Many companies offer formal performance reviews near the end of the fiscal year and award raises based on those reviews. If your company doesn't structure the reviews and leaves them up to managers' discretion, it can be nerve-wracking to ask for a review. Your career -- including raises and promotions -- might be on the line, so don't be shy about asking for a review.
Determine the Reason
Not all performance reviews determine how much of a raise you deserve. Sometimes, midyear or quarterly reviews can help ensure you're on track and that you're meeting your boss's expectations. This helps when your annual review comes around, because you've been communicating to your boss all year about your performance and your accomplishments. When you want to ask your boss to evaluate you performance, spell out your expectations clearly. If you haven't received a raise in 18 months, tell him you believe your performance merits an increase, and you'd like to discuss it with him. To make sure your performance is on track with a midyear review, let your boss know about that as well. He might appreciate your initiative and dedication.
Before you go to your boss to request an evaluation, perform your own self-assessment using the company evaluation form if it's available. Be brutally honest, neither underselling your work nor overstating its value. If you're consistently five minutes late each morning, don't mark "promptness" with "exceeds expectations." You can offset this, however, by marking "exceeds expectations" on sections that ask for your dedication rating if you consistently stay late to get the job done. This assessment gives you an idea of where you're strong and weak and whether it's time for an evaluation based on your performance.
Writing a list of specific accomplishments can help you when you approach your boss to ask for a review. If he asks why you think you need an evaluation, have the list handy to give him so he can see details of how your performance has improved or impacted the company. The bigger your impact, the more likely your boss will accommodate you with an evaluation and a raise.
Companies experiencing financial difficulties might not be able to offer raises, which could explain a delay in your review. But raises aren't the only way an employer can reward you for quality work. Tell your boss you understand the company policy on refusing raises for the short term and provide some other ideas for compensation. These can include an extra week of vacation time, a company-provided cellphone or paid training opportunities. If your boss knows you're not looking for more money, he might be more likely to move forward with your performance review.