It’s only natural that we’re going to have blind spots on our own performance. Seek feedback from others so that you can get a different point of view. Feedback can impact not only your performance but your sales and customer satisfaction as well.
Aside from typical people like your direct manager or supervisor, you can ask clients or coworkers for feedback. If you’re a small business owner, you can send a survey to your customers after a purchase.
If you’re seeking feedback from a client, then a good time to ask them is right after completing work on a project. This way, the details will still be fresh in their mind and they’ll be able to offer you a sharper analysis.
Sample script: Hi [name of client], I really enjoyed working on X project and would love to get your feedback on my recent performance. This will really help me improve and inform my work going forward.
When it comes to success, planning and reviewing go hand in hand. Give yourself a performance review to take charge of your career and your professional development.
Written by JiJi Lee.