Firstly, let’s look at why performance is so important:
• It is the ‘entry ticket’ for career progression
• It provides evidence at pay reviews and job interviews
• It enhances your reputation and image
• Consistent performance demonstrates you are ready for greater responsibility
Women tend to choose modest words to describe themselves professionally such as ‘hard-working’ and ‘reliable’ yet when asked to back this opinion up they often struggle to provide evidence.
The solution is for women to take a more proactive role in setting their own measurable performance targets and stretch performance targets.
Most companies have formal appraisal processes where you can work in collaboration with your line-manager in setting targets; if there is not a formal process in place you should still initiate the discussion with your manager. By doing this you are giving your manager the message that performance is important to you, and by taking an active role you also reduce the effort required by them to complete the process.
In the worst case scenario, if your manager is not willing to get involved, you should still set your own targets and draft a performance improvement plan detailing what you will achieve and how it will be measured. Aim to understand your manager’s key performance indicators and link your performance targets to those.
Consider this, at some point in your future career you will be involved in a pay review or promotion panel or job interview. In all cases you are likely to be asked questions relating to your performance and you will make a much stronger case if you are able to evidence your performance by confirming that you have consistently achieved all performance targets for the last three years – and this year you also achieved your stretch targets – as opposed to an answer backed up by nothing more than opinion. Do not put yourself in that position.
When it comes to professional performance:
• Make sure you have targets
• Align your targets to your managers KPIs
• Ensure the targets are measurable
• Ask for stretch targets too
• Pick up your trumpet and blow!
Performance is the ‘entry-ticket’; the next blog will be on the ‘tie-breaker’ which is your professional image and reputation.