Tax team performance reviews – without the stress

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Performance reviews are an inevitable aspect of corporate life, but they rarely top employees’ (or managers’) lists of favourite work processes. For some employees, even the thought of the annual critique can induce anxiety, according to this Korn Ferry article. “Employees can get so upset or panicked about performance reviews that some companies are now offering training on how to properly receive them.” 

If your organisation doesn’t offer such training, don’t stress – the article offers practical guidance to help you remain calm when your next review date rolls around. While the article is geared toward those on the receiving end of performance reviews, managers will also find these tips helpful:  

  • Ask for it in writing – or however you prefer: In-person interactions with authority figures aren’t everybody’s idea of fun. Thanks to the pandemic and the shift to remote work, many employees are out of practice. Consider requesting written feedback. Some companies are now taking the initiative here by asking employees which mode of feedback they prefer, including email, phone call or video. 
  • Don’t kill the messenger: Performance reviews can be every bit as stressful for the giver as for the receiver. Don’t take it personally – focus on the content, not the reviewer. 
  • Reflect rather than dismiss: Even (or especially) if you disagree with your assessment, don’t ignore the feedback. Points that you think are trivial may look different to colleagues or customers. If you’re not convinced that the critique is accurate, run it by others you trust. Also, be on the lookout for ways to turn it into an opportunity.  
  • Get concrete: If the review is valid and identifies significant changes, set clear goals and timelines to achieve them. Make your progress on those objectives visible by keeping your manager updated on your actions.  
  • Maintain a healthy perspective: Whether you see the feedback as positive or negative, don’t overreact. Think of it as a snapshot of where you are in your professional development and an opportunity to learn and grow. 
  • Bonus - Own your path: Understand that to achieve the goals you set out for your role, it will take hard work and determination. Engage early and often with leadership to be sure you are working towards your objectives in a timely manner.  

Interestingly, the article notes that some organisations are adopting the term “feedforward” to replace “feedback”. Will that make much of a difference? Maybe not. Whichever term you prefer, this is a helpful article for tax managers and leaders who provide performance reviews to team members, as well as those who receive it.

Blog Author

Larry Mellon, Tax Directory, Vertex Inc

Larry Mellon

Tax Director

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Larry Mellon is a Tax Director in the Chief Tax Office, where he is responsible for providing insights, thought leadership and customer-centric direction to Vertex functional groups, supporting the continued expansion of Vertex indirect tax solutions and overall enterprise strategy. He has over 30 years of experience in sales and use tax compliance, risk assessment, jurisdictional audits, administration and management, as well as VAT compliance. Larry joined Vertex in 2005 as a Sales and Income Tax Supervisor and has served as Tax Manager since 2012, where he has played a pivotal role in elevating and advancing the company’s tax management offerings.

Prior to joining Vertex, Larry served as a Senior Tax Accountant and Property Tax Manager at Foamex International, Inc., a polyurethane and advanced polymer foam product manufacturer and marketer. Mellon also held multiple roles at The Franklin Mint and is a member of the Institute of Professionals in Taxation (IPT).

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