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How Should I Prepare for My Virtual Performance Review?

Four ACS Career Consultants advise on how to how to prepare for these reviews in a remote environment
Industry Matters Newsletter

Kristin Nuzzio, Group Leader, Formulation Sciences, PPG
Credit: Kristin Nuzzio

While communication is typically aided by verbal and visual cues, virtual video and masked in-person meetings have created unique challenges. In the absence of these cues, documentation becomes increasingly important. Take time to outline your accomplishments and areas for improvement prior to your performance meeting. Focus on specific examples and share them with your manager to make the most of the allotted time. You or your manager may need more time to clarify something, but don’t rush it. Document any action items and schedule follow-up sessions to maintain consistent communication with your manager and receive continuous feedback on your performance. 

Richard Uriarte, ACS Career Consultant
Richard Uriarte, ACS Career Consultant

If you’ve been successful in past reviews, the simple answer is “in a very similar way.” If your review is a surprise, then something has gone wrong in the review process over the past year.

In preparation for this review, or any review, you need to look at past documentation or reviews and discussions that you’ve had with your manager over the past year. Things to note are:

  • What were my top goals for this review period?
  • Did I accomplish them; how did I accomplish them and what was their impact?
  • Did I have any additional accomplishments that would add to my value to the company?

Most reviews should also have discussion around what’s next and how I can do things better. No matter how good your review is, there are always ways to grow in performance, get better and do things more effectively. You should have ideas to discuss in addition to listening to your managers thoughts. This should roll into next year’s goals.

As for the virtual part of this review – you should make sure that you follow the proper virtual etiquette. Most people are experienced in Zoom or similar platforms. Things like being on time, having an appropriate background that is not distracting or inappropriate, having a good quality internet and computer speaker, and finally not standing up if you are taking the meeting in your pajamas.

Jacqueline Thomas, Group Scientist, Procter & Gamble
Jacqueline Thomas, Group Scientist, Procter & Gamble

Here are some steps to help prepare for a Virtual Performance Review:

  • Schedule a “Performance Review” meeting with advance notice 

 o   I have regularly scheduled meetings with my management, but I always try to schedule a separate meeting at a different day/time  with at least 2 weeks advance notice for a review

o   In the meeting invite, request specific feedback performance – if you want something you have to clearly ask for it

  • Do a Self-Assessment Prior to the Review

o   If you had a previous performance review, you should have examples ready of how you address the previous feedback. If this is your first performance review, consider how the onboarding process has been

o   Make sure to highlight projects/ideas/results that you are really proud of

  • Be prepared to be in the moment

o   Working virtually, it is so easy to get distracted, turning on your camera forces you to be in the moment

o   Make sure to wear something you feel confident in and if you have distractions at home like I do (4yr old son) make sure to prepare ahead of time

Marciano Bagnoli, Quality Manager, Georgia-Pacific LLC
Marciano Bagnoli, Quality Manager, Georgia-Pacific LLC

Preparing for a performance review is an important step to ensure you get the most out of this conversation with your boss. Perhaps have some samples of your projects and achievements ready to show in the event they become relevant in the conversation. For a virtual review, log in early. If you plan to type notes during the review, let your boss know so they don’t misinterpret your typing as a distraction. Test your equipment and location, to minimize the likelihood of distractions and technical problems. If you normally teleconference with your camera off, now would be a good time to dress professionally and be present on-screen to make the personal connection.

This article has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.

ACS Career Consultants are experts and leaders working in the field of chemistry who have volunteered to support other ACS members’ career development through one-on-one career counselling. They can stimulate your thinking, ask important career planning questions to help clarify goals, provide encouragement, teach strategies for making meaningful career decisions, and aid you in your job search. Connect with an ACS Career Consultant today!

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