Tips to Prepare for Your Annual Performance Review


USAA Community ips to Prepare for Your Annual Performance Review.jpg

No one likes the annual performance review process. You don’t like it and chances are your boss certainly does not like it.  Performance reviews involve difficult conversations, forced rankings, and additional pay or none.  Despite it all, performance reviews must be done and there are a lot of ways to make a difficult process a productive and helpful one – both for you and your boss.


Follow these tips to help make the best of a difficult business process and to position yourself for a pay increase and a strong start to the next year.


  1. Annual Review Tip – Schedule A Meeting Two Weeks in Advance with Your Results Included. Having a good annual performance review with your boss means scheduling your performance review at least two weeks in advance with your boss. Instead of waiting for your boss, proactively schedule a meeting with your boss and try to schedule it for a Wednesday afternoon or a Thursday morning. In addition to scheduling, include your annual performance review results, what you want to review, and a written agenda for the meeting. This preparation will help your boss immensely and give them time to prepare the necessary forms.

  2. Annual Review Tip – Focus on a Wide Range of Quantified Result Metrics in Your Area of Responsibility. One of the areas that makes annual performance reviews so difficult is the lack of specific, quantified measures using understood data of what you accomplished during the year. Organizations tend to think of their results in 5 major areas: (1) Revenue, (2) Customer Satisfaction, (3) Cost Reduction, (4) Efficiency Improvement, and (5) Other Areas (Innovation, New Products, Etc.). For your performance review, you want to demonstrate how you helped improve each of these five critical areas using understood and well-defined data elements. To help in this process, follow this formula.
    • Category: Revenue, Customer Satisfaction, Cost Reduction, Efficiency, Or Other.
    • Measure at The Start of The Year
    • Measure at The End of The Year.
    • % And Value Change: +/- With $ And % Improvement.
    • How You & Your Team Accomplished This Throughout the Year.
    • Other Team Members (Names) That Were Critical to Your Success.

      This formula can be used in any function and in any position level. The key element is to show your work, steps, and to use data to demonstrate how you accomplished the improvements.  It is critical to remember that you may not have an equal number in each category and that is fine.  Job responsibilities often have specific focus areas.  Second, nothing improves with one project or in one period of the year.  Third, no one is solely responsible for any improvement.  Share the accomplishments with the names of team members who offered critical contributions.

  3. Annual Review Tip – Focus on How You Helped Your Team Members Improve. One of the critical tasks of leaders within any organization is how they grow and develop talent. This can be a list of people within your team that were promoted, took on new responsibilities, were assigned to corporate wide projects or completed critical education milestones. The results of growing current team members into the organization’s future leaders is a critical area of focus in the annual performance review.
  4. Annual Review Tip – Bring Your Plan for The Next Year to Continue Your Results. An annual performance review must be more than a review of the year’s accomplishments. An annual performance review also needs to be a start of how you will continue the positive results of the current year with more achievements in the following year. Showing how you plan to continue your positive results is the sign of a great employee because it recognizes that achievement and good results are not just a singular result but an ongoing challenge.
  5. Annual Review Tip – Ask for Reasonable Pay Increases & More. Once you have demonstrated your quantified results, it is easier to ask for additional pay and benefits for the next year. What many people lose sight of is that compensation is more than just the amount that you are paid. Instead start with other benefits that you want to meet your goals besides pay. It could be a flex schedule, permission to take a class during the day, a recommendation to join a corporate leadership program, or a recommendation to start a corporate wide initiative led by you. Then, once you have asked for these, ask for a reasonable pay increase and bonus.

  6. Annual Review Tip – Schedule 6 to 8 Performance Reviews with Your Boss During the Upcoming Year. Finally, put six to eight performance reviews on the calendar for the next year to discuss your performance and to give your boss time to coach. If you have an end of year performance form, ask your boss to complete it each meeting so you know where you stand for the year-end review.

The annual performance review should be a time where you demonstrate what you have done and not a period of stress. Focus on results, key team members that helped projects succeed, and how you will bring that success forward into the next year.


Share your tips how you had a great performance review!


Related Information:


  1. Military Leadership Skills During Times of Chaotic Change
  2. Use Military Strategy to Create Options for Your Civilian Career
  3. Leverage Your LinkedIn Profile for Career Success
  4. USAA Leaving the Military Page


About the Author: Chad Storlie is a Retired US Army Officer, the author of Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and has published over 360 articles in over 185 publications on military veterans, career advancement, business, leadership, strategy, education, financial planning, and national security topics.  Chad excels as an author, mentor, speaker, and teacher showing business leaders and military veterans how military skills make lives, careers, and businesses better.  Chad is an adjunct Professor of Marketing at the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management.  Chad has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.  Follow Chad @CombatToCorporate and