Five tips to boss your review

19 Feb 16:00 by Frederik Borestrom


The new year wake up call is here and many marketing professionals returning to work are asking a key question: is this where I want to be?

Some see the new year as time to make a new start; studies suggest 69% of UK employees could switch roles in 2019. But for others, it’s an opportunity to assess progress, dust off their career roadmap, and get it back on track; especially those keen to ensure continued success in an unsettled economic climate. And the best way tomorrow’s industry leaders can secure the next promotion or pay rise is by bossing their annual performance review. 

Following the IAA’s Boss Your Review event at the end of last quarter, here are five ways to prepare for your review:

  1. Reflection

Reviews shouldn’t come with any nasty surprises. Effective career development begins with ongoing employer feedback and honest self-assessment; employees should know if they’ve missed targets ahead of their review and be prepared ­– not with excuses – but with a plan of action to improve.

Budding advertisers, creatives, and marketers must look objectively at their achievements. To an extent, this involves answering standard performance evaluation queries: which key performance indicators (KPIs) have you met? Where could you improve? What lessons you have you learned over the last year? But it’s also important to analyse personal fulfilment, including happiness at work and changes they might need to make.

By frankly reflecting on current abilities and situation, individuals can establish whether they are ready to move up or on. Plus, they will be equipped to talk in detail about how their own productivity and position can be enhanced.   

  1. Research

Progression isn’t solely represented by promotions, so creating realistic professional goals means defining what is actually possible. Individuals hoping to progress internally must determine which upwards or sideways paths are available to them, as well as the action needed to overcome any potential obstacles. For example, specific certifications or skill sets might be required to fill senior roles, making it vital to allow for study time.

Alternatively, executives may be more driven by a change in role or team, rather than a step up. Being able to present a well thought-out plan of action during the review itself will demonstrate commitment and ambition, and provide an opportunity to discuss and refine steps to make it happen, as well as receive buy-in from seniors to support their goals.

  1. Reposition

However simple objectives may appear on the surface, they can be hard to hit if too broad or large. For instance, an individual might aim to transition from marketing executive to manager in three years, but have no idea how to navigate the journey. This is why it’s vital to ensure goals align with the SMART model (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timebound). Doing so will not only break large career strategies into manageable bite-sized pieces, but also increase confidence. Knowing precisely where you are going increases motivation and conviction; two attributes that will significantly bolster review efficacy.  

  1. Reconnaissance

When plotting out professional growth, it can be all too easy to adopt an inward focus that restricts both ideas and opportunities. To guard against limited review discussions, it’s crucial to learn from others by networking, attending seminars, actively investigating how industry leaders have attainted their position, and be receptive to a plan B. This extra insight can form an invaluable foundation for wider career avenues, opening doors to new and unexpected directions.

  1. Refinement

Last but not least, future leaders should never stop striving to improve. After all, a review is the perfect moment to not only present what has worked — letting achievements shine, as recently covered by industry expert Melissa Bramwell — but also pinpoint chances to improve. As a result, the final discussion must be a balancing act: highlighting successes and providing evidence for promotion or salary increases, but also proving capacity to listen to and accept constructive criticism as a positive basis for personal development.

No matter which stage of our careers we reached at the close of 2018, each one of us is a continual work in progress. So for those hoping to rise through the ranks in the advertising and marketing ecosystem in 2019, it’s essential to start by pinpointing their exact position, ability level, and best next steps, and putting the pieces in place to boss that review.

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Author: Frederik Borestrom, President, IAA UK Chapter

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