4 Tips to Ensure Your Next Performance Review Is Actually Productive

Employees and managers alike often dread performance review season, and for good reason: One poll found that only 2 percent of HR pros think reviews are useful. This raises an important question: Why are we still carrying out performance reviews if they're so useless?

The truth is annual reviews don't have to be wastes of time. Done right, they can be powerful tools for everyone involved. Mangers can determine whether or not employees are positive assets for the company, and employees can showcase their accomplishments to prove their value.

If you have a performance review coming up, don't head into it expecting a waste of time. Instead, use the following tips to turn your performance review into something legitimately productive:

1. Review Your Goals and Accomplishments

As Andrew Brushfield, Victorian and Western Australian director for HR consulting firm Robert Half, writes for Open Colleges, "Your manager wants to see that your annual review means something to you and that you respond to the feedback provided."

To demonstrate your genuine interest in the performance review process, Brushfield recommends "revisiting your notes from last year's meeting. Consider which goals you've achieved over the last 12 months, and conversely, those areas where you've fallen short."

2. Prepare Examples of Your Value, Backed Up by Facts and Figures

Look for two or three instances in which your work had a positive impact on the business. Compile data that supports the value of your contributions. Provide examples of times when senior managers have congratulated you for your exceptional work. Preparing all of this information ahead of time and bringing it up during the review will certainly impress your manager.

3. Consider Asking for a Raise

If you think it's appropriate, consider asking for a raise during your performance review. Before you do so, make sure you have enough evidence compiled to prove that you deserve a raise. It's also a good idea to wait until the very end of the review to broach this topic. If your manager denies your request, it may leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth for the rest of the review.

4. Be Ready for Negative Feedback

Even if you have given your best during the past year, you should expect to hear some negative feedback from your manager during your review. This isn't necessarily a bad thing: Constructive criticism can be useful, and few of us have no room for growth at all. Use this opportunity to take your manager's advice and demonstrate your capacity for learning and growth over the course of the coming year.

Many organizations today provide employees with feedback more than once a year, thankfully. If you have the chance, discuss your performance with your manager as frequently as possible. You can use these tips to make every performance conversation a productive one!

Maria Onzain is a digital marketing expert who writes about careers, education, ed. tech, and life hacks.