April 1, 2022
How to Prepare for Your Employee Review
Employee reviews can be nerve-wracking. Standing under the spotlight is uncomfortable at best, with reviewers expecting you to brag about your accomplishments and quantify how you’ve contributed to your workplace. It can also be difficult to maintain composure if the feedback you receive is unexpected. But employee reviews are as much about you and your professional goals as they are about your employer’s satisfaction with your work. With the right preparation, you can demonstrate your value and take an active role in shaping the future of your career. The more you prepare for your review, the more confident you will be in discussing these goals. Set yourself up for success in your next employee review by following these six steps.
1. Set clear goals
The first step you should take when preparing for your employee review is to ask yourself what your career goals are. Are you a paralegal with goals to become a lawyer? Are you interested in taking on new responsibilities at the firm? Are you an attorney interested in making partner one day? It’s important that you understand your intentions for your career before you can expect to communicate them to someone else. Don’t be afraid of sharing a lofty goal! Be honest about your career trajectory so that your firm can set you up for success. Before your performance review, write out your goals and be prepared to discuss them.
2. Ask yourself: How have you grown?
Now that you know what you’re working towards, take a look at the past. Reflect on your previous performance review. Were there areas of improvement that were discussed? How did you work on those? Were there specific situations that you could have responded to differently? How would you respond to those same situations today? Be ready to explain how you’ve used previous feedback to grow professionally and learned from prior inexperience or missteps.
3. Write down your accomplishments
What have you accomplished since your last performance review? Or, if this is your first performance review with your current employer, how have you grown in your first year with the firm? What projects have you worked on that you’re especially proud of? When have you gone out of your way to help a coworker or provide an extra set of hands on a case? Are there any numbers, statistics, or evidence you can attach to these accomplishments to measure your success? Write down a list of your contributions and accomplishments in addition to how you’ve improved since your last performance review.
4. Provide examples of how you’ve responded to professional challenges
What was a professional challenge you faced in the past year? How did you handle this situation? What did you learn from it? It is important to prove to your evaluator that you have the ability to problem solve outside the scope of your traditional role, especially if you’re interested in an upcoming promotion. Think of at least two challenges that you have faced over the past year and why you are proud of your response to those challenges.
5. Accept the feedback you receive
Despite all of your preparation, you may not expect the feedback you receive in your employee review.
If the feedback is positive, don’t look too shocked! You’re a dedicated legal professional with long-term career goals, after all. Thank your evaluator and explain how you plan on continuing this positive trend going forward.
If the feedback is negative, however, do your best to stay calm and listen closely. If you understand why you’ve been evaluated in this way, respond with the following.
- Explain what did not go well and why. This will give you an opportunity to show that you understand the feedback you are receiving, or it will give your evaluator a chance to make any clarifications.
- Explain what your original intentions were and why you believe you did not hit the mark.
- Identify what action you need to take to improve your performance.
- Communicate how you will accomplish that goal going forward.
If you feel blindsided by negative feedback, ask the evaluator to provide examples so that you can more easily understand their review. Then, ask for some time to review that feedback, and meet with them at a later date to put an improvement plan in motion.
Above all, do not get defensive. Remain calm during your employee review, and if you have any questions or concerns, you can discuss them with the appropriate party at another time once you’ve calmed down.
6. Track your progress
After your employee review is finished, make sure to track your progress in the next year. Have you received praise from a coworker on a specific project? Save it. Has a client been particularly happy with your work? Take a record of it. Have you made great improvements in a specific area since your last performance review? Track them. It is important that in your next employee review, you have examples of how you’ve learned from previous feedback and put it into action, in addition to the new projects and initiatives you’ve spearheaded since then.
Grow your career with JurisTemps
Do you have big career goals? JurisTemps can help you reach them. We’ve been servicing St. Louis’ legal community for more than 20 years. Our long-time relationships with St. Louis-based law firms and enterprise companies will help you make the right connections for your next big career move. We’re ready to help you find and successfully apply for the perfect position. Take the first step by contacting us to find your next opportunity, today!