I’ve worked for a number of companies all operating in diverse industries. In this time there have been many differences between each employer and how they have treated me as an employee. One area that seems to change notably from job to job is remuneration and performance reviews for Assistants. In my first full-time job, I had quarterly performance reviews with my manager, half-yearly appraisals and at the end of every year a full review and 360° feedback with my team. In one role I didn’t even have objectives. Now you may think this is a terrible thing and an example of bad management. But, and critically, not having a performance review didn’t make any difference to my role or my remuneration package… So why do we put ourselves through this process every year?
Some directors I’ve worked for have quite often no idea what I do with my day. They know the basics – that I look after their diaries and schedule meetings for them, they also know that I will complete ad-hoc tasks and projects as and when they ask. But overall they don’t know what I’m doing day-to-day. The main reason for this is because everything runs smoothly in the office, the stationery cupboard is always stocked, the printer always has paper, board reports and presentation slides magically appear on their desk ready for them to take to their meeting. In their mind, it just happens, but a good assistant is always busy working behind the scenes.
It is easy to overlook the person in the office that makes everything run smoothly especially if your manager is incredibly busy. But do remember that you are an asset to your company and although you might not be the most senior person on your team they would be lost without you! So you should use your performance review to shout from the rooftops about HOW GREAT YOU ARE!
Here are some tips on how to prepare yourself for a performance review meeting.
Performance Reviews for Assistants
- Before you even get to your yearly appraisal make sure you set up regular 121s with your manager. The 121 should be for the sole purpose of discussing you. It can be easy to let your manager use this time to give you work, but it is essential that you have at least an hour a month to talk about your role. You have control of their diaries so make sure you schedule in time with them and have an agenda with you so you can stick to what you want to discuss.
- Store all of your feedback, good or bad in a file throughout the year. It is easy to forget what you have accomplished. Also, make a note of anything that you feel could have gone better. If you have set up regular 121s with your manager none of this will be news to them, so use your examples to back up your thoughts on the year.
- When you are setting up appraisal meetings for your manager and their direct reports make sure you give yourself the same about of time as everyone else. They may be more senior, but you deserve to have the same amount of time with your manager as they do. Don’t squeeze your appraisal meeting into a quick 10-minute chat.
- One of my managers asked their senior team to provide feedback on me before the appraisal meeting. This was a great way of hearing from my colleagues, but at the same time, it didn’t reflect an accurate picture of what I did every day. The following year I asked other PAs also to provide feedback along with mid-level managers that I dealt with on a more regular basis. This gave a more rounded view.
- Be honest with yourself and your manager. If you are not happy in your job now is the time to discuss any problems you might have. If you have a good manager, they will listen and offer a solution that will improve your role, if not then this might give you the final push to look elsewhere.
The performance review process can be quite daunting so being prepared beforehand will help you get the most out of the meeting. Make sure you stick up for yourself, it is too easy as a member of the support team to feel you don’t deserve a good review, promotion or pay rise but without you, the senior members of the team wouldn’t be able to sustain their level of activity. Remind your manager how great you are and they would be lost without you!
If you also need to set your objectives for the year, why not download our 20 SMART objective examples specifically for Assistants. If you would like more resources for your job performance and appraisal review you can look at more of our blog posts on performance reviews for Assistants.