How Should I Approach My Annual Review?

Most organisations are experiencing staff turnover

With many organisations imposing salary freezes over the recessionary years, there is a desire for salary increases amongst a lot of employees.  Consequently, organisations have come to realise that they need to increase to retain their talent.

The Irish Times carried out a survey at the end of 2017 and published an article concerning the results on 19th December 2017.  This article cited that “employers set to offer average pay rise of 2.5% as retention of key staff becomes a significant issue”. This has set an expectation for existing employees to receive a pay rise and with the onset of annual reviews, it is important that employees are prepared.  It’s also important employees don’t assume an increase will be automatically paid.

Preparation for an annual review is important

A lot of organisations use a variety of review tools including 360 reviews.  360 reviews allow both parties (employee and direct manager) to complete in advance and then a discuss during the face to face conversation. Where a structured approach is in place, preparation can be easier as the format is already available. Please note that salary review conversations are sometimes separate to annual performance reviews but given that one can’t occur without the other, we will cover both elements in this article.

It is worth spending some time preparing for your annual review:

  • Where your employer holds a job description for your role, review the areas of responsibility and write out actual examples of where you met and exceeded those areas during the previous twelve months.
  • Where a specific job description doesn’t exist, review your actual tasks and write out actual examples of where you met and exceeded those areas during the previous twelve months.
  • For other areas of performance that were outside the scope of your role, jot those examples down as they are above and beyond the expectations of your role. These could involve specific projects or work that you got involved with on your own initiative.
  • Review the goals you and your direct line manager set in last year’s review and note how you achieved these during the twelve months.
  • Set out the goals you wish to achieve during the next twelve months and where progression may apply, this would be the time to bring up that possibility.
  • Review the market rates for roles at your level in similar types of organisations. Recruitment agencies are usually well placed to assist you with this query in advance of your review. This research is important to assess if there is a gap between your remuneration package and that of similar roles in the market place.
  • Ensure that you have reviewed your examples and notes prior to your annual review so that they are fresh in your mind for presentation at the review.
  • Ensure to approach the review in a positive fashion. There is a win-win situation where the employer and employee are both happy so it’s in both parties interest that they accurately review your performance and reflect that in your overall package. One final note when negotiating your reviewed remuneration package, do not narrow your focus to just salary. Your remuneration package will include annual leave entitlements, flexible working, healthcare, pension, paid subscriptions, etc – if a salary increase isn’t possible, an additional day or two annual leave might be worth considering. With increased work loads and the desire for work life balance increasing, additional annual leave is a valuable commodity for any employee!
  • On the day of the annual review, ensure to arrive to the meeting on time, articulate your points clearly and ask for feedback on your performance. By having a clear understanding as to how the employer sees your value in the organisation, you will know the likelihood of your advancement and security within the organisation. Use the format as a motivational and developmental tool for you to move forward for the next twelve months. Anything that develops your potential has to be viewed positively.