5 Tips to Prepare for That Employee Review Session

It’s that time of year again — your opportunity to reflect on your accomplishments over the course of the year and share them with your manager. If only you could remember what you did!

This is usually the moment your mind goes blank. Or maybe it wanders back to your email inbox or other convenient distractions. And with everything you have to juggle, it’s no wonder your accomplishments have gotten lost in the sea of memory. It can be the most frustrating part of the process.

5 Tips employee review

A system called Catalytic Coaching provides the template for a comprehensive series of formal conversations about performance and potential. Never fear — I’ve got some powerful tips and tricks for removing this stress and preparing for your meeting.

Use a coaching journal: Capture those moments in a quick reminder. No one else can view it, so you can feel comfortable recording anything that catches your attention.

Send yourself a note: Something really cool just happened and you’re nowhere near a computer. Shoot yourself a text or email with as much detail as you can muster.

Get dedicated: Set a recurring reminder and make it a habit to compile your notes and document achievements. Give yourself 10 or 15 minutes at least once a month for this reflective activity. It’s a small amount of time that will save you a headache in the long run.

Be picky … but not too picky: You don’t have to document every little thing or use every example. The quality of the accomplishment and how it fits with your narrative is more important than having tons of examples. And don’t let yourself get tripped up on finding the perfect wording either.

Let’s do the time warp: Even if you made a note, sometimes there’s some little detail you wish you’d remembered to jot down. Maybe there was some specific customer feedback you need to bring up or a particularly challenging collaboration that was well navigated.  Take a moment to search through your email, direct messaging, calendar entries, etc. You might be surprised how many “Oh, yeah!” moments you’ll have.

With a little prep work, navigating your meeting will get easier, and you’ll find the perfect outlet for your professional development.

Gary Markle is the developer of Catalytic Coaching and consultant with Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed more than 2 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2019. Energage is The Washington Post’s research partner for Top Workplaces.

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