As the leafs fall from the trees to prepare for next years growth, it is a good time for you to start reflecting on this year as well as preparing for the year to come.

Yep, it is time to prepare for that annual performance review.

This post will show you practical actions you can use to help you prepare for this important review as well as tips for the meeting itself.


Your annual performance review is an opportunity to –

  • Assess how well you contributed towards the company’s objectives.
  • Assess your competency growth.
  • Evaluate your career goals and outline next year’s objectives to move you towards these.
  • Optionally provide constructive feedback on your company and your manager.

The more preparation you do, the more you will get out of it.


When you prepare for your annual review, think about your overall contribution to the company and not just your direct objectives.

Your objectives

Look at your objectives this year and document –

  1. How you can evidence that you have met this objective. This can either be a metric or feedback from others.
  2. What you did well.
  3. What did not go well and what you did to resolve any issues.
  4. What did you learn and how you applied this learning going forward.

Have you been a team player?

Can you think of how you helped your peers or your manager meet their objectives.

I used to measure my development managers on this –

  • Achieving your own objectives means you just did your job.
  • Achieving your objectives and helping your peers meet theirs (team) mean you are performing very well.
  • Achieving your objectives, helping your peers meet theirs and helping with the department’s objectives means you are performing exceptionally well.

How else have you helped the company?

Can you identify any companywide activities that you have helped with?

  • Have you helped with any internal or external company events?
  • Have you helped with charity events?
  • Have you helped with any new joiner events?

Have you been a mentor?

Can you identify where you have helped improve the growth of others?

  • Have you mentored more junior members of the team?
  • Have you run any training meetings/events?

Competency Growth

Competencies are the ability to do something successfully or efficiently in your role. Focussing on your competencies allows you to improve in your current role as well as grow to the next level in your career.

I break these down into 2 areas –

  1. Technical skills – these are the technical skills you need to do your job well i.e. skills in programming in Java, problem solving, skills in breaking down and validating business requirements, etc.
  2. Soft skills – These are skills that complement your technical skills and help you succeed in the workplace i.e. communication, interpersonal, leadership, time management, integrity, proactivity, decision making, influencing, facilitation, etc.

Provide evidence

Think about all the work you have done this year and the training you have undergone. Can you show evidence of your competency growth and how this added value i.e.

Example 1

I went on an advanced Java course this year and identified that we were using the core framework inefficiently. I discussed this with the team and led a small project to update our usage. The outcome allowed us to process 1000 more transactions a second and eliminate the risk we have with the end of day process missing the SLA.

Example 2

I observed that we were not meeting our release commitments when we prioritised work with dependencies towards the end of a release. To avoid this going forward I convinced the product owner to prioritise this at the start of a release to eliminate this risk.

Also identify areas where you need to grow, everybody needs to grow and identifying these shows your manager that you have a mature approach to evaluating your own skills.

Additional responsibilities

Identify any areas of additional responsibility you have taken on this year and document what you have done well, what challenges you have had and what you have learned.

Have you grown from last year?

Take your annual review from last year and compare it to what you have documented. What examples stand out as growth and highlight these for your meeting.

Right, you should now be ready for your meeting. Forward what you have documented to your manager well in advance of the meeting to give him chance to prepare as well.

The meeting

The annual performance review is for you and not your manager, so ensure you drive the meeting.

Present all you have prepared to your manager and listen carefully to his feedback.

Ensure your manager provides examples with his feedback. If he does not then ask for them so you can better understand his feedback.

Discuss your career goals and how you can move forward with them next year. Suggest the work you would like to be doing as well as the training you think you need. Ask him to discuss this further in the new year when he starts objective setting.

If your manager is like me, I like hearing feedback on what I am doing well and where I and the department can improve. If you feel you have this relationship with him, then this is the ideal time to give your feedback.

Wrap up

I have hopefully given you some practical ways of preparing for your annual performance review.

Do you have any examples of how you prepare?

Categories: Personal Development

1 Comment

How to respond to feedback in your performance review | Nicholas Foster · November 18, 2015 at 2:16 pm

[…] – The Internal Tug of War October 21, 2015 How to Say No at Work October 29, 2015 How to prepare for your performance review November 9, 2015 How to respond to feedback […]

Comments are closed.