Sure, performance reviews are a time to get feedback on your work throughout the year.
But sometimes we forget that it’s also a time to share your own goals (and even suggestions!) for the future with your boss. After all, you’re part of a team, and talking about what’s working, what’s not, and what would make you a better professional can only help your boss be a stronger leader. Plus, it’s a great chance to show that you’re committed to your success—and to the company’s.
To learn more about what employers want to hear more of, we asked nine entrepreneurs from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) what they wish their employees would tell them at their next performance review.
1. What Makes You Happy
In any review, of course we’ll talk about performance. We’ll review the year, talk about company progress, the employee’s progress, and my own opportunities to improve. It’s standard fare. But what I want employees to talk to me about is what makes them happy (or unhappy) in their job and life and how the company or I can help maximize that happiness. If they ask that, then they know I care.
John Tabis, The Bouqs Company
2. How You Want to Grow
Entrepreneurs value employees who are constantly striving to make themselves better—having a more skilled team leads to a better company. I love when my employees say, ‘I want to learn more about this,’ or ‘I really think I could help the company by moving into this area.’ It’s up to each employee to figure out how he or she can be best utilized in a growing company.
3. What You’d Really Like to Work On
I am always looking for my employees to tell me things they would like to pursue within the company. By suggesting a project they would like to manage, it shows me their continued interest in the company. I feel confident that if it’s a project they are suggesting, then they will excel at it.
4. How You Envision the Future
A review is a perfect one-on-one opportunity to really talk about your goals, your future, and also the future and state of the company itself. During review season, when I’m taking a big picture perspective and examining the components of a company as parts and as a whole, every employee adds value and can contribute a different perspective to the conversation.
—Fabian Kaempfer, Chocomize
5. How You Want to Contribute to the Company’s Success
All CEOs want to hear that their employees have a new level of dedication to the company and feel a personal growth in day-to-day morale. But more than anything, I’m looking for employees who ask me how they can contribute to our vision because they see company success as ours. Show your boss that you see business growth as a joint endeavor.
6. What You Need to Do Your Best Work
Supporting employees and providing an atmosphere and structure in which they can strive is one of the most important and challenging parts of building a business. So, regardless of how good or experienced managers are, getting your honest suggestions about how to help is invaluable.
7. Which New Technologies and Practices Would Work Better
Worker productivity has been growing by about 2% annually since WWII. But if staffers aren’t equipped with competitive tech, your team will fall behind the competition. I love it when team members keep me informed of new performance-enhancing options. And performance reviews are the perfect way to contextualize a conversation about the benefits of adopting new tools and methods.
8. What You Want Your Boss to Stop Doing
Most companies, including ours, innovate and improve through addition. Employees are regularly bringing up ideas of what we could add to our products or operations that would make the company better. I wish employees would also tell me what we should stop doing (innovation through subtraction). What can we remove that would make us a better company?
9. What Isn't Working—and How to Make it Better
My employees are in the trenches and live the business operations day in and day out. I want to hear from them what isn’t working. I want to give them permission to own the company’s success and their happiness at work. At the same time, I want them to tell me how it can be fixed. Always come with a problem and a solution.
—Kristi Zuhlke Kimball, New Consumer Solutions LLC