Friday, 12 December 2014

Acing your first annual performance review

If you’re about to complete your freshman year in a full-time taxation position, you’ll know there’s nothing more daunting than your first annual performance review.

This age-old management practice aims to foster improvement by offering constructive feedback, but it can also be a catalyst for serious stress. However, acing your first performance review is easy if you stay calm and make the effort to prepare. Here are three strategies for passing this professional-development rite of passage with flying colours.

Do your homework

Performance reviews spark anxiety when you feel like you’re not in control. That’s why it’s critical to spend some time assessing your own achievements, goals and professional milestones – as well as any areas that could use some improvement.

Taking time to conduct a self-assessment will show your manager that you’re willing to accept feedback and do whatever it takes to improve. If you’ve already anticipated the issues your boss might discuss with you, you’re less likely to feel blindsided.

Don’t be afraid to voice your needs

Your first performance review isn’t just a method of gauging your strengths and weaknesses – it’s also an opportunity to ask for support. Whether that means discussing a staffing issue that impacts your workload or asking if you can enrol in a taxation course to brush up on a new aspect of legislation, identifying how your employer can help you thrive is likely to earn you respect.

However, it’s equally essential to demonstrate to your manager that you’re prepared to take responsibility when it comes to meeting the demands of your role. A positive attitude and a motivated spirit are the hallmarks of a high performer.

Focus on how your accomplishments add value

Many first-time employees think listing their achievements is enough to win a glowing performance review. But if you’re hoping for the kind of meeting that might result in a pay rise, you’ll have to demonstrate how your successes create value.

Did you come up with a new procedure that improves accuracy or invent a processing technique that saves your colleagues time? Identifying the ways in which your contributions create measurable gains for your agency can help you reach your professional goals.

Performance reviews might cause anxiety, but they’re also a tool for evolution and growth. The employees who prepare, identify problem areas and illustrate the ways in which they’ve created value are most likely to see this process pay off.


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