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Performance Reviews for Individual Contributors in Procurement: Grow, Hold, or Exit

Performance Reviews for Individual Contributors in Procurement: Grow, Hold, or Exit

Just joining us? Last week we looked at performance reviews from a procurement manager’s perspective. This week we are looking at the same topic from the perspective of the person being reviewed.

You will likely have a performance review coming early in the New Year. Some people see performance reviews as “facing the music” while others see them as an opportunity to “toot their horn”. For the sake of your own career, I recommend thinking in terms of the latter.        

Review time is an opportunity to display your accomplishments, demonstrate your capabilities, and discuss potential opportunities with your manager.   At a higher level, this is also a good time for introspection to honestly access your future with the organization.  


Normally, your manager will delegate the gathering of performance review metrics and writing narratives to you. Use this as an opportunity to create an overall picture of high performance.

Compile your original goals and objectives assigned at the beginning of the year. Plot your results next to these objectives and be honest with what you see. If the original goals and objectives were crafted correctly, your true performance will be immediately evident. No matter how great your performance, there will likely be some things you could have done better. Your manager will know these as well – be prepared to discuss them.

If you are asked to solicit feedback from your stakeholders, don’t just pick your supporters. Identify challenging stakeholders and ask for their feedback as well. Engaging these colleagues head on will show maturity and set the baseline for improvement. It may also improve their respect for your capabilities or for the function as a whole.

The Performance Review Meeting

Be confident. If you have put in the requisite effort, you’ve documented your accomplishments and contributions to the department’s goals and given serious thought to improvement and expansion opportunities for the coming year. Be proud when you present them to your manager.

Let your manager take the lead on establishing the level of formality, but be respectful above all else. Your manager has likely been through several evaluations, not to mention the fact that they are facing their own performance review shortly.

Your manager will likely walk through your original goals and objectives and the corresponding results. For the items where you’ve met or exceeded expectations, don’t miss the opportunity to remind your manager of the magnitude or the difficulty of the objective.  

Accepting criticism is naturally difficult. Graciously acknowledge shortcomings as opportunities for improvement, but redirect the conversation back towards your accomplishments as soon as you can without seeming defensive.

Appraisal in Reverse

Once your appraisal is complete, it is also a good time to access your future with the company. This future has three potential outcomes: 1) grow 2) hold or 3) exit.  

Grow: If you have the ambition to advance to another level at the company, ask your manager for a road map on how to get there. Understand that your manager cannot predict when positions become available, but they should be able to give you the traits of a high potential employee who will be considered good candidates for advancement.  

Hold: Not everyone is looking to advance in an organization. Depending on the stage of your career, family situation, or temperament, you may come to understand that you are best suited to your current role. Your reward comes internally from doing great work.       

Exit: This may also be a time to consider an exit from the company. If your performance review did not go well, you’ll have to quickly select your path or the decision may be made for you. Leaving the company may also be a consideration for ambitious folks who feel trapped or underappreciated. This is always a tough call, but don’t make a hasty or reactionary decision. If you are still developing transferrable new skills, consider the hold strategy for another year.    

If you are dealing with a highly political environment or you don’t have a good rapport with your manager despite your high performance, it may be time to consider another role within the company or outside options.

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