5 Ways to Make an Impact at Work Now

We’re only two months from the year-end holidays. But as performance-review time nears, experts say workers can’t let up quite yet.

Companies have been bracing for a recession all year. Although GDP continues to grow, most firms are still anticipating an economic downtown, and many have made talent changes already. With so much economic concern, experts say, it’s essential that employees continue to show their value, particularly as managers begin preparing for year-end performance reviews.

“At a time of so much uncertainty, organizations are making some key talent decisions,” says Mark Royal, senior client partner for Korn Ferry Advisory. Now is the time to reestablish that you’re a strong contributor in your current role, he says.

As your manager starts thinking about your performance review, it’s essential that you make an impact now, even if you’ve had wins earlier in the year. “We live in a world that’s focused on ‘what have you done for me lately,’ and leaders always have a recency bias,” says Dan Kaplan, senior client partner in Korn Ferry's CHRO practice. It’s not uncommon for managers to base performance evaluations on the last few weeks or months rather than the entire year. Here are five ways to make an impact at work now.

Evaluate your accomplishments.

Make a list of all the challenges you faced this year and the results you achieved, says Korn Ferry Advance coach Valerie Olson. “Thinking about how you benefit the organization and its stakeholders by doing your job well— and specifically about the purpose of your own role—will help you identify more ways in which you have made unique contributions,” she says. For instance, what are the ways in which you’ve increased revenue, streamlined a process, reduced turnover, developed a new solution, expanded the customer base, or improved compliance?

Confirm your goals are still viable.

Determine what goals still need to be met, but before working to achieve them, consider whether they’re still priorities for your manager and company. It’s not uncommon for goals that were set 12 months earlier to fall out of alignment with the company’s immediate needs. Figure out what your manager is concerned with right now, and find ways to contribute, Royal says. 

Consider whether you can set aside any unmet goals on your list to allow you to focus on more achievable ones, Royal says. Is there a goal you could achieve relatively easily within the next few months that would give you a quick win? If you’re unsure about which goals to prioritize, he says, ask your immediate manager for a check-in conversation.

Raise your visibility.

Increase your profile by speaking up at meetings, scheduling a one-on-one with your immediate manager, jumping onto a high-visibility project, or writing a report outlining your team’s accomplishments and sharing it with the broader company, Olson says. “Voice your thoughts, views, and suggestions on how you can contribute,” says Korn Ferry Advance coach Sondra Levitt. This gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership skills and ability to identify and solve problems.

Collaborate with colleagues.

Seek out ways to help your colleagues finish projects or reach year-end goals, Levitt suggests. “Being available to take on work for others might be particularly important now, as many of your colleagues might be distracted by global events and paralyzed by sadness,” Kaplan says.

Look for innovative solutions.

Take time to understand the company’s goals. Work to find solutions to the problems your manager or team is currently wrestling with, or what you anticipate they will be concerned with in the future. “Think about what needs to be done now, with an eye towards the future,” Levitt says.

Show that your core work is connected to your manager’s focus areas, and that this creates potential opportunities for you to have future impact, Royal says. For instance, think about your company’s most urgent needs: How might you be able to help find more talent, work more efficiently, or increase sales?

“Connecting to the priorities that are top of mind for your immediate manager or department leader can help you find ways to enhance your impact,” he says.


For more expert career advice, connect with a career coach at Korn Ferry Advance.