No one likes getting a performance review. Even if they are positive, a surprise review can still be nerve-wracking. Reviews can have a big impact on your position and your career, especially in the current climate around layoffs. Each of you must be thinking about how to prepare for a performance review as an employee. Here are some tips to be ready for your next scheduled (or surprise) performance review.

Develop a “Year Book of Impact” to Share with Leadership

It is important to share your accomplishments with your manager so they have an accurate understanding of your work during a performance review. Think of the things you do every day at work that keeps the company efficient, connected, and advancing. Think about tasks that make you stand out and that you often excel in when completing. Review those day-to-day moments and those tasks where you stand out. Use those to explore what you have learned and how your career has grown in alignment with the company’s success. Share these moments with your manager before the performance review cycle so they already have a strong foundation of your work ethic and impact. Be sure to document them in your “yearbook of impact” as well so these moments are easily accessible when you need to reference them, say for your performance review.

Keep an Accomplishment Journal

Your boss will want to know how you have supported the team. If others are not successful in their work the overall organization cannot succeed. Taking time to understand how your work intersects with your teammates is important because it will help you explain why your role is crucial and how your support helped the whole team prosper. If you have tenure over your peers, use that experience to help navigate difficult situations and stop crises from occurring. Excelling as an individual is always fundamental and helping the team stay on track shows how you are an invaluable part of the company! Track these moments in an accomplishment journal to underscore how critical your role and support are to the company.

Keep your Manager Involved

Letting your manager know about any projects or tasks that you are currently working on is an opportunity to show what you have been doing. Keeping a manager involved will also allow you to explore obstacles and areas of growth. Recognizing hurdles early means that when it comes time for a performance review you can explain what you learned and how you grew. The earlier you identify all of these areas, the better. It will give you and your manager time to train and prepare you for future work.

Share Accomplishments with your Manager

To ensure that you have a smooth performance review cycle, it is important to keep your manager informed about task completions and your achievements. When preparing for a review, use things like a “yearbook of impact” or an “accomplishment journal” (both mentioned above) to accurately articulate your “wins” and how they have helped the company. This is not the time to be shy or humble about your accomplishments; be confident and proud of the work you have done. Your managers and boss often do not know the details of the work you do, this is the perfect opportunity to show them!

Keeping Your Leadership Involved

The last thing you want to do is prepare for your performance review without involving your manager. Share with them everything you are doing, from wins and accomplishments to challenges and goals. You must share the impact of your work with others in the company because often time people will not know. Be ready to not only explain your wins but also how you would like to continue to create impact and challenge yourself in the upcoming year. As a leader, it may be easy for you to lose sight of how much value you are creating for the organization—but having this perspective can help your boss recognize what makes you great.


The key to a successful performance review cycle is to be proactive! Start by collecting data early, track your work on a weekly/monthly basis, and summarize your accomplishments and impact. Tracking your own work and preparing a self review will help you highlight the best parts of your year and will reveal areas where you need improvement. As always, keep in mind that this is an opportunity for both parties involved: managers should also be prepared with helpful feedback throughout the process so that everyone feels supported and empowered!



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