Year end performance review
Performance reviews are given in October. Prior to the review, each employee is required to fill out a self review, stating accomplishments and noting how we met our “goals” of the performance review. This year we also had to name 3 coworkers that we wanted to fill out evaluations for us, and we also filled out at least 3 reviews of others (I did five!). Our managers then compile the information into an overall “score card”, and we are given an overall rating of 1 to 3 in two categories. They roughly are “what you do” and “how you do it”, but they have some HR-type names. HR imposes rules that disallow managers from rating everyone too high or too low.
The process is structured, and seems very fair. Good raises don’t just go to those who gather up the courage to ask. They go to those who can list accomplishments, whose peers speak highly of their work, and who’s manager is impressed with them.
My review went really well, I was rated a 3 and a 2.9 in the two categories, and my manager talked about getting me into some leadership classes in the coming year. I was hoping to be promoted to the next grade, but I do not have the 2 years of full time experience that they generally require. So I wasn’t. I received a great review this year, yet still got “only” a 4.5% raise. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great. I really need to get moved up to the next pay grade level in order to get a larger raise, which would probably happen next year.
The best advice I heard about reviews was to step up your level of effort a bit for the two months before the review. People’s memories are short, and that is what they will remember. I didn’t do this. However, not long before my review I was in a meeting with my manager (along with about 7 others) and was speaking up and questioning why we were doing something, if it was “value added” (no I didn’t use that jargony word!). In my review, he specifically commented that he had noticed that I was speaking up and expressing my opinions and questioning the process when necessary. I didn’t do it to impress him, but I don’t have a lot of direct interaction with my manager, so this probably helped give me a slight boost.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps) there is nothing that takes the place of solid hard work. If people are requesting you to work on projects, leaving you good feedback, and entrusting you with responsibility, you should make sure your manager knows it. But if they aren’t, no amount of effort on a self evaluation review will make a difference. Perhaps some clever wording and bragging can separate those in the middle a bit, but they can’t separate the good from the great.