It’s About That Time: Year-End Performance Reviews

Published November 2009

For many businesses, the end of the calendar year brings about increased responsibility and workloads. In addition to this, year end performance reviews of employees often take place. 

This article has been created with two different sections. One section is to help employees to steer their year-end review in the right direction. The other section is to help employers improve their process of conducting year-end reviews.

For employees, acing your performance review is the best way to show you deserve to get a pay raise. Below are a few tips to improve the chances of your performance review progressing the way you would like. 

  • First and most important of all, be prepared. Be honest with yourself and conduct a detailed self-review. Include information about your accomplishments since your last review; if you saved your company money on a project, find the numbers so you have a concrete example.
  • Have a couple stories about how you have gone the extra mile. This is a good way to remind your boss how dedicated and hard working you are.
  • Know your weaknesses and have a plan to improve upon them in the future. Creating goals significantly increase your chances of successfully improving your weaknesses.
  • For some people it is helpful for them to take notes during their review. Knowing what your employer wants you to improve gives you a good starting point for creating goals to aim for. Also if you focus to improve on all of the aspects your employer mentions during this performance review, it will make the next one a breeze.
  • Don’t lose your composure during a performance review, it’s surprising how often people do because they can’t accept criticism. Also avoid bringing up other employees; this is your performance review so keep the conversation focused on you.
  • If you can’t agree with your supervisor’s opinion ask for more time and to pick up the review again later so you can find more information to back your claims.
For employers, conducting year-end reviews of every employee can be tedious and time consuming work. Below are a few tips to help increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the performance review process. 

  • First of all, give adequate warning of the performance review. It’s not good to surprise your employees with a year-end review.
  • Distribute self-evaluation forms to your employees a few days prior to the performance review. This will help the employees remember what has happened during the year, because after all, they will remember their accomplishments better than you will. It also shows the employees that the performance reviews will be more give-and-take discussion rather than the supervisor speaking to the employee.
  • Schedule ample time and find a quiet, private space to conduct the reviews. Nobody likes distractions when their performance is being evaluated, especially when the possibility of a pay raise hangs in the balance.
  • Write an agenda for the review and establish a fair rating system. Also think about what message you want your employees to leave the review with. Make sure everyone is motivated to continue or improve their performance and that they are appreciated.
  • Remember that an inaccurate performance review can actually decrease motivation because it shows that management is not recognizing an employee’s achievements. An accurate review with positive reinforcement of good performance usually still motivates employees whether or not your company is able to do pay increases.