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Hi all!  Here’s a guest post by Zooey Huffington, an HR consultant who works with large companies to ensure their HR goals match their bottom-line requirements. She’s been working with large businesses for over six years and she wanted to share her perspective on how to improve work performance (especially for us Gen Y’rs)

For many people, a performance review can be the most stressful part of the job. Knowing whether you are effective in your job, getting along with the right people and overall valuable to your workplace can cause anxiety. However, performance reviews don’t have to cause more stress for you if you learn how to evaluate yourself ahead of time, to ensure you know what type of questions or comments might be made during your evaluation. Let’s take a look at a few simple ways you can improve yourself and your value in your workplace.

Be a Better Communicator – Ask for Feedback

Ask for feedback on your work and effectiveness in your job periodically. This means talking to your employer or superiors perhaps once a month. It is also a good idea to ask for feedback after big projects. If you know how you are doing, where your strengths and weaknesses are, you can improve where necessary.

To the Ropes – Use Simple Evaluation Tools to Get Answers


If you are uncomfortable confronting a superior face-to-face about your performance, try using some variety of questionnaires. Send it to your superior’s office mail or, in a smaller company where it is easier to meet, simply hand it to him or her and ask that it is filled in and returned to you. On the questionnaire, ask about your areas of concern and finish with a question about how you can increase your value to the company. This allows you to keep the feedback on file to be reviewed again when it’s performance review time. Always make a copy for yourself too.

Do it Yourself – Utilize ePraisal Tools

You don’t always have to schedule a meeting with your boss or give him a feedback form to find out answers about your performance. Another easy way to self-evaluate is to consider using epraisal software to you evaluate your current work performance. For example, using an electronic employee performance appraisal by Halogen Software can help you spot problems early on, allowing you to modify your performance and excel where you need improvement.

What Are Your Goals – Set Personal Work Goals for Yourself

Create personal work goals just for yourself – even if they are smaller goals – and work consistently toward them and perform a self-assessment every month or two. By evaluating yourself in regards to how much money you bring into the company, how your goals are progressing, and other areas of interest, you can keep a constant eye on your progress. This is particularly useful if you are in the habit of falling behind between reviews.

Track and Note Your Accomplishments – Follow Your Goals

If you don’t know what you’ve done for the company, chances are your boss won’t either. Before you go in for review, compile a good bullet point summary of your accomplishments in the past year. Include the dates and note accurate figures regarding how you increase profits. Address these problems and explain how you dealt with them and the solutions you provided. Noting goals and talking freely about them will increase your chances for a salary. It also gives you permission to ask for raise.

Always Look to the Future – Set New Goals

While setting goals for yourself privately is a good idea, getting your supervisor involved will help you increase your chances for success. Set mutual goals for your performance and keep up with them by constantly working towards and following them. Look them over again regularly, so you can determine whether you are accomplishing what you need to. Check them off as you ensure you a heading in the direction of success. Keep them filed for your next performance review too.

Performance reviews are an important innovative tool for good companies by allowing them to weed out uncommitted employees and retain their talent for the future of the company. If your company has a reputation of laying off those who don’t perform highly, getting a strong performance review will give you better job security and increase your salary. It also can help you obtain raises or promotions when you knowingly deserve these benefits.

Readers: Do you regularly self-evaluate your performance at work?

Article comments

mycanuckbuck says:

Interesting article. I have to admit I don’t self-evaluate. I recently switched to a new position and have mostly just being trying to survive. Might be a good idea to do a comparison point each month to where I was last month or 6 months ago or even a year ago.

young says:

@mcb- Switching jobs can be so scary. I remember feeling really depressed my first 6 months to 1 year at my new job. I had an evaluation at 6 months but that’s about it!

I love performance reviews! Is that weird? It’s a great opportunity to get new ideas and learn how to improve yourself. These are all great tips. One thing I heard a while ago is to be careful when working with baby boomers. Supposedly their generation worked under the “if I’m not getting scolded, I’m doing a good job” philosophy. So when Gen Yers approach them for feedback, they grow leery….are these employees incompetent? Are they doing such a bad job that they need their bosses to tell them exactly how to fulfill their responsibilities? But as a whole and as this older generation starts retiring, self-evaluation and performance evaluation with your boss is a great thing.

young says:

@ff- I like them too! I think generation Y should be more open to constructive criticism. I was working with a baby boomer and I felt that she had difficulty giving me constructive feedback, so your comment makes total sense to me.