How to ace your performance review | Platinum People Group

Heading into a performance review unprepared is a bad idea. This is your chance to be your own advocate, and have your boss listen to you. When entered into strategically, these discussions can result in great outcomes like pay rises, flexible work arrangements, more challenges and more satisfying work! You’d be silly not to put in the 20-30 minutes of prep it takes to go in calm, confident and sure of what you want to achieve.

Our experience shows that ‘piss poor preparation produces piss poor performance’ (apologies for framing it so crassly). With that in mind, here’s what to do to ensure you ace your next performance review.

Be realistic

Chances are, you’ve got a gut feel about how you’ve performed this last period. Most managers separate performance into either ‘above standard’ or ‘below the line’. There’s not really room for ‘almost there’. Think about which category you fall into, and go into your performance review prepared, informed and ready to face the facts. There’s no use pretending your performance was any different to what it was – so be realistic and speak to your manager openly and honestly.

Know your numbers

A good sales person always knows the numbers, and it’s the same with employees. Impressive employees know their results like the back of their hand. If you’ve achieved some great outcomes this last period, have them on hand and be ready to spout your numbers and let your achievements speak for themselves.

This is your time to shine

If you’ve performed well, don’t be afraid to tell your boss just how well you’ve done (yes, whip those numbers out, as mentioned above!). Good performance puts you in a strong position to ask for what you want. This might be a salary increase, more development opportunities, flexible work options or a different scope of work. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want if it’s well deserved. This is your time to shine, and this is the moment you have your boss’ ears – so go for gold.

Be humble

While it is your time to shine, don’t overdo it. Stay humble and grateful. While you may be a star performer, your future career will often depend on the person giving your performance review. Thank them for the opportunities you’ve been given, and let them do some of the talking too to get their take on how you’ve performed. No one responds well to excessive bragging, so keep it cool and concise, and approach your discussion with humble gratitude.

Know what you can improve on

You’ll more than likely be asked about your plan for future development in your performance review. How can you get better at what you do? What training or exposure do you need? What skills do you need to build? What opportunities can your boss give you to grow? Go into your performance review with knowledge of what you can improve upon, and a solid plan of how to maximise yourself for the next period to achieve even greater results.

Let your manager lead

While it’s on you to be prepared for this performance review, let your manager lead the discussion. You’re not there to override the meeting, but to provide an informed overview of how things have been tracking from your perspective. Know what you want to achieve from the meeting, and humbly let your manager lead the performance review.

What to do if you haven’t performed well

Okay, so the above is a great plan for excellent performers when going into a performance review. But what if it hasn’t been a great year for you? What if you know your results have been less than spectacular?

Firstly, don’t deny the truth. Go into your performance review willing to admit your downfalls and provide an explanation. It may have been that you had things going on outside of work that affected your performance, or perhaps you haven’t received the training, support or development opportunities you need to be a star performer. Explain yourself, and outline the steps you’d like to take to boost your performance. Perhaps you can commit to a certain number of hours each week spent on personal development, or put forward some ideas for training courses you’d like to take. Show your willingness to improve, and get your manager on your side.


You’re now ready to ace your performance review. Go for it! If you’d like more advice about how to achieve your ideal career, get in touch with us for a free career consultation. Or, if you’re a business owner wanting to know how to boost your team’s productivity, we can offer a free business consultation.