How to Turn Your Annual Review into a Career Vision Board

Mar 07, 2022
illustrated image of an file folder behind a piece of paper with bold red letters that read YEAR END REVIEW. The paper is held down by two fair skinned hands, the hand on the right is holding a pencil between their fingers.. The perspective is from the perspective of whoever's hands as if they are looking down at the table.

Every year, in corporate America, managers sit down with each team member, and they discuss the team member's performance and their company-related goals for the upcoming year. 

Annual Review, Performance Review, Performance Appraisals, Performance Evaluation... Whatever you call it is a formal assessment where a manager evaluates an employee's performance, strengths and weaknesses, provides feedback, and finally sets goals.  

Annual reviews trigger emotions like stress, anxiety, and uneasiness with employees and managers alike. As managers, it's our responsibility to fix the yearly review model - to change the intimidation behind an annual review, to create an environment that fosters trust, respect, and understanding between manager and employee. One of the ways we can do that is by changing the structure that companies have followed for years to change its annual review process and approach it as a team member's first career vision board. 

 

Pause

Reflection Exercise: Write down the current process for an annual review.

Traditionally, your team members have a document to fill out to discuss the past year and their performance. Then, several weeks later, as the manager, you fill out a similar document responding to their self-evaluation. Lastly, you have your meeting to review the document and move on. 

Ask yourself, what are blind spots you see within your process? What additions can you make to this process to better your team's experience? 

 

Play

We recommend approaching your annual reviews as a career vision board, where you can reflect on the team members' past performance while also building each team member up and providing an opportunity for additional personal and professional growth.

 

Here are a few ways to thoughtfully transition your current standard to match the career vision board style of reviews: 

 

Communicate 

Before the meeting: Take time to discuss how you plan to approach these new annual reviews. You want it to be an open conversation about each team member's goals, needs, experiences, and you want to outline their goals and path forward within the company.  

For the meeting: Then, continue those conversations and ask questions once the meeting starts. While annual reviews should not be the first time you're getting to know your team member - they are another opportunity to get a real insight into your team member's wants and needs. Keep note of those goals you discussed, and keep those at the forefront of your mind throughout the meeting. 

 

Educate 

Before the meeting: Stay up to date on new opportunities within the team and upcoming projects. 

For the meeting: As you discuss team members' goals and learn about their wants and needs, you'll have a better idea of what opportunities they'd find interesting. Come prepared to discuss any current opportunities, upcoming opportunities, and projects they could find interesting. 

Work together to set goals and map out a step-by-step outline of how they can achieve their personal goals and company set goals. 

As these meetings occur and you communicate with your team, ask for feedback: 

  • What can you do better? 
  • How would they like for you to approach these meetings? 
  • What can you do better in the day-to-day?

 

Friendly Reminder: That everything discussed during the performance should NOT be a surprise to your employees. These discussions should be happening weekly, and the performance portion of the meeting should be a review. 

 

Perform

As you work with team members to create their Career Vision Board, be sure that you're revisiting it as time moves on. A Career Vision Board is a living document that should be amended as they learn about roles, opportunities, or their goals change. 

We recommend revisiting it weekly or bi-weekly and keeping the conversation going. Keep your team's personal goals in mind, so when opportunities arise, or there are new projects, you can cater the work to actively interested members. 

As we enter the Annual Review season and move forward with Q2, it's important to understand the importance a formal review has; while what you discuss shouldn't be a surprise, the conversations centered around work should be thorough and revisited frequently. 

As a manager, your team's growth is your growth, so invest in your team. 

If you're struggling with ways to help your team members, we offer training programs centered around management, virtual meetings, and in-person team-building workshops. Our programs bring teams together and empower each team member to create a lasting positive change. Schedule your complimentary call to discuss your team and your needs, and we'll work to point you in the right direction for all our training. Of course, if you're not ready to invest in training - that's OK we have a ton of free resources!

 

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