Career and Jobs

While The Job Market Is Hot, Request A Year-End Performance Review To Set The Stage For A Raise, Promotion And Bigger Bonus

It used to be a tradition that managers called workers into their office for an annual review. A conversation about whether or not you exceeded expectations would ensue. The boss would offer feedback, constructive criticism and, if warranted, suggestions on how to improve. This is also the time when raises, promotions and bonuses come up in discussion. 

End-of-year reviews and evaluations are not as prevalent as they used to be. If your company does not have a yearly performance review, I’d strongly suggest that you ask for one, as the timing is on your side. We are heading into the last stretch of 2021. In a couple of months, the year will be over. Now is the perfect time to request and prepare for a year-end performance review with the boss.

There is an ongoing war for talent. Government data shows that over 10 million jobs are still open. It’s incredibly hard to find and hire workers. People are concerned over the virus, worried about childcare and leaving their jobs along with millions of others in the “Great Resignation.” 

Management is fully aware of how hard it is to recruit and retain people. There is a lot of attrition, as staff members are quick to quit if they feel that they’re not treated nor paid well. This puts managers in a disadvantageous position. Due to these trends, employees have the upper hand in negotiations. If there is no yearly performance conversation, the boss risks having groups of people depart to other places that will appreciate them. 

Although you will most likely have the leverage, don’t abuse the power or take a raise or promotion for granted. March into the meeting prepared. Since we have time between now and the middle or late December when these meetings are held, you can gather a lot of information to make your case for a raise, promotion, bonus, stock options, four-day workweek, extra vacation time or whatever is important to you.

Start doing some investigative work to collect market intelligence. Get in touch with recruiters that specialize in your sector, speak with peers at competing firms, scour job boards to see how active your space is and what the compensation levels are. Reach out to people in your network, such as former colleagues who could offer other data points about what’s happening in your field. Search online to ensure you have a strong grasp of any new trends and developments in your area that could either be good or bad for your negotiations.  

Although you may be holding the best cards, you don’t want to come across as arrogant and entitled. It’s a big turnoff, even if they desperately need you. Avoid saying anything inflammatory that comes across as a threat. People don’t respond well to being backed into a corner. It’s easy to cast aspersions on your co-workers to make yourself look better. Avoid doing this, as it makes you look petty.  

Since you are starting in mid-October, there is sufficient time to prepare. Start thinking of all the projects you worked on, quotas smashed, tasks completed and any and all wins. Ask your co-workers and employees in other divisions you collaborated with to provide a written recommendation. 

If there is not a set time for a review, reach out to your boss a little before Thanksgiving Day. We’re all feeling good at the start of the holiday season, and you provided enough time so that your boss can’t later brush you off. You’ll have the first few weeks of December to nudge your supervisor about the upcoming conversation.

Take a positive, enthusiastic approach in the meeting. Clearly and concisely, without too much bravado, share all your great accomplishments over the last difficult year. Remind them of how you have met and exceeded expectations. Share how your achievements, including how you helped your boss succeed, and your sizable contributions to the company.

Your pitch is based upon tangible results. You are not asking for any favors. Politely, but firmly, present your case in a calm and deliberate manner that sets forth all of the reasons why the company should grant your wish list. Try to sound confident, upbeat and enthusiastic. The mission is to remind your boss how awesome and indispensable you are.  

Convince your manager  that you are a fast-track rockstar. Given the current job market, and if you are indeed a top performer, the boss will have little other choice than to acquiesce to your requests. If they don’t, they know that there is a strong likelihood that you’ll leave. 

Your manager will then have to spend an inordinate amount of time, energy and resources to find a replacement. The holiday season is one of the slowest-moving recruiting times. It could be several months or more until a candidate is identified. As it’s a hot job market, this person may receive a counteroffer and decide to stay where they are at. Then, all the remaining employees must pitch in and help with the extra workload. Pretty soon, they’ll get frustrated and start looking for a new job too. It’s easier for the manager to give you what you want, so they don’t have to deal with all these headaches.  

Be mentally prepared. Not every single sector is hot. There are some areas that aren’t doing so well. Also, certain skills and job experiences are more in demand than others. In these instances, you might not have the same leverage as a person who has the right background and talents at the right time. 

If you find yourself in a scenario in which the manager is not budging for legitimate reasons, you can still come away with something. Inquire into receiving non-monetary benefits, such as a staggered flexible work schedule, going fully remote, adding an extra week or two of vacation time and better mental and physical health plans. You should also come to an agreement that if and when the situation improves, there will be a fresh new conversation over how to make good on your wishlist.

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