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Employee Matters Bulletin
How To Prepare For Your Annual Performance Review
Your annual performance review can be an intimidating experience as you demonstrate your value to the company, receive feedback and discuss your needs. Prepare for your next review with these tips.
Decide what you want from your review. Do you want a promotion or raise, cheaper health insurance, or the ability to telecommute? Understand your goals so you can ask for them during your review.
Improve your Performance
Spend the months before your review demonstrating that you deserve the promotion, raise or special benefits request you want. Now’s a great time to:
Learn new skills.
Accept more or new responsibilities.
Start and make progress on projects.
Deliver exceptional results.
Track your Progress
Keep records of your accomplishments with concrete examples of your worth and value to the company. Include specific, objective and verifiable numbers with proof of quantifiable results. For example, state how many clients you brought on board, your specific production figures or accident-free days.
Memorize Your Accomplishments
After you create an inventory of your accomplishments, memorize the list. You should feel confident enough to share these details naturally from memory rather than read them from a list.
Record your Improvements
Consider the specific ways your performance has improved since your last review. Maybe you mastered a new skill or became a stronger leader. Bring up these points as you verify your contribution.
Address Anything Negative
Maybe you’ve been tardy several times, don’t get along with your co-workers or messed up on a project. Discuss this negative performance and details about what the experience taught you and how you’ll improve in the future. This proactive stance demonstrates your willingness to take responsibility for your actions and become a better employee.
Dress for Success
Wear a professional outfit for your review, and pay extra attention to your grooming. These details show that you value yourself, your review and your supervisor.
Look for Improvement Suggestions
Every review will include suggestions for future improvement. Whether you need to work on time management, reevaluate your duties or get more training, take the recommendations to heart so you can improve your performance over the next year.
Respond to a Bad Review
Despite your best preparation, you may hear negative feedback during your review. Decide ahead of time how you’ll respond. Ideally, plan to schedule another meeting in a few days so you have time to calm down and consider the feedback. Then prepare a list of ways you can improve on your performance or state facts that prove your boss’s review is unfair.
Your annual performance helps you become a better employee. Prepare for your review so it’s successful for you personally and for your future contribution to the company.
Five Overtime Dangers And Solutions
Holiday, seasonal or regular overtime allows your company to handle increased sales demands or cover employee absences. While you may enjoy the extra money, long work hours affect workplace safety.
Know five common overtime dangers and their solutions as you remain safe at work.
Working 10 hours or more a day can increase your non-fatal heart attack risk by 60 percent. Long work hours may also increase workplace injuries and cause health problems such as:
High blood pressure
Increased alcohol and tobacco consumption
Mental health problems
Address potential health risks when you take care of your physical health. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and perform regular self-care.
A Cornell University study found that three in 10 employees who work more than 60 hours a week experience severe family conflicts, including divorce. Personal problems at home can affect your concentration, attendance and productivity on the job.
Relieve personal problems when you leave your work at work and focus on your loved ones when you’re at home. Your employer may also offer professional counseling that addresses any ongoing challenges caused by overtime.
Workplace Safety Risks
Numerous studies link overtime with an increase in workplace accidents that could be caused by fatigue, performance impairment, low morale and decreased attention span. These safety risks can occur after a single or several long work days.
Carefully follow safety procedures, and encourage your co-workers to do the same. If you feel fatigued, stressed or distracted, talk to your employer since safety always comes first.
Poor morale affects 31 percent of employees who work more than 10 hours of overtime a week. When you don’t want to be at work, your attention wanes and you may make unsafe or costly mistakes.
Prioritize self-care as you improve your morale. Try to avoid negative conversations about work, too. A healthy work-life balance also helps you stay motivated to appreciate your job and do your best.
High Turnover Rates
Companies with high overtime rates also experience high turnover rates as employees decide that long work long hours are not worth the monetary rewards. Companies then must hire and train new employees who require time to learn workplace safety protocols.
While you can’t control the turnover rate, you can advocate for safety at all times. Encourage veteran and novice employees to follow all safety protocols, too.
Overtime may be mandatory at your workplace, so be aware of the dangers and the solutions that help you ensure safety. Ask your employer about the company’s wellness and mental health programs, too, that help you and your co-workers achieve balance and maintain safety as you work long hours.
Pros And Cons Of A 401(k) Loan
Your 401(k) is money you save for your retirement. Some employers allow you to take a loan from your 401(k), though, and you may decide to take advantage of this feature to pay a current financial obligation. First, consider the pros and cons as you ensure you make the right financial decision for your future.
Access the money that belongs to you.
The money in your 401(k) is your money. It’s intended for retirement, but you could access it for an immediate need, such as a medical bill, house, car, college, business startup, debt repayment, or vacation.
Borrow up to $50,000.
The IRS limits your 401(k) loan to half of your vested 401(k) balance up to $50,000. That money can go a long way toward helping you with a current financial need.
No loan application necessary.
Instead of a complicated loan process, simply talk to your Human Resources director and complete a few forms.
No credit check required.
Traditional loans and credit card applications require a credit check. You can withdraw money from your 401(k) regardless of your credit score or history.
Repay the loan automatically.
Repay your 401(k) loan with automatic deductions from your paycheck. You typically have five years to repay the loan.
Have less money for retirement.
Right now, you have the ability to earn a living. That ability decreases when you retire, which is why you want a healthy 401(k). Borrow from the money now, and you lose out on compound interest. As a result, you have less money for your future.
Pay more taxes.
You originally contributed pre-tax money to your 401(k), and it will grow with tax-deferred interest until you withdraw it during retirement. However, if you borrow money now, you must repay the loan with post-tax dollars and will owe taxes on retirement withdrawals.
Repay the loan on time.
Your loan will include repayment conditions you’ll have to follow in order to avoid tax penalties. Also, be aware that if you leave your current employer before you repay the loan, the remaining balance will be due in October of the following year to avoid additional tax penalties.
401(k) money is protected from creditors.
Creditors and bankruptcy court cannot consider your 401(k) as an asset. That means it’s safe if you face financial trouble. Creditors can consider your 401(k) loan funds as an asset, though.
As you decide if a 401(k) loan is right for you, consider this list of pros and cons. Talk to your HR director, too, to ensure you understand the loan process, repayment requirements and other details of a 401(k) loan.
Top Topics To Avoid Discussing At Work
After spending 40 hours a week together at work, you and your coworkers may become close friends.
Unfortunately, certain conversation topics can cause awkward situations and increase stress, decrease productivity, motivation and performance, and threaten your job. Protect your health and career when you avoid talking about these topics.
Whether you avidly follow or purposely avoid politics, political conversations should be off-limits at work. The subject ignites tempers and undermines team spirit.
You may announce that you vote. However, avoid candidating for a specific party, and change the subject if your coworkers introduce the topic.
Pay Rate and Benefits
Under federal law, you may openly discuss your pay rate, insurance coverage and other benefits with coworkers. These discussions may benefit others if they lead to equal pay for equal work, but they could also cause hard feelings and hinder cooperation.
Discuss your paycheck and benefits only if the conversation will benefit your team, and never brag about or belittle someone else’s paycheck. Always err on the side of respect.
Personal Relationship Problems
Maybe your spouse stopped sleeping with you or your child is bullied at school. Share these personal relationship problems at work, and you undermine your authority as a supervisor or manager. The information could also fuel the rumor mill or anchor a sexual harassment complaint.
Restrict personal conversations to neutral topics. Then discuss and resolve your personal relationship problems outside of work.
You may decide to tell your coworkers about your struggle with chronic pain or depression, especially on challenging days. Consider how your health concern affects your reputation and even your ability to promote, though.
If you must share health information, don’t talk daily about your challenges or discuss every detail. Rely on your family and friends for support and focus on your job when you’re at work.
Career aspirations can motivate you to better yourself. Your coworkers may question your loyalty or resent you, however, if you share your goals with them.
Tell your boss privately that you want to move up the ladder. Then do your best work every day as you demonstrate that you’re a team player and committed to the company’s success.
Faith is a personal and sensitive subject. Even an innocent comment about church or a holiday can make your coworkers feel uncomfortable.
While you can mention your faith, avoid in-depth religious conversations. Take care to never belittle or disagree with someone else’s beliefs, and don’t try to convert anyone.
The conversations you have at work influence your job performance, reputation, success and health. Aim to promote respect, cooperation and peace as you talk to your coworkers.
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