No one cares more than you

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Who cares about your raise or bonus?

You.

No one else cares more than you.

So why would you leave it in someone else’s hands?

Sure, your manager fills out a review or evaluation for you and gives feedback, but do you think that is the only thing they have to do? It’s usually on TOP of everything else they already have to do.

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Put yourself in their shoes. You have 5, 10, maybe even 20+ of these reviews to fill out. You can’t say exactly the same thing on each one, but are you really going to take hours to walk through the year in your mind when it’s already 11:30 pm and you’re tired and have to be up at 6 am tomorrow?

It’s time for you to do your manager’s job. Well, maybe not their whole job, but the review part of their job. They’re going to love you for it.

And you’re going to get a better outcome than leaving it to chance.

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Feedback

Remember when you found out how things work at your company? Does your company do some form of “peer reviews”? Many companies have a way for employees to give feedback about their peers. However, it’s not always required so managers often have a tough time gathering material for these.

A friend of mine got passed up for a promotion because his “peer review” was not outstanding.

It was from someone not on his team who he barely worked with – not exactly the person you want to give feedback.

That is where getting your own testimonials comes into play. You can choose who you ask, and you don’t even have to use all of the testimonials you get! You can pick the best ones to send to your manager.

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Now you’re in the driver’s seat.

Goals

Did you set any goals? Or did you go for average and just accept what was passed down?

The average tendency is to not think about it. So company leadership spends the first 3 months of the year coming up with “goals” for everyone that you may not even find out about until the year is half over. Even then, they usually aren’t anything that you can personally take action on.

You need to set goals that you have control over and that add value to the company.

You know your job better than anyone else and you know how you can make the biggest positive impact on your organization.

No one else can really set an actionable goal for you because they don’t know everything about you or about your job.

Most companies have quarterly goals, so set a few goals of your own for each quarter. This gives you something to remind your manager how awesome you are throughout the year.

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Pick multiple goals. That way if something beyond your control prevents one from being achieved, you still have 2-3 others you can check off as complete.

Don’t stress out too much if you’re not sure you can finish all of the goals. Better to try and fail then never try at all applies here. You’re stepping up to make a custom plan and be accountable for that plan. Missing a goal every once in awhile shows that you’re not just sandbagging and that you’re not a robot.

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What are you already working on? Make a goal around it. It just has to be a little above average to stand out.

What do you want to work on? Make a goal around it. The fact that it is “one of your goals” can open up doors for you that might otherwise stay closed.

What is everyone else avoiding that needs to be done? Make a goal around it. (as long as it adds value to the company) Often those things are visible in a good way and they set you apart as someone who can run up the hill and accomplish hard things.

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Here is a formula you can use:

Complete (item) by (date) for (benefit / value to company)

If you’re doing quarterly goals, the date is just the end of the quarter so you can leave it out. That saves you time by not having to predict the future to an exact date.

You can still use dates for some of your goals if you want, just don’t spend too much time figuring out an exact date for every single goal.

Delivery

You should send your manager an update at the end of each quarter or a few weeks earlier if your own review corresponds with the end of the quarter. Remember, they need the information before they start preparing your review.

Include a summary of highlight items for the quarter, your goals, when / how the goals were accomplished, and the testimonials you have gathered.

Depending on the format of your company, if they use self-assessment software to gather information, be sure to answer all of the questions thoroughly.

You’ve now given your manager a treasure trove of good information they can use for your review.

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You’re welcome.

When you read your review, don’t be surprised if you find some direct cut and paste from the information you provided.

Imagine your manager on the 10th review, and, what’s this? They actually filled stuff out? And they have goals? And feedback from other people? Pinch me, I must be dreaming!

You’ve just freed up your manager’s brain to think about more important things.

Like how much of a raise or how big of a bonus to give you.

The Ask

Since your manager now has all sorts of free time and you have their full attention, this is a great time to provide some suggestions.

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A suggested range for your raise or bonus.

Base it on the typical average at your company or in your industry plus the extra value you created through accomplishing your goals. Remember, above average raises and bonuses need to be justified by above average results.

You may not get 100% of what you ask for on your first attempt, especially if you are a little late in the game providing the information to your manager. Budgets may have already been set. Checks may already be in the mail.

No problem. Use this opportunity to find out the timing around your review and bonus cycle and when your manager needs this information to influence the outcome.

This isn’t an overnight get-rich-quick scheme. You are setting up a repeatable system that you can use every single year to get above average results.

Maybe you get $500 more than you would have not trying anything. Maybe you get $5000.

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That’s worth a lot when you multiply it out over your entire career.

Are you in? What are you going to do to better prepare for your next review?

Sincerely,

Craig Golightly