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Easy Ways to Prep for Self-Evaluation Time

Sep 21, 2022
Earlier I posted a funny reel (you can see it here) on how you really feel when colleagues who don't work as hard or aren't as talented as you get promoted, before you.  It was a fan favorite with comments affirming how true its.  Funny yet not funny that so many of experience that feeling of being overlooked, undervalued and under utilized when we're ready to maximize our potential. 
How would it feel to be the one who gets promoted next time?
Well, soon it'll be that time of the year in Corporate America (for company’s on a calendar year) when you have to complete your self-evaluation and talk about all of the wonderful contributions you've made all year. Here are 4 Tips to get prepared for that process:
  1. Set a Higher Bar - Review the objectives you set for the year to see what you've accomplished, HOW your work has contributed to meeting or exceeding the objectives, and most importantly the IMPACT of the work. Remember, just doing your job, no matter how well you do it, might not be enough to get you promoted. Doing your job well is the expectation and you'll get a "meets expectations" rating if that's all you do. The key here is to connect your results to goals beyond the scope of your work, often times tied to department, business or company goals. (how you get to do work that's beyond the scope of your role is a whole other convo to address at the beginning of the year; blog for another time!).
  2. Keep Score - List the projects, stretch assignments and extra-curricular ways in which you contribute beyond the scope of your work.   Extra-curriculars include membership in employee resource or affinity groups, helping with recruitment efforts, mentoring, volunteering... anything that adds value to the company's culture and overarching business objectives, beyond the scope of your role. Be sure to note how much time you've devoted to professional development - participation at conferences, taking digital courses, enrolling in technical training, leadership coaching...anything that shows you've invested time in growing your skills and knowledge.
  3. Show Proof - Collect emails, pings, or any notes from leaders, colleagues, clients or anyone who's provided positive feedback.  Some ppl call this the "brag folder" but the word brag turns some people off so think of it as a "proof file" that shows the impact of your work on others AND the skills that are valued at your company (ex. being a team player, quick learner, detail oriented, innovative, etc.)
  4. Flex Your Advocacy Muscles - Start communicating your WINS with your manager, leaders & mentors in subtle ways. Ex. Flip an email of glowing feedback to them saying, “this was such a great experience; Jackie and I work really well together.” Add some authentic, positive feedback about the person who sent it so you’re always paying it forward. Casually talk about a project you were excited to work on (and delivered ahead of time!) in a "Skip Level" meeting.  To that point, schedule a meeting with your manager's manager and other leaders across the department.

To quote Hamilton, the performance evaluation conversations is essentially "The Room Where It Happens," where HR Business Partners and/or Talent Review Partners sit around the table with department leaders to discuss the talent in their respective groups.  Every organization does it differently but what's consistent across the board is that if you need to have multiple people in that room advocating for you, your high rating and/or your promotion.  That is why it's so crucial for you to connect with different leaders with decision making power, talk about the work you do and the value you bring to the organization. 

If you're in the camp that feels uncomfortable talking about yourself because it feels like bragging, not humble or because you think your work should speak for itself... try thinking of advocacy as a muscle, like your bicep.  If you want to grow stronger arms, you have to start flexing your biceps through movement (push ups, lifting 2lb weights, kinesthetic poses).  If you want to grow your career, you have to start flexing your advocacy muscles.  Unfortunately, your work doesn't speak for itself and you won't always have a direct manager who will make sure you're "taken care of."

You have to be YOUR BIGGEST CHEERLEADER! Communicating your contributions & accomplishments is an important skill, especially if you want to be rewarded for your hard work.
Don't let this be another performance cycle that leaves you feeling overlooked. Get ready to POP!