Each year, or multiple times per year, say quarterly, the boss brings in each employee to his or her cushy corner office for that often dreaded, sometimes highly anticipated, but always expected, performance review. If you haven't had one yet, you're bound to eventually. But it's nothing to get frazzled about, in fact, it can bring you to the next phase of your career.
Whether or not you feel like you've done a stellar, or at least satisfactory job leading up to the review, the prospect of actually sitting there to have your work hashed out, picked apart, and evaluated is daunting. You want to appear confident and put forth the best version of yourself as you discuss your performance, from the A+ moments to those not-so-remarkable ones. Hey, we all have 'em.
You may be nervous, hopeful, or even self-assured, but no matter your emotions, you really never know what's going to go down. However, you can prep yourself in order to shine like the star you know you are or aspire to become. Follow these three tips so your performance review deserves a standing ovation!
Prepare Ahead of Time
Even the most confident employee should get ready before the big meeting. Collect your facts and figures, make notes, and rehearse key talking points. Of course you know what you've been up to since your last review, but your boss is busy, and may only have a broad overview of what you have done specifically. Listing out your main accomplishments and what you've done to move the needle will be imperative discussion points when your boss needs to know what makes you a value to the company.
As per USA Today, prepare a self-evaluation. "Plan ahead by keeping a file of your accomplishments. Then, prior to your review, draft a document reviewing your accomplishments. Use bullet points, making it easy to read with measurable outcomes. Provide your self-evaluation to your boss prior to your review."
This planning will allow your boss to save time during your meeting and already have a feel for what to further delve into. It will also show that you're organized and prepared. Plus, it will help you stick to a positive discussion trajectory and give your boss a better understanding of your progression and work ethic. It may also ease any jitters you have regarding forgetting prime topics you want to cover during the performance review.
State Plans for the Future – Personally and Professionally
So you've made it this far, but what's to come? A plan of action is just what your boss wants to learn about once you've followed up on the past. Knowing that your boss wants to hear about goals and moving forward is a positive sign that your performance review made the grade up to that point.
Talk about how you want to help make the company stronger and grow professionally – both for your own goals and for the good of the company. Forbes interviewed some members of the Young Entrepreneur Council. One member, Brittany Hodak or ZinePak said, "Entrepreneurs value employees who are constantly striving to make themselves better—having a more skilled team leads to a better company. Another member, Phil Laboon of Clear Sky added, "I am always looking for my employees to tell me things they would like to pursue within the company. By suggesting a project they would like to manage, it shows me their continued interest in the company. I feel confident that if it's a project they are suggesting, then they will excel at it."
Showing that you have a vested interest in the company's success is just as important as what you've done so far. There is always room for new strategies, projects, and improvement. Prove you're in it for the long haul and have visions for the months and years to come.
Discuss What's Not Benefiting You or the Company
Not every breath of your conversation during your review needs to be rainbows and butterflies. It's beneficial to discuss items that need improvement too. Honesty is valued and an ambition to do things better is always appreciated by an intelligent boss. It's also a good idea to discuss ways to change things up or introduce new practices and performance-enhancing programs or technology.
As per Forbes' interview with entrepreneurs, Manpreet Singh of Seva Call said, "I love it when team members keep me informed of new performance-enhancing options. And performance reviews are the perfect way to contextualize a conversation about the benefits of adopting new tools and methods."
When you can be open about room for improvement, everyone wins. As USA Today puts it, "Get consensus with your boss in terms of how you'll address your opportunity areas or weaknesses. Remember, we're all works-in-progress so have a positive attitude about improving your performance."
Keep your ideas well-formulated – don't go on a tirade about co-workers in the office or nitpick about inconsequential issues. Most importantly, at your next review, be prepared to exhibit how you've made progress in the areas discussed.
After a successful review and the timing is right, a raise in salary may be just what the doctor ordered. Need help in how to approach your boss to discuss a salary increase? Check out these tips to make it work in your favor.
Are you ready to shine at your performance review? Keep cool and show your boss you're an asset.
Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.
What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.
The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.
There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!
Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.
Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”
While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.
That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying
the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.
This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.
Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.
That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?
Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”
While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."
In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.
We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.
As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.
What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.
The rising trend of pet-friendly offices is part of the effort to incentivize employees to come back to work in person. Many companies completely embraced the remote-friendly convenience of WFH. Digital nomad culture emerged and “second cities” arose when people exited New York, San Francisco, and LA, and headed to Denver, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, and Raleigh.
But now, employees and employers have a choice to make. The question now is: to return or not to return to the office? This is no longer about forcing employees to commute. Post The Great Resignation, employees feel more empowered to leave in-person positions and seek out remote jobs. So if offices want people to return, they’ve got to do a ton to entice their employees.
Some huge companies with giant operating budgets are not worried. With major perks like shiny facilities and full-service food bars, they feel comfortable requiring in-office work days — even if it’s for a hybrid week. But the solution might be simpler: pet-friendly workplaces.
The Allure of Pet-Friendly Offices
According to the Washington Post, pet-friendly workplaces are becoming a common solution to improve employee morale and appease the rising number of pandemic pet owners. “As offices start reopening and thousands of workers are being called back for the first time in two years, some companies are allowing employees to bring their pets. About 23 million American households adopted a pet during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Many workers say they find pet-friendly environments an important perk for their new furry family members. A recent survey conducted by Banfield Pet Hospital, owned by Mars Inc., showed that 57 percent of the 1,500 pet owners polled said they would be happiest returning to a pet-friendly workplace. Half of the 500 top executives surveyed said they are planning to allow pets at the office. Tech companies including Google, Amazon, and Uber plan to continue to allow dogs at their offices, even with their flexible office policies.”
With so many people adopting and fostering since the pandemic, becoming a pet parent is a trend. And to welcome these new additions into people’s lives, it makes sense for some workplaces to welcome them into the office.
After spending unlimited amounts of time at home, many pets grew greatly attached to their “parents” — and pet-parents feel the same about their pets. Rather than keeping them locked in the house while their caretakers head off to work, this is a mutually beneficial solution to the current separation anxiety faced by pets.
Pets have also been shown to boost happiness in pet owners. According to heart.org, “Studies show that dogs reduce stress, anxiety, and depression; ease loneliness; encourage exercise and improve your overall health. For example, people with dogs tend to have lower blood pressure and are less likely to develop heart disease. Just playing with a dog has been shown to raise levels of the feel-good brain chemicals oxytocin and dopamine, creating positive feelings and bonding for both the person and their pet.” Most likely, this might have a similar effect on people who bond with animals at work that don’t even belong to them, lending an overall mood boost to the office.
The controversy behind pet-friendly workplaces
However, not everyone is as enthusiastic about the prospect. Some would rather keep the office separate from their personal lives. Some are allergic to pets. And some people simply don’t like animals.
Offices considering pet-friendly policies are weighing the pros and cons to keep everyone happy. According to the Washington Post, clear guidelines and communication can increase the chances of success.
“Before making the jump, pet experts say that leaders should first understand whether their employees have interest in, or strong feelings against, having a pet-friendly office. Doing an anonymous survey may allow employees to freely share thoughts on the matter.”
Overall, the key to a policy like this is flexibility. “Be ready to adjust: Above all, pet-friendly offices should be ready to listen and adjust their policies as they go. What works for one office may not work for another, but experts say proper planning can lessen much of the burden.”
Ensure your office is actually suited to the pets you want to welcome. “A well-developed pet-friendly office should be both safe and welcoming to pets. That means companies should consider blocking off areas that could be dangerous to pets as well as making sure pets have access to clean water, food, and places to rest.”
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