If you want to climb the corporate ladder at work, you have to do a great job and make sure you’re recognised for your efforts. Nailing your performance reviews – and asking the right questions – can put you on the fast track to that exciting and fulfilling role you’ve always dreamed about.
Performance reviews can be a little intimidating for those who haven’t experienced them before, as well as those who have. The good news is, when you approach them with the right attitude, these assessments can provide excellent opportunities for career growth, development and progression. You just have to get your game face on, put in a little preparation, and go in with an aim to get the most out of your review for the year ahead. Wait…what actually is a performance review?
Forget the geek-speak explaining your annual review in subsection 33.7 of your contract. In short, your review is a window of time dedicated to reinforcing your work objectives, high-fiving you on your achievements, offering feedback and guidance on areas you need to improve on, and giving you some clear objectives and goals for the year ahead.
Reviews can differ greatly between organisations, but are typically conducted between yourself and your immediate supervisor, lasting 30 minutes to an hour. Now you have the basics, it’s time to check out the important questions to ask if you’re looking to accelerate your career trajectory, and exceed your boss’ expectations for the year ahead.
1. What improvements do you feel can be made to my current skills and knowledge?
This question is one of the best to open a discussion around career development and upskilling, and positions you as being proactive and willing to learn. No-one is perfect in their role, so acknowledging you have gaps – but that you want to fill them – is a positive way of approaching the subject of further training with benefit to the business. If you already know what gaps you have, research potential courses that you can suggest. These could range from short online courses that you can work on during your lunch break or commute, to corporate training your company may provide, or pay for.
2. What challenges do you think our business will face in the coming year and how do you think our business will change in navigating those challenges?
Asking this question shows your manager you think about the bigger picture, and have an interest in the company outside of your role. It also provides an opportunity to open up discussions about expanding your skill set to help meet company challenges, and demonstrates your willingness to be flexible and adapt as needed.
3. What career opportunities exist within our business for a person with my skills?
If you love the company you’re working for, but it’s important to you to move up the ladder, be sure to ask this question in your review. Not only will you get the best understanding of potential career pathways within the company, but it will also send a great message that you are committed to the company and building a career there for the long-term. You’ll also informally be tossing your hat into the ring and putting yourself on your boss’ radar should opportunities present themselves in the coming year. Win-win!