What to do when your annual review doesn’t go to plan

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As of last month, we are bearing the brunt of the highest inflation rate to impact the German economy in 40 years. Inflation accelerated to 8.8% in the year to August and soaring costs have been seen across energy and food. While French inflation slowed to 6.5% in August, costs remain high as food and manufactured goods costs accelerated in the country. 

While employers are sympathetic to the plight of their people, with the majority forecasting for salary increases, new research from Gartner shows that for most companies, this will not be taking place across the board. In fact, the research shows that only top performers will be rewarded. Which essentially means, that unless you are within your company’s top 28% of employees, you will not be receiving a salary increase this year. 

Which raises the question, what constitutes a top performer? This varies from sector to sector and team to team, and can be quite difficult to define if you, your role and your company don’t set clear KPIs and targets each quarter. So, what can you do if you don’t get a bonus or salary increase this year, and instead get negative feedback from your manager?

First things first, before your company announces its financial plans for the year or your boss schedules a performance appraisal, can you get ahead of the curve by performing a self audit? Honestly and critically assess what was expected of you over the past six months to one year and ask yourself did you deliver.

Did you over perform – or did you just scrape by? Did you lend a hand to struggling colleagues or departments during times of stress, or did you just focus on your own goals? If you find it hard to remain impartial about your own performance, ask a close colleague or mentor to help you, explaining you need true honesty. Once you’ve identified areas that need improvement, set out a plan immediately and get to work. The sooner you step up and improve your performance, the better your appraisal will be. 

And if it’s too late? 

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Here are three ways to remain professional and plan ahead when you receive bad feedback at work. 

Take Some Time

It doesn’t matter how career-oriented you are or how personally invested you are in your job, receiving negative feedback provokes an emotional reaction. While it’s difficult to remain calm and collected during difficult meetings, especially if you disagree with the points raised, taking the time to collect yourself will always pay dividends. 

Instead of arguing each point raised, ask your boss if you can take some time to reflect on their feedback and schedule a follow-up meeting in a few days – this not only shows you take their opinion seriously, but also will help prevent you from saying or doing something in the heat of the moment. 

Ask For Examples

Unfortunately, not all managers are articulate communicators. If your boss has a tendency to ramble and talk around difficult subject matters, you may leave a performance review with no clear understanding of what issues were discussed or how they can be addressed. Similarly, if you disagree with some of your boss’s points, ask for clarification and examples of how they directly involve you. 

This will not only help you identify areas in which you need to upskill, it will also help you look at each point objectively without any room for personal bias. Yes, your boss might like your team mate more than you, but if they have specific examples where you didn’t excel, it provides focus. 

Get A Plan

If you’ve done your self audit and agree that there is room for improvement, split the responsibility with your employer and ask your boss for a performance improvement plan (PIP) at your follow up meeting. You have the examples, you have the list of areas you underperformed in, so now ask for help. 

Ask your boss to list what success in your role actually looks like, and for a performance improvement plan with an end date on it for no sooner than three months. Do be aware that this is usually a process that will be conducted in conjunction with your HR department and if you fail it, you are likely to have your employment terminated.

Ready to move jobs now? Check out available roles on the Silicon Canals Job Board

Remain Professional

If you don’t agree with your appraisal, and you have a case for argument, then it is appropriate to bring that to the follow up meeting. However, be sure you attend that meeting armed with clear examples and case studies of how you did succeed in your role. Examples can include emails from clients and colleagues congratulating you on a certain project, data that your boss overlooked or the job outline as per your contract. 

Your boss may be expecting tasks from you for which you are not contracted, or you may actually be over-performing and doing extra work for which you may not be receiving proper acknowledgement. Avoid gloating or adopting an “I told you so” attitude and instead remain professional, courteous and polite at all times. 

However, you also need to accept the fact that you might not win this argument. In which case, don’t be afraid to cut your losses and move to another company. 

There are plenty of available roles across all sectors on the Silicon Canals Job Board. The right job is waiting for you

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