It’s the time of the year where your performance appraisal either creates anxiety or motivation for you. Performance appraisals happen even when we don’t realise it. Whether it was communicated formally or informally, it’s necessary so as to help employees reassess their performance to help them understand and redefine their goals with the company.
However, not every employee anticipate performance appraisals, as some deemed it as irrelevant. Whereas for high achievers. they identify this as an opportunity for personal development and career progression. No matter which one you’re, there’s no escaping with performance appraisals, so why not make the best of it and you could take away something valuable from the session.
Here’re 14 steps that can make your performance appraisal more successful when the moment arrives.
1) Learn to Accept that Appraisals Are Necessary
Instead of complaining, whining or wishing you don’t have to do it, turn that negativity into positive energy that brightens your day and improve your overall mood. No matter how much you don’t want to go through the performance appraisal (for whatever reason), you always have something good in it to takeaway.
We can’t do without feedback during performance appraisals. Feedback, both from the employer to the employee and vice versa, is necessary to determine whether we’re progressing or running into roadblocks, be it for our professional work or for our work relationships. It’s your turn to shine! Accept it, then start preparing!
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to actively prepare for your performance appraisal. Never procrastinate until the last minute. Remember, this is your turn to shine and leave a significant impression to your boss. Think about one thing when you prepare for this – what does your boss need to know?
You’re not off limits to your boss just because the performance appraisal is approaching. Work with your boss to set expectations of what you need to achieve before your appraisal so that there’s no controversy later.
Preparation begins not just when you start thinking about the upcoming appraisal, but by having good record-keeping habits at work. Take a look at your last appraisal and review the feedback you were given. Have you surpass your own and the company’s expectations? How much have you progress and grow since then?
If this is your first time, gather what you’ve been doing since the beginning to now and identify your strengths and any challenging situations/people you’ve overcome. This will also help you highlight and summarise your top accomplishments and how you’ve significantly contributed to the company.
3) You’re Entitled to a Wishlist!
Your career progression matters. Have you been waiting eagerly for this moment to express some of your wishes to your boss? Now’s the time to try and fight for it.
People are not able to read minds, so it’s better to be straightforward and honest. Structure your preparation by writing down first what you want from your performance appraisal. These can include a map of your future career, getting a sense of your future, including training or further studies you want to do. Everything else will fall in place under this wishlist.
4) Assess Your Attitude Towards Your Job
As mentioned in the earlier points, it’s all about your attitude.
Don’t sit through your appraisal just for the sake of it. Make it beneficial for you! Do you feel mentally challenged at your job? Are you growing along the way or have you been too comfortable with the way things are?
Be honest about how you feel at your job. If you’re excited or serious about this job, you’re likely to be excited about the impending appraisal because of the opportunities it provides to plan what you want to do next in your work. If not, perhaps you should consider whether this role is right for you and start making plans for a career change.
5) How Does Your Company Feel About It?
How does your company treat performance appraisals? Is it a dull, routine activity that people shy away from, or is it vibrant and eagerly anticipated? If you were prepared and enthusiastic about it, but receive little to no interest on the other end, something is wrong.
Take some time to also consider how the superiors in your company manage such a process. Do they make the effort to understand and engage employees during this process? This gives you a clue on how companies treat their employees and whether they’re serious about their well-being and career progression.
Adjust your approach according to the climate; if your bosses drag their feet when doing their reviews, try and engage them more and do not assume that they’ll pay attention or take you seriously at all.
6) Now’s the Time. Outshine Yourself!
The moment you’ve been anticipating is finally here. This is where your preparation and wishlist come together to achieve your future goals. It’s the golden opportunity to make a case for your advancements and expectations based on your contributions and accomplishments so far.
Think about your ultimate goal of this performance appraisal. To set yourself apart from others, know your market value within the context of your company, rather than comparing yourself with your co-workers.
Besides talking about performance and opportunities to improve yourself, don’t forget about your well-being and state of mind at work. Are you happy with your job, is there anything else that could possibly make you happier that the company can do? Don’t be afraid to express what could make you feel better if its within the company means; most of the time they’re more than willing to do so and are glad you’d ask!
7) Mention on Areas for Improvement
While we naturally prefer focusing on our positives, there’ll always be less than ideal situations and room for improvement. Instead of brushing your shortcomings aside, be frank about them and provide evidence and situations that you’ve been overcoming them.
The careful presentation of one’s flaws can become a strength as you take the opportunity to tell your boss how you’ve been trying to improve, signalling a willingness to work harder and learn from mistakes. Your boss will appreciate and value your honesty and attitude in wanting to be better.
8) Discuss How Your Future Goals Align with the Company
Setting and achieving goals keeps you looking forward to new accomplishments and more deserving responsibilities.
This is where you can determine whether the company is still right for you when you envision the future. You’ll talk about your future with the company, the state of the company, and your future goals.
Loyal, committed and hardworking employees are a valuable asset. Employees who job-hop frequently hurt the integrity of the company and contribute to wasted time and resources due to training and developing new employees again. If your future goals align with the company, and you plan to stick around for the long haul, talk to your boss about these goals so that they’re able to streamline them according to the company’s.
9) Mention Your Personal Development Goals
Your performance is not just based on how efficient you’re at your job. Leadership, people management, conflict management, communication, decision-making skills all contribute as part of your performance. And these skills require someone who has a high Emotional Intelligence (EI) and understands people and are sensitive to their feelings and needs.
This is a great time to mention some new skills and topics you might want to take on. Some great examples are “to effectively handle conflict in the workplace,” or “to be more confident in yourself.”
Your boss may support you in your personal development pursuits if they see them as helping you grow as a person with the company. Presenting yourself as an eager learner portrays you as engaged and willing to develop to benefit the company.
10) What’re You Hoping to Do at Work?
It’s important to constantly keep check of yourself at work. Top performing employees ensure they’re actively contributing based on their abilities. If they don’t see how they’re able to put their skills into good use, they’re better off elsewhere.
Ask yourself if what you’re currently doing keeps you motivated to do better and brings out the best in your abilities. You must figure out what isn’t working for you and how it can be fixed. Perhaps, you’ve something else you’d like to do. It could be learning a new skill that you’re interested in. Or you think you’re ready to take on new projects and responsibilities. It’s up to you to figure out how you can utilise your skills and abilities to grow the company.
While your boss will have an idea of where you’d fit in the company, it’s important not to passively take on roles and overlook your preferences.
11) Contribute Innovate Ideas
Your boss wants you to prove how dedicated and committed you’re to the company. They like it if you feel attached. It’s even better if you’re able to come up with excellent and practical ideas on how to further contribute to the company’s success. Vice versa, you could your boss how you could contribute to the company’s success. This will prove to your boss that you’re serious about the success of the company.
If you’ve noticed things that the company can implement or improve on, don’t just complain about it; be solution-oriented and come up with your own ideas of how to help.
Employees that not only identify but also solve problems strongly value-add to the organization. Even if your ideas do not come to fruition, you’ve shown initiative and interest in the company vision and goals.
As we also live in a digital age now, new technologies and practices are emerging and changing the way we live and work. It’s essential to equip yourself with competitive tech so as to stay on the market and defeat the competition.
12) Be open on What You Want Your Boss to Stop/Start Doing
You’re not the only one getting a performance appraisal. That’s right. Your boss does too.
For something to succeed, it’s a two-way street. Your dynamic with your superiors is necessarily intertwined at work, which has a significant bearing on your performance. It’s thus important to bring up the things they’re doing (or not doing) that may limit your potential.
Even though our previous point mentioned to contribute innovative ideas, sometimes it’s also about subtracting to be able to visualise clearly again and make the best out of our resources.
One tactful way to do this is to share two things that you appreciate your boss doing for every one thing that can be improved. Be specific but also compassionate about the points you raise, as the goal is to improve your working relationship, not put them down.
While this may seem daunting, especially if you have an intimidating boss, having open conversations such as these can strengthen the working relationship between you and your boss while also helping them develop their leadership skills.
13) Follow-Up on the Performance Appraisal
Email to your boss after the discussion or a few days later to thank them and explain why the appraisal worked for you, such as what’s going well for you and how you’re going to implement the feedback in future. These reinforce the usefulness of feedback and appraisal processes.
Be sure to pen notes on your performance appraisal. These are important records in black and white that can be actively used to ensure that your key targets are met and help you keep track in achieving your goals.
14) Be Consistent and Get Feedback Regularly
Don’t wait until the next performance appraisal to receive feedback on your performance again.
If your company has a regular feedback practice, make use of such sessions to follow-up closely on your last feedback session and analyse how you can move on from here.
No doubt we need feedback to move forward and improve ourselves. However, if your manager is constantly busy, don’t pester them continuously for a feedback session. What you can do is set a date and if they do not get back to you or forgot about it, try again until you succeed. In the meantime, as long as you’re getting results from your work, and not making any huge mistakes, you’ll be fine.
However, great bosses always make time for their people, and assure that they’re happy and doing well with their jobs. They want their people to feel significant, valued in the company. They get that in order for employees contribute effectively to the company, they need to ensure they’re confident and know what they’re doing at work.
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