How to prepare for your annual review during COVID-19

Article Seldon-RosserHow-to-prepare-for-your-annual-review-during-COVID-19

COVID-19 has left scars on the global economy. How and when business will make a recovery remains uncertain.  The side effects of COVID-19 are filtering down to every level of business, from partners through to graduates. So, it’s inevitable your annual review will be different this year. Here are five tips to help you prepare and achieve the best outcome from this year’s annual review.

1. Understand your firm’s position in the market

Ahead of your review, you should take time to understand what is happening in your firm’s marketplace. Are you in a ‘boom’ or ‘bust’ market? Is business doing well or has the new business pipeline fallen off a cliff?

Understanding where your firm sits in the context of the market will help you frame your discussion about your role, experience and skills. It’s helpful to put yourself in the shoes of your employer and think how you can maximise their return on investment in your position.

2.     Show compassion and adaptability

It’s likely that management are doing all they can to protect the business. There will be more tightening of budgets and cost cutting initiatives (we have already seen many firms ask people to drop salary or time by 20 percent). Acknowledging and understanding these cuts are happening to avoid job losses is important.

If you can offer flexibility, then present your case to the business and show them you want to help. If you wanted to go part-time previously, now is your chance. Demonstrate you’re adaptable and care enough to make things easier for the team and business.

Everyone’s circumstances are different so working part-time may not be possible for you…but it’s worth considering.

3.     Sell your experience

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does my employer know the full extent of my skills? Now is the time to implement your experiences in other sectors, practices, functions from other firms or roles which can be put to good use.
  • Have I completed a new course? Bring it up, you may be able to take on more responsibilities or work on new projects. Imagine yourself into future roles and don’t assume the current structure will stay the same.
  • What can I do to help? CMOs want someone who is a chameleon. If you have capacity to take on more work, seize the opportunity to step up.

4.     Be realistic about your salary

CMOs and senior team managers tell us most firms are unlikely to offer the normal level of salary increase this year. In fact, it’s likely bonuses will be small or CPI increases will be applied. In light of this, be open to a mutually beneficial solution, even when it’s not what you expected at the start of the year.

You may be offered recognition in the form of a higher job title without an increase in salary. View this is a good deal because it signals a willingness to further progress your career. You can ask for a pay review in line with your job title when the COVID-19 salary freeze has lifted.

5.  Prepare questions to ask at your review

Remember, your review is a two-way conversation between you and your employer. It’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions so you’re ready to contribute at the meeting.

Our suggested questions include:

  • Am I doing what you need me to do?
  • Is there anything else I should be doing?
  • What skills will I need to have / develop in the next 6/12 months to be considered an essential asset to the team?
  • Can I do cost efficient training to help the business?
  • What is the business doing to future proof the BD&M function?
  • What can I do to show my commitment?

Demonstrate you are a pro-active team player and make it easy for your employer to see the value you add. Remember, salary increases are always nice but right now keeping your job is priceless.

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