Roughly 69% of companies today conduct annual or bi-annual performance reviews to assess how well an employee is performing at work, according to talent management software firm ClearCompany.
While many of these one-on-one meetings are used to evaluate the things an employee has done over the past year, Michelle Armer, CareerBuilder's chief people officer, tells CNBC Make It it's imperative for employees to also use this time to discuss their goals and plans for the future.
Below, Armer breaks down three ways you can best prepare for your performance review so you're set up for long-term success at work.
One of the first things Armer says you should do when preparing for your performance review is to reflect on the tasks and projects you've accomplished over the past year or few months. "Think about everything you've worked on or contributed to over that time period," she says. "Connect your goals and what you've accomplished to the greater goals of the company, and be prepared to share that with your leader."
Bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch agrees. In fact, to better prepare for your performance review, Welch suggests starting a work journal at the top of the year so that you can accurately reflect every achievement you've reached and discuss them with your boss.
"Use it to record what you started, achieved, learned or even screwed up," Welch recommends, "and write in it every single day."
Welch adds: "At most of these meetings, you and your boss tend to focus on what happened in the previous two to three months, which can give short shrift to your accomplishments overall." But by journaling daily and reviewing your entries, she says you can turn your performance review into a more in-depth conversation where you're discussing the full scope of your accomplishments.
If you feel like you've been at your job long enough to have proven yourself as a top-tier employee, then Armer says it is completely appropriate to inquire about ways to get to the next level in your performance review.
"It's really helpful when an employee can say, 'You know, my goal is to achieve the role of X in three years. Do you consider this to be a realistic goal for me?'" she says.
Additionally, Armer says it can be beneficial to ask questions like, "What are some department or business group opportunities coming up in the next year, and how can I contribute at a deeper level?"
Asking these questions, she says, will initiate a conversation about your desire for a promotion and raise in the near future.
After outlining where you want to be within the company, get an idea of when you should schedule a follow-up conversation about the topic.
"Ask your leader, 'You know, I would like to follow up on this in the next month or quarter. How does that sound?'" Armer says. "Get in alignment on those expectations, because I think for both parties, it's really helpful to take some time to reflect and then revisit."
If your boss gave feedback in your initial performance review on some things you can improve, Amer says you should come to the follow-up meeting with a clear update on how you've fixed those weaknesses. "It's also appropriate," she adds, "to check in after a period of time and say, 'You know, I put a lot of thought into my approach to X, Y and Z. How do you think it's going now?'"
Though performance reviews play a key role in evaluating where an employee stands at an organization, Armer says it's important for employees to know that they don't have to wait until performance review time to have these conversations about their work and goals at a company.
"I feel like these conversations should be happening throughout the employee time period," she says. "At any point, I think it's great to give your leader the opportunity to reflect on this information."
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