One bad week leads to another and suddenly you’ve not hit your targets in two months. You know things aren’t working, your manager knows it, and now you’re on performance review.
Your heart sinks and you think: 'They want me gone.' Well, hold your horses - while a performance review is serious, you do have the opportunity to turn things around.
The first step is acceptance. The letters and the formalities are frightening, but know that your manager only wants you to succeed.
They don’t enjoy this process any more than you do. Start off by understanding that your manager has your best interests at heart.
Performance reviews are common in recruitment
Performance review happens a lot in recruitment. View the whole process as a chance to shine once more. Reject the negative thoughts, the self-pity, and the knee jerk response to just quit. This is not the end of the line… yet. You have a choice and a chance to change things for the better.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Your manager doesn’t want to get rid of you
- Your manager wants to work with you
- Performance review is common (especially in recruitment)
- You need to be committed to the process
- You shouldn’t be frightened by the formalities
At the half way point of 2016, take a moment for reflection. Performance review happens to the best of us, but the trick is to approach the whole process positively.
1. Take it on the chin
You’re at a crossroads. You likely feel overwhelmed, dejected, and unhappy with your job. But deep down you knew that this was coming, so at least now everything is out in the open and you can work towards a positive outcome.
So, take it on the chin, and make sure that your perspective is upbeat. Your end goal is to be back on track and you need to be focussed and driven to be successful once more. A positive attitude will stand you in good stead and your manager will appreciate it too.
2. Show you’re committed
You’re sitting in your manager’s office and things are tense. Take control in this moment and demonstrate a real desire to change. Thank them for the opportunity to turn things around. No one likes being in this positon. But tell your manager explicitly that you’ll do whatever it takes, tell them that you want to deliver, and mean it.
3. Be squeaky clean
You have to assume that everything you do adds to your manager’s impression of your level of commitment. If your workplace has a dress code, stick to it. Don’t forget your tie, and remember to polish your shoes and iron your shirts. Don’t do something silly like get caught spending time on YouTube or on social media sites that your company forbids.
Follow every company policy to the letter. There’s no extra mileage here. Don’t be late, and remember that appearances matter more than ever before. Don’t give your manager a reason to doubt your commitment to positive change.
4. Over-communicate your achievements
Your manager will have specified some goals that they want you to achieve. Don’t assume that they know how hard you’re working to fulfil them. Be clear and specific about your progress.
Look your manager in the eye and talk through how you’ll complete your goals. Build on the promises you made in your initial meeting and make sure that your manager knows that you want to excel.
5. Be confident
The whole experience is definitely a trying one and the months of underperforming that led to the performance review process will have shaken your confidence. It’s time to find it again.
If you lack confidence, your clients will see it, making it far more difficult for you to achieve the goals laid out for you by your manager. So it is time to look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself: 'I'm a tiger and I can do it!' (or whatever works for you!). Most of all, you have to believe you can do it in order for things to change.
6. Respect the process
Be on time for every review meeting, and be ready to talk about what you’ve achieved since your last sit down. Use the opportunity to present your successes to your manager, and ask for help where it’s needed. Be honest and transparent about how things are going, and instil in your manager a sense that you’re in control.
Show that you’re delivering and let your manager feel your confidence. If they share your confidence, it will make the process far gentler for all involved.
7. Celebrate success
You’ve made it, you’ve done it, and the process is behind you now. You’ll likely have a better relationship with your manager too. You’ve worked towards shared goals, and you’ve shown your commitment to your job.
But you don’t want this to happen again. So, focus on staying positive. Keep meeting your targets, and rest in the knowledge that you can do it, and you’ve shown that you can throughout the performance review process. But learn from the experience and make sure that it doesn’t happen again. No one enjoys the bureaucracy, and everyone just wants to get on with their respective jobs.
If you’re currently on performance review, remember to stay positive and don’t get overwhelmed. You’ve excelled at your job before and now it’s time to do so again. Good luck!
Wendy McDougall is Chief Fish of Firefish Software. In her spare time, you'll find her playing squash or feeding her inner geek with the latest technology!