Get Your Accomplishments Noticed

by Marie on December 16, 2011 · 28 comments

It’s tough at work these days, companies are trying to do more with fewer employees.  Employees are struggling to meet increased workloads without ruining their personal lives.  Most are probably just making it through the critical, must do, tasks each day.

In this kind of environment, it is sometimes hard to make sure that your outstanding efforts for the company are recognized, let alone rewarded!  You are busier, your boss is busier and the customers are stressed.

In saner times, perhaps your boss did an evaluation of your performance, or perhaps your customers wrote nice reviews on your outstanding work for them.  These things can help your career progress enormously.  How can you make sure your good work is noticed in these tough times?

I worked in an environment that was fast paced all of the time, so even before the 2008 economic disturbance and consequent layoffs, I was in a very busy situation. I was a department head, responsible for setting and realizing goals for the entire department and I reported directly to a company vice president – who had many other responsibilities.  Consequently, I knew that he would not necessarily remember all of the valuable contributions made by my department.

How to get your accomplishments noticed.

Here are some suggestions, based on what I used to do as a department head.

Throughout the year

As you initiate and complete projects and activities, make some notes in a document or on your calender so that you don’t forget what you did throughout the year.

At the start of each project or activity, take a few minutes to review the company’s mission, strategy and overall goals for the year.  Make sure each project supports those and note how you think it does.

At the end of the year

Request an audience with your boss.  Set up a formal meeting, with just the two of you.  The purpose of the meeting will be to review the department’s accomplishments for the year and talk about how best your area can meet company objectives in the coming year.

Prepare for the meeting. Before the meeting, ask each of your staff members to summarize their own accomplishments for the year.  This will not only help you evaluate their performance but will also bring to light any results you have forgotten or any extra efforts of which you weren’t aware.

Once again, review the company’s mission, strategy and goals – noting any that may have changed through the year.  You need to show that your department is moving the company towards it’s mission and that you (and your staff) were critical to that movement.

Focus on one to five important accomplishments – ones that help you demonstrate the above.  You won’t have time to go through every little project you did, although you can supply a written document as a leave behind from the meeting (just don’t expect your boss to read it!).

Practice talking about how those five things aided the company’s current or future bottom line.  Give your boss material to show his or her boss what he or she accomplished through your department!

Meet with your boss. Spend half of the meeting demonstrating your area’s accomplishments – using the practiced subject matter.  Verify that your boss thinks those things were strategically meeting the company’s mission.  Then go on to discuss what your area should focus on in the coming year during the rest of the meeting.

Show the boss that you have studied the company mission and that you have observed the ways different areas are supporting the mission.  For your area, mention any customer initiatives, internal issues or opportunities that could or should be tackled in the coming year, along with how you think those meet the

Probe your boss for his/her thoughts on upcoming trends, events, requests or actual work that will need to be done and work through how that fits into the mission and strategy.

Leave behind a one page summary of your area’s accomplishments for your boss to use.

Wrap it up by thanking him or her for his/her time, appreciation of his/her understanding of what your department contributes to the company and an invitation to touch base again sometime in the the next few weeks or months to make sure your area is staying on track.

First of the year

Meet with your staff. After you meet with your boss, you need to carry word back to your staff.

Tell them what you shared, how it fit into the company mission and strategy, how pleased (or displeased!) your boss was with the work done by the group and then lead them in a discovery session for the coming year.

Hold a discovery session – review the company mission, strategy and goals with your team(s).  Share the upcoming known work and show them how it supports the mission.  Brainstorm with them to see if together you can come up with new initiatives from your area which could also support the company mission, or get the upcoming work done in a more efficient manner.

Congratulate them on their successes and thank them as well.

What have you done at work to avoid being invisible?  How did you make sure you or your area got the credit for the contributions made?

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 PKamp3 December 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

My company is large enough to have designated times for annual reviews. Of course, if you are just bringing up problems in the annual review, you’re not doing it right.

I can certainly get behind the advice to keep a log of your accomplishments, and probably customer compliments too. You should probably talk to your boss at least 1-2 times outside of the annual review just to get a handle on how to improve before the meeting itself approaches.


2 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues December 16, 2011 at 8:03 pm

PKamp3 – Good advice – and yes, I agree, if there are problems (either in your mind or in your bosses) there should have already been multiple discussions by the time an annual review takes place.


3 krantcents December 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

Making sure your accomplishments are noticed can be formal or informal. Everything depends on the kind of relationship you have with your boss. It can range from a casual conversation, email note or an actual meeting. Timing is everything, make sure it is before your review.


4 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues December 16, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Krantcents. I agree. Especially in a smaller company, an informal mention of your accomplishments might be more appropriate. Good advice, making sure it is timed right before your review too!


5 101 Centavos December 16, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Well said, Marie. You’ve got to be the one to toot your own horn, and do it well.


6 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues December 16, 2011 at 8:05 pm

101 Centavos – Toot true!


7 Jackie December 16, 2011 at 9:05 pm

I think writing things down as they happen is a great way to go about it. (I even forget stuff myself, and if I can’t remember it, why should someone else?) I also think it helps to pretty regularly toot your own horn by pointing out things that you or your department has done via email.


8 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues December 18, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Jackie – too true – we all worry so much about what other people think – but we have to realize that other people are 100% more concerned about themselves than about us. That is why they most likely won’t remember what we did!


9 Robert @ The College Investor December 17, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Throughout the year, I like to keep a list of any big accomplishments I achieved. Sometimes, by the end of the year, you forget what you did in February.


10 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues December 18, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Ahhhh and I thought it was just me!


11 Andy Hough December 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm

I’m self-employed but maybe I can adapt some of the ideas to make sure our clients recognize the value we provide.


12 Untemplater December 17, 2011 at 6:04 pm

I keep a list of all the various projects I work on throughout the year. It’s a great reference when I have meetings with my manager! -Sydney


13 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues December 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Good for you! A list of the projects, what you did on them and what they meant to your manager and your company is a great asset in manager meetings.


14 Super Frugalette December 19, 2011 at 12:42 am

I would often send my boss an email right before I left the office…at usually a crazy time like 7:30pm. He did not always understand what I was doing, but he knew I was working hard.


15 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues December 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I did that too for some of my bosses! But other’s didn’t want the service.


16 Tushar@EverythingFinance December 21, 2011 at 8:44 am

Some excellent tips here. I will try and follow some of these ideas this week at my job.


17 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues December 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Thanks Tushar – let me know if they work out for you and remember to keep your specific situation in mind when you try them!


18 SB @ One Cent At A Time December 23, 2011 at 1:03 am

Very good pointers Marie. Although I follow many of these, it’s going to help me


19 Marie at FamilyMoneyValues December 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Thanks SB.


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