Many of us spend May to January building a case for more money, a promotion, role change, or even additional validation that we're on the right track. Then, over the course of two-three months, we summarize our life’s work in less than 1000 characters and hope for the best during an annual performance review. So, what happens next?
Well, that depends on if you liked (or at least agree with) what you heard or not.
What to do after a good performance management conversation?
- Annotate it. The simple action of ⭐️ starting bright spots and underlining growth areas can help you digest your performance review and feel grounded in what’s next.
- Save the receipts. We’ve seen people use ‘kudos’ folder, brag sheets, or wherever they take day-to-day notes. Documentation is critical for a couple reasons: (1) great confidence boost/reminder for insecure moments, (2) demonstration of value to leverage for future performance reviews, career conversations, or update that resume when and if the time comes.
- Tell people your goals. This one’s a two-parter:
Part A: Get Specific: You’ve probably heard of SMART goals and OKRs and every other goal setting framework. The long and short of it is to make things specific and have a way to measure success. Also, be intentional to ensure goals align with what you’d like to be doing, learning, experiencing, etc. in the next six to 18 months.
Check out our goal setting prompts
Part B: Talk About It:
A manager or manager-like person: This person has the most influence on your workload, schedule, and future performance reviews. They need to be in the loop to some extent. If a goal is to move/grow within your current role, this is the person you want to be super specific with. If a goal is to change roles within your company or change companies, you may need a more nuanced approach. You can still share with your manager skills you're looking to build, but read the room to decide if keeping a major move in the company or externally confidential. Best case - they can clear blockers and help set boundaries to keep you on track during busy times. Also, you are demonstrating your commitment and dedication to growing which is the validation you need for future career conversations and performance reviews.
Teammates, other co-workers, or peers in your network: The people who just want you to succeed and can hold you accountable when motivation is just not there. This is the group that you can feel comfortable learning and failing in front of. This group can also help you think of new and fun ways to achieve your goals.
Industry and/or organizational leaders and influencers (your sponsorship group): These are the people you want to keep in the know for later on. They may not directly impact where you are in six to 18 months but are typically great people to think through career moves and offer their industry know-how and impactful introductions that can help you skip levels in pay and role if/when you’re ready. They don’t need regular updates, but it’s great to keep them in the loop and engage 1-2x a year (or more!).
- Schedule it. At Allspring, we’re big in proactive calendaring because we know that if we don’t schedule it, it’s not going to happen. We recommend setting a calendar hold (could be weekly, monthly, or some regular cadence that works for you) to make space to check in with how you’re progressing against your goals and make time to work towards them. We talk more about intentional career and goal check-ins here with tips and specific prompts to get you started.
What to do after a not great performance management conversation?
This one isn’t as straightforward. There’s a number of reasons your performance conversation didn’t sit well with you, and can feel deeply personal. If you’re feeling less than stellar about your performance review, we encourage you to start by spending some time reflecting on, naming and processing what’s not sitting well. Then, ask yourself - what do I actually have the control to change? And, the sometimes harder question, do I want to do the work to make that/those changes.
Regardless of the answer, you have some planning to do. Seek support from those you trust in your network - that could be a teammate, mentor, therapist, HR or employee relations, or a career coach to start building a plan to move forward.
Performance reviews are a great opportunity to assess your career goals, take a stand for your career progression, and take overall stock of how you're feeling in your current state both for the assigned company-mandated review and more importantly for yourself! A completed performance review doesn’t mark a stop to thinking about your career until the next year, but one of the many tools you can use to intentionally move through your career.