Employees need to start getting prepared for year-round performance reviews as increasing numbers of companies continue move to this new process from one-time year-end appraisals, according to an article in Kilpinger’s Personal Finance. The article points out that with on-going check-ins, workers can expect feedback more often and more chances to toot their own horn.

According to human resource experts, when performance management is done correctly and throughout the year, employees show high levels of engagement and increased productivity. In the following Q&A from the Kiplinger’s article, Rose Mueller-Hanson, a performance management expert at global company CEB, based in Arlington, Va., offers insights and perspective on the topic: 

  1. Many people wonder what’s happened to their annual job reviews. What’s going on?

Companies in all industries are moving to monthly, or even weekly, check-ins instead of formal once-a-year reviews. About 80% of organizations have either made or are in the process of making such changes, or will do so in the next couple of years. These streamlined conversations take less time and eliminate a lot of formal documentation. 

  1. What can employees do to get the most valuable feedback?

The new process puts more of an onus on employees, who are encouraged to take more initiative to talk to their managers about how things are going. Instead of asking open-ended questions such as “How am I doing?” ask, “What could I have done better on that presentation? The conversation should give you a sense of what success looks like, where you stand and how you can improve.

  1. How can workers get a raise?

A lot of the traditional advice holds true. Most employers still have a pay-for-performance philosophy, and managers may have more discretion over merit increases or rewards. But employees need to make sure they understand what is expected of them, how success is measured and how compensation decisions are made.

Get to know when raises are generally given at your company. Organizations that give raises on regular cycles may make those decisions months in advance, so start laying the groundwork early. Make sure that you’ve gotten clear feedback, and use these conversations to describe the value that you bring. Know what your skill set is worth in your market, and understand what’s going on at your company. It’s a lot easier to ask for a raise when the company is having a good year financially than when it is struggling. 

  1. How else can workers use these reviews to their benefit?

Use the conversations to gain a better sense of how you’re doing on an ongoing basis. With more real-time feedback and coaching, you can constantly be looking for opportunities to exceed expectations or to correct course. There’s also a focus on providing more career guidance. The purpose of managing an employee’s performance this way isn’t just to look back—it’s also to look at what’s next.

Here are some additional tips from on how to make the most of your year-round reviews:

  1. Be “engaged” in the review process; get a clear explanation of goals and objectives.
  2. View goals as a project plan; track progress and update as appropriate.
  3. Document your accomplishments for your performance review.
  4. Share positive feedback that you’ve received from clients and colleagues.
  5. Show an interest in additional training.
  6. Demonstrate a positive attitude during the reviews and in your daily work at the office.
  7. Listen carefully and objectively and make positive use of performance review feedback.