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Career Notes: Learning to Evaluate Your own Performance

October 27, 2017

What does job performance mean to you? How can you objectively evaluate yourself and your own accomplishments? Do you tend to wait until a yearly evaluation to think about things? Should you?

JEVS career advisor Jacqueline Savoy has answers!

“If you’re working for an organization that isn’t great with feedback—or even if you are—I think it’s always a good idea to perform your own periodic self-assessments,” she noted. “There are a few different reasons for doing this. Sometimes it’s hard for managers to give meaningful feedback; sometimes you answer to many different audiences; or maybe you just want to use the feedback as a measuring stick in the pursuit of your own professional goals.”

So if you’re not sure where you stand in the workplace, Savoy suggests taking the matter into your own hands.

“One thing you could do is to start soliciting feedback yourself,” she said. To Savoy, that’s a two-part process:

  • Determine who the appropriate people are to give you feedback
  • Review the feedback you already “own”

Once you’ve selected appropriate persons to give you feedback—a colleague, a customer, a manager, etc…, Savoy suggests that you could ask them to lunch or coffee.

“Be direct,” she said. “It’s scary sometimes to ask, but I’ve found that people are willing to help, so maybe saying ‘I’d like to get feedback on how we’re working together’ is a good way to start.”

After that, Savoy recommends the common stop/start/continue change management model:
1) What isn’t working (that I should stop doing)?
2) What do you wish that I’d start doing?
3) What’s working well now (that we should continue)?

And she notes, it’s okay to take “let me think about it” for an answer—it’s a great sign that people want to be thoughtful and diligent in their responses.

“I had a high-ranking client who worked in financial services who would do this as a check-in between her normal company-led performance reviews,” said Savoy. “It made her feel more comfortable and gave her a larger perspective of her role and value than merely what she was told by one person during the formal annual review.”

Most importantly, she recommended that you thank your feedback-givers, and potentially ask to check in periodically. “We find it hard to ask for feedback, because we’re afraid of the negative; on the other hand, when leading, we want people to think well of us, so we’re either afraid to criticize or we might find ourselves unable to find the right way to phrase compliments—so we don’t say anything.”

Reviewing Your “Owned” Feedback

The other thing Savoy suggested is a personal inventory—keeping a running log of what you’ve accomplished throughout the year, by taking stock each month of projects completed or skills learned.

“It’s so hard to remember once a year what has happened in those previous twelve months. But just like keeping a ‘thank you’ or ‘kudos’ file, it’s important to note the milestones as you perceive them.”

To Savoy, also of high importance is the quantification of those numbers. “Maybe you give workshops and you ask for survey ratings after, or your customer numbers have risen, or you’re getting repeat business if you’re working in a bank,” she said. “Working with your employer to figure out what you should be tracking—and then periodically giving yourself the stop/start/continue self-assessment—is a great way to stay on top of your own professional development.”

After all, the more information you have, the better—even if the feedback isn’t always positive. “It’s better to know,” she noted. “Better to know than to get a pink slip.”

Posted in Blog JEVS Program: Career Strategies

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