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VOL. 131 | NO. 24 | Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Angela Copeland

What’s In A Review?

By Angela Copeland

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Reviews have become a standard way in which we communicate our satisfaction or displeasure with one another. Chances are good that the last time you had a negative experience at a restaurant, you logged on to a site like Yelp to share your experience with the online community.

Your annual performance evaluation serves a similar purpose. However, more is at stake for you at work. The score you receive can impact your performance bonus, your annual raise and a possible promotion. Often, your direct manager has full discretion over the rating you get and how that rating will impact you financially.

Some companies base your rating and annual bonus on your personal contributions alone. Others take company performance or team performance into account. When company performance is used, sometimes you are rated based on your business unit, and other times you are rated based on overall corporate performance.

Before accepting a new job, it can be helpful to understand how the company will evaluate your work. It is also wise to ask what their historic payout for top performers looks like. Although no organization can guarantee a payout, they can give you an idea of where you may fall within their historic range. For example, some companies rarely pay out more than 90 percent of the original target, while others may regularly pay out over 100 percent.

Performance evaluations are also a great way to document your career progress over time, and can be a good source of information when you update your resume. Typically, you review yourself before your boss provides their feedback. Do your best to provide a complete, honest review, but don’t undersell yourself. You will not get brownie points for rating yourself poorly.

This is the time to put your best foot forward, so don’t leave it to the last minute. Read over your review multiple times to ensure you have no mistakes and to ensure you’re providing strong examples. In addition to an online review, consider preparing a presentation to give your boss that demonstrates your success.

If you plan to ask for something during your review, such as a large salary increase, be sure to do your homework. Your company has little incentive to pay you 50 percent more tomorrow to do the same job you’re doing today. Research the market value on your current role and other openings in your area. Prepare to speak about the financial impact you’ve made to the organization. Consider pitching a new or expanded role and your vision for the future. You want to compel your boss to want to pay you more.

And, if you ask for a large raise, realize that it’s possible your boss may balk, no matter how valuable you are. Companies often find it challenging to provide very large raises to anyone who is internal. If you are pitching a large increase because you do not currently feel valued, this may be the time to begin looking for a company that will take you and your contributions more seriously.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com.

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