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How to Get REAL Feedback Beyond a Performance Review & Push Forward In Your Career

How to Get REAL Feedback Beyond Your Performance Review & Push Forward In Your Career

No one likes performance reviews!

Having worked in HR for many years, I’ve lead multiple types of performance review systems. Some were based on anniversary date, some were competency based. Whatever the case, it became clear that no one was a fan of conducting performance reviews.

Leaders didn't like conducting them, and employees dreaded them.

So where does that leave you?

If you're serious about your professional development, you want feedback! You want to hear what management thinks you're doing well and where you can improve. But if no one wants to do performance reviews, it can be hard to consider that annual performance review a part of your professional development review plan.

Why Go Beyond a Performance Review?

Here are a few reasons you may want to be getting feedback from more than a performance review.

learn other definitions of 'success.'

We all define success differently. Your employer might be looking for growth from you in one way when you're trying to develop in another. Their feedback is valuable - but it may not be tailored to your definition of success!

professional development can occur in just 2 hours a week.

Performance reviews typically come around once a year if that. Yet, major growth can take place over a week if one is intentional and devotes the time, i.e. to master a technical skill, take a copywriting course, etc. Check out Udemy for various short courses. Many of my career clients tell me that their professional development is sporadic at best, and performance reviews are sparse. Having more outlets for feedback beyond the traditional performance review helps us learn from those quick bursts of growth. Consider identifying a mentor who is NOT your direct supervisor.

Feedback should come from more than one source.

Career development works best when we can receiving feedback from multiple sources. If we're only waiting for feedback from our performance review, we're limiting ourselves and our next steps in addition to operating in a very reactionary or 'wait and see' mindset.

How Do I go Beyond a Performance Review?


If you want to own your professional development, here are THREE ways you can gain meaningful feedback or insight into your performance.

1. ask for it.

Make a plan to get feedback on your performance. Either quarterly or at the end of each project, proactively seek out time with your supervisor, peer group or anyone else you collaborate with; go for a 'walk and talk' or chat over a 20 minute cup of coffee. NOTE: Meetings can occur outside of the top and bottom or the hour and happen quite effectively in 15 and 20 minute increments.

Ask them for what they feel is going well and where you think you could have taken a different approach. Conduct your own performance review! The next time you meet, follow up from the last conversation especially if you are still working on similar projects or in a similar capacity to check your progress.

2. Volunteer for opportunities.

Raise your hand and stretch yourself! In larger organizations, it can be challenging to get additional exposure to areas outside of your department.

Let it be known in a respectful way that you are hungry to learn all you can.  For instance, in my very first job in HR, I was a Compensation Analyst. It was my job to write job descriptions and evaluate jobs to determine their proper pay grade.  I didn’t have a ton of variety in my day, and I knew I could do more. (Clock watching is the worst!)

So, I let it be known to the other specialists in the HR department that I’d love to take on a project outside of my job scope - if they needed help.  And it worked. 

We were rolling out a new business casual dress policy and I got to coordinate and run a fashion show of what was considered acceptable attire at the company-wide meeting of 500+ employees.

Had I ever done something like that before? No.  Heck- I was only 1.5 years into my professional career.  But I was determined to get additional exposure and do it to the best of my ability.  It turned out even better than I anticipated.  People laughed, had fun and it was memorable!

My desire to look for new opportunities won me new feedback on my skillset, enhanced my internal network, working with individuals outside of my department and enhanced my communication skills.

3. Keep a Career Development Journal.

Track your professional development. Once a week, sit down and write what went well and what didn’t at work as well as keep a wish list of projects you'd like to become involved with. Putting an idea down on paper is the first critical step to strategizing and implementing your next moves.

Here are a few questions you can ask:
  1. Did you learn something new?

  2. Did you meet someone new?

  3. What situation was challenging?

  4. What new skill would you like to obtain? How will you do it?

Unfortunately, blind organizational loyalty is dead. So, the only person that can truly get you where you want to go is YOU... if you make YOU and YOUR development a priority.

Life is far too short to be miserable at work. Don’t allow standard protocol and conventional performance reviews to be the only driver of your professional development.


So, grab a journal, grab your calendar and get writing.

Been wanting to level up and plan your next career move?

Schedule your (FREE) career strategy session today.


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