Know what you’re entitled to, speak to an expert about your annual review

It’s the new financial year and you’ve just remembered after the whirlwind of EOFY, it’s almost time for your annual review. Traditionally reviews happen once a year but there has been a steady rise in six-monthly performance reviews in the market. As the name suggests, this normally means they would review your performance six-monthly but promotions and salary increases tend to be annual. If you have gone above and beyond your role, there is always an exception to the rule.

So the real question is what can you do to prepare and what do you want to cover?


Do your market research

In order for you to know if you’re getting what you’re entitled to, you will need to speak to an expert in your field. I would recommend speaking to an experienced Recruiter who specialises in your space – go with word of mouth – good people, know and help good people. An experienced recruiter will know your market inside and out, after finding out about your skills and experience, they will be able to give you personalised salary banding for you to bring up with your current employer. A thorough Recruiter will not only find out your long term career goals but also talk through how likely that is, how to work towards your goals and if that’s achievable in your current role/firm as well as why.

Speaking to people in your network can be helpful but always take this with a bucket of salt. Why? There are many variables, if they’re in Public Practice or Industry, this makes a massive difference. Even from firm to firm, there is a salary banding difference between Big Four, Mid Tiers and boutique firms. There is a difference between BAS to Audit to Tax to Corporate Finance to Insolvency. That’s not taking into account location as well, Auckland is different from Invercargill and you will be paid differently in the CBD than in the suburbs.

Bring examples

Throughout the year/months you would have been collating examples of when you have gone above and beyond your role. Any time you put your hand up for a project, any time you helped train or coach a colleague, any time a client has given you a compliment – this is what you want to be noting down. You are your biggest advocate, your Manager/Partner may not have the time or the capacity to see or hear this on a daily basis. The more quality examples you provide the better, this is your chance to show what value you are adding to the firm in both a professional and personal way.

Suit up

As silly as it sounds, wear something that you feel confident in! Whether that is a bright coloured shirt, your favourite shoes or your lucky undergarment. Go for a walk or go to the gym before your meeting, get those endorphins pumping. You can even push the boat out by purchasing your go to beverage in the morning to start your day right or your favourite cuisine for lunch, the sky’s the limit.

The Annual Review:

Present your case

  • During your annual review will have a chance to talk through your responsibilities, projects, budgets, recoverables, charge out rate and overall contribution over the past 12 months. This is your time to talk through the times you have thought outside the box, changed a client’s life, used your initiative and increased your skill set. 
  • You will also talk about the team, thoughts on the Partners, their management style, office culture and how these have all contributed to your overall performance.
  • You will need to take accountability on scenarios when you have not met expectations and the why. It could be not meeting deadlines due to workload or giving technical advice that was incorrect due to the standards changing recently. Take your time to objectively think of what went wrong, how you could improve and make sure it won’t happen again. Self reflection, awareness and ownership is a powerful tool!

Ask for constructive feedback and be prepared for what comes back

As we all know, there is always room for improvement and now is your time to get some real tangible feedback. The hard part for some people is taking it on board. Best tip, put your emotion to the side and be pragmatic – take the constructive parts to make the necessary changes. Ask for suggestions as to how to break down big changes into bite size changes so it’s not so overwhelming and more importantly sustainable.

Create a development plan with SMART goals

  • Communicate where you see your career in the next 12 months, 5 years and 10 years
  • Find out the Firm’s business plan for the next 12 months, 5 years and 10 years
  • Ask what would be available for you if you stayed for 12 months, 5 years and 10 years
  • Discuss what pathways there are available in your current firm that will get you closer to your goals
  • SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timeframe
  • Write it down and set up review dates to make sure that everyone is on the same page


Continue collating examples for your next annual review

From now until your next review, write down your responsibilities, projects, achievements and work beyond your scope. Up to date detail is always the best, a little often will all add up.

Follow through

Anything you have committed to in terms of your constructive feedback, you have committed to altering. Work towards your SMART goals and follow up those annual review dates you set. Check in with the same experienced recruiter to let them know how your review went and ask their thoughts? They will let you know if you are on track in terms of the market, if you are being undervalued or even if you have an exceptional all round opportunity.

If you are keen to have a conversation around the market, review prep or debrief then do get in touch with us. We have specialist teams within Professional Services, Legal, Risk & Compliance, Banking & Financial Services and Design & Build.

Tasha Toehemotu

09 930 9827