6 proactive steps to take after a performance evaluation

30 June 2022 Sharyn Waterworth

Untitled Design (23)

Have you recently had a performance evaluation at work? Depending on how it went, you could be feeling excited about what the rest of the year may bring or seriously questioning whether your current job is the right place for you to be. 

Regardless of how your evaluation unfolded, what steps you take next are far more important. 

That’s why I’m here to help you get the most out of your evaluation by putting the feedback you received into action and continuing to progress in your career - whether that’s in the same role or a new one.

Here are my six simple steps I recommend every employee to consider after a performance evaluation:

  1. Reflect and find your blind spots

Now is the time to reflect on what you learned during your performance evaluation. You may have been confronted with some tough truths, heard what you’d hoped, or been completely baffled by the feedback you received. 

Use this time to conduct an internal audit. Often there is a gap between how we view ourselves, and how other people perceive us. 

Whether you received praise you didn’t think you’d earned or criticism you believe is unwarranted, make sure to check your blind spots. 

Blind spots happen to everyone, but making sure you’re aware of what yours are will help you in the future. To help with this, ask a trusted friend or coworker for their take on the situation. 

They may agree with your perspective or maybe they’ve noticed a thing or two that you were previously unaware of. Once you have an outsider’s perspective, you can begin to more accurately process your evaluation. 

  1. Ask your manager clarifying questions 

Once you’ve had time to think your performance evaluation through, you’ll likely have follow-up questions. Write them all down and arrange a time to speak with your manager. 

Keep it professional and ensure any lingering hurt feelings don’t seep out in your tone or choice of phrasing. 

If there is anything you still disagree with that was discussed in your evaluation, you can bring it up, but make sure you back up what you’re saying with specific examples. This way, you have evidence and it’s not just your opinion against theirs. 

  1. Adopt a growth mindset 

If you don’t believe you’re up to the challenge of growing in your role and believe you’re stuck with the skillset, smarts, and work ethic you’ve got now, you probably have a fixed mindset

A fixed mindset can be detrimental to your career growth. It means that when you’re confronted with feedback, a roadblock, or looming “failure” you take it personally and view it as a giant stop sign. 

This can be tackled by admitting you don’t know everything, taking feedback on board, and being open to feeling uncomfortable. Without a willingness to grow, your career development (and opportunities) may come grinding to a halt. 

  1. Identify your goals & needs

Adopting a growth mindset doesn’t happen overnight, but once you’re familiar with the idea, you can begin thinking about what your work goals are (and what you’d need to get there). 

During your performance evaluation, you and your manager likely threw around a couple of goals you would like to achieve by your next evaluation. Get clear about what these goals are. 

To do this, you need to be honest with yourself, taking those blindspots into account and acknowledging what your weaknesses may be. Once you have a clear understanding of what you’d like to achieve in the next 3, 6, or 12 months, you can create your goal list. 

Don’t overload yourself with too many. Pick a couple that feel timely and relevant to your current situation. Run them by your manager to ensure you’re on the same page. We’d also recommend checking in regularly to make sure you’re on track and to solve any roadblocks. 

  1. Make a performance plan 

A goal without a plan of action is just a nice idea -  and that’s where creating a performance plan comes into play. Taking your goals, break them down into actionable steps. 

Unfortunately, you aren’t going to wake up in six months' time and magically achieve everything you’d dreamed. By creating a plan, you’re building a practical and realistic framework for your goals. Think of it like a self-led course you can tick off, one step at a time. 

  1. Evaluate your career 

Performance evaluations are the perfect time to step back and view the bigger picture. They can force us to pause and consider whether we’re truly fulfilled in our work-life, or if we’ve lost sight of what our career goals used to be. 

Questions to consider might be: 

  • Is my current role aligned with my career goals?

  • Is my performance waning because I don’t feel challenged? 

  • Am I unenthusiastic about my job because I know it isn’t right for me? 

  • Is my job playing to my strengths? 

Reflection, mindset shifts, and action plans are important, but if you’re not fulfilled by your current role, they won’t matter for long. 

Take stock of your career and where you’d like to be before you double down on a  job that isn’t serving your progression in the long run. 

Do you feel like now is the time for a career change? Visit our jobs board to find your next move.