Looking Out for Your Annual Job Performance Rating

Looking Out for Your Annual Job Performance Rating

If you do not engage in matters that are important to you, events, circumstances, and the interests of others will control the outcome.

My last post, “High 5s or Licking Wounds”, provided suggestions on how you can position yourself for the annual job performance you want to receive this year. This week’s post focuses on what can you do to protect your position. By the way, I have a performance evaluator’s perspective to share with you toward the end this post.

During the course of this year, developments, circumstances, and events can impact the position your boss and you established when you set your annual performance objectives and performance evaluation criteria. This could include:

  • Delays in obtaining the funding and resources essential to the accomplishment of your objectives.
  • Delays in organizing the project teams to which you were to be assigned.
  • Getting a new boss.
  • Changes in the leadership of your organization.
  • Changes in business conditions such as lower than expected company sales or higher than expected costs.

If you do not take the initiative to stay on top of these developments, circumstances, and events, you could very well get an unpleasant surprise or disappointment during your year-end performance review. I suggest a Personal Performance Monitoring System (PPMS) to minimize the probability of this unpleasant surprise or disappointment.

Monitoring measures and systems tell us that things are not quite right, that something unpleasant may be developing. Abnormal blood pressure readings alert us to possible problems with our cardiovascular system. Smoke detectors tell us that there may be a fire somewhere in our house. The oil pressure gauge tells us that engine problems may be developing. Projects have indicators to inform us if projects are on the path to accomplishing the project objectives on time and within budget. Companies follow leading indicators to determine if sales and profits are tracking to expectations. We even have indicators to track the health of our personal computing devices. A PPMS could include the following components.

  • Personal leading indicators
  • Quarterly performance reviews with your boss and others who will provide input into your performance rating
  • Periodic reviews with a peer, mentor, or coach who can offer an objective opinion of how well you are performing and suggestions on how you can stay on or get on track to achieving your annual performance rating target
  • Reviews with a new boss to ensure that the performance target your former boss and the performance evaluation criteria associated with your performance rating target are still in effect
  • Reviews with your boss to ensure that the leadership change in your organization or changes in business conditions do not change your target performance rating and evaluation criteria

Personal leading indicators can include actual versus assumed timing (what you and your boss assumed when you set your annual performance objectives and rating expectations) for:

  • Approval of funding and assignment of resources.
  • Commitments of individuals, teams, or other departments upon which the accomplishment of your objectives is dependent.
  • Key milestones and accomplishments.

For example, your boss and you assumed that funding required to achieve your exceed expectation performance rating would be approved by March 30. Funding was not approved until July. You work very hard but your heroic efforts cannot overcome the funding delay challenge. Your efforts may be overlooked by your manager or just get lost in the day-to-day shuffle and the focus of your year-end performance review may be limited to results without consideration of the funding delay.

Assume personal responsibility for scheduling quarterly reviews with your boss and be persistent in having the reviews. This is about your performance, your compensation, and possibly your career. The agenda for your reviews should include:

  1. How well you are tracking toward achieving your performance rating target.
  2. Challenges or issues within your control that may inhibit achievement of your performance target.
  3. Actions you have taken or will take to address challenges and issues within your control.
  4. Challenges or issues beyond your control that may inhibit your achievement of your performance target.
  5. Requests of your boss for assistance or support to address challenges and issues beyond your control. Suggest specific actions and make them time-bound.

Items #3 and #5 are essential. We have much more control of situations if we have a plan to address them. Think about how decisions are made when a group of individuals are confronted with a problem, challenge, or issue. The person with the plan has a strong influence on the decision. (People follow the person with the map.)

 Now for my perspective as a performance evaluator. During my corporate career that spanned 34 years, I conducted numerous performance reviews with individuals who reported to me. I had the benefit of having several excellent performers in my organizations. However, I knew that I had to differentiate or calibrate performance among individuals. I had to operate within a compensation budget that included merit increases. The individuals with the greatest clarity in terms of performance objectives and the criteria for evaluating their performance were positioned to get the highest ratings. There was little wiggle room for calibrating their performance versus other individuals who also were excellent performers but did not have the same level of performance objectives and evaluation criteria clarity.

How deeply are you engaged in controlling your annual performance rating? 

Have you established an annual performance rating target with your boss? 

How well have you documented your performance rating target? 

Do you see signs developing that could keep you from achieving your performance target?

I invite you to share your comments, experiences, and suggestions. This helps me provide information that may help you address your career opportunities and challenges.

Fields of Success offers complimentary coaching sessions. Visit the Contact page on the Fields of Success website to schedule a session.


Our careers are our most important economic asset.

To get the most value from your most important economic asset, you must manage The Business of You.

Linwood Bailey is a career coach and the author of The Business of Me: Your Job … Your Career … Your Value. The Business of Me provides a career management process and information designed for today’s business professional. Since 2008, Linwood has enabled business professionals to manage their careers. Linwood, the been there coach, provides innovative career management solutions derived from his 34 years of experience managing functions and people in multiple industries, regions, and corporate cultures.



Founder, Fields of Success, LLC

Enabling professionals to convert career challenges into career success stories.