Performance reviews hang heavy on any employee, especially for those looking to move up within the company. Before you get nervous about your next review, are they really that important to get your next big promotion?

In short, no. Performance reviews aren’t always helpful.

In fact, a Gallup study shows that only 14% of employees find their reviews helpful. ( Let that sink in.

Despite all the money companies spend on reviewing their staff, the study concludes that they neither inspire employees to improve their performance nor are they used to determine pay raises or promotions. The fact is most performance reviews are poorly designed and trying to do too much.

What are your alternatives?

  1. Have regular conversations with your manager about your performance.
  • If your company relies on annual performance reviews, take it upon yourself to get feedback more frequently. One way to do this is by talking to your manager every other month instead of saving that big conversation for the end of the year.
  • To make the most out of it, think about a few topics you’d like to touch upon. For example, mention you’ve been working on your leadership skills and would like some feedback. What does the company need from you in terms of leadership skills? What is the team lacking now that you can provide?
  1. Get a mentor.
  • An outside perspective will bring valuable insights into your progress, and getting a mentor is the best way to gain those insights. If there is no conflict of interest, it can even be someone from outside your company.
  • A mentor will be the best ally in your progress. They will encourage you, guide you, sometimes challenge you or criticize you, but that criticism is necessary for you to see where there’s room for improvement.
  • Make a list of the people around you. Who do you admire? Whose career would you love to have? All you have to do is reach out and ask for help. Most people are happy to help others and talk about what they know.
  1. Set up a system to track your own performance.
  • Don’t wait for management to share your monthly numbers or to be called when something goes wrong to make a change. This passive approach will keep you stuck and working below your full potential. Instead, figure out how to keep an eye on your KPIs and review yourself each day. Note what went well, what went wrong, and what you’re going to do the next day to improve.
  • While performance reviews are not always helpful, there’s plenty you can do to improve and put yourself in the spotlight for that next big promotion. what has worked for you before?