How To Prepare For A Work Appraisal.
No matter how good or bad you are at your job, it’s likely that you don’t look forward to your appraisal. It’s an observed phenomenon that people across the world hate performance appraisals (1).
Come appraisal season, one can feel the tension in the air in the office. There are hushed conversations in every cubicle, rumors fly hard and fast. In short, it’s quite a stressful time for most employees.
Be that as it may, it’s true that you can’t avoid having that dreaded appraisal meeting with your boss. Nor should you. After all, this is your chance to bring your achievements to the fore and garner that much-needed raise. Whether it’s asking for an increment or nominating yourself for a promotion, the appraisal meeting is the perfect platform for it.
All you need to do to make that appraisal meeting a breeze is prepare for it beforehand. You can do that by following the advice given below:
Collect and organize data regarding the projects that you’ve worked on
The first thing that you should do after you schedule your appraisal meeting is to prepare a list of your work responsibilities. This would give you a concrete idea of the scope of your work responsibilities. This would also help you identify where you’ve been performing above and beyond your role.
Next, you should start compiling data that can help your manager correctly gauge your performance at work. This data would vary for different individuals in different roles and industries. For someone in sales, this could mean the number of sales they have made and the business they have brought in. For a team lead, this would mean the productivity report of the team. If you have received good feedback from a customer, or a great testimonial from a client, include that here.
Identify and make a list of your achievements
More often than not, employees hesitate to list all their achievements for the fear of sounding like a braggart. Though this is the opposite of what they should be doing. Now that you’ve made a list of your work responsibilities, make a note of your achievements. This step is especially important if the appraisal system in your company requires you to do a self-evaluation.
These achievements should cover areas like how much money you made for the company, what projects you’ve completed successfully or what skills you have upgraded. You should also include the contributions that you’ve made to your team. If any of your achievements was a group effort, acknowledge it, but don’t be shy in mentioning it.
Another point to note is that when you’re noting all these achievements, avoid using the word “did” to describe them, instead use more actionable verbs such as achieved, implemented, streamlined, executed, created, etc.
Prepare a list of goals for the coming year
Now that you’ve prepared an exhaustive report of your performance in the past year, it’s time to look forward. Prepare a set of objectives or goals that you would like to achieve in the coming year. These goals should be ambitious, yet realistic. They could range from a new skill that you want to master or a new project you want to complete by the next review.
Be prepared to discuss them with your manager, who could guide you in achieving them. This is a crucial step in preparing for the appraisal, as it shows that you're invested in your growth in the company and are taking conscious efforts to map out a career path.
Be open to asking questions
The appraisal process is designed to be an open conversation between an employee and their manager. It also allows the employee to voice any concerns that they might be having or ask any questions that they might have.
If you have any queries regarding the future of your role in the company, the changing policies of your workplace or any other work-related concern, be prepared to raise them. Although, bear in mind that you should do so in an objective manner.
Questions like, “How can I improve my performance?” or “What are the challenges faced by our company or department presently?” are likely to make a good impression on your manager. Answers to such questions will also help you understand your position in the company better.
Prepare yourself for feedback
Now time to digest the bitter pill.
Even if you have been performing above expectation, your manager might have some feedback for you. He might also point out certain areas where you need to improve or do better. When presented with negative feedback, don't pushback defensively. Instead, hear your manager out. Be open to these suggestions, and ask for specific ways to handle these concerns.
Remember, this is a professional conversation, so don't react defensively by taking it personally. Try to see it objectively. If you feel the feedback was particularly tough or not justified, take some time to collect your thoughts, and then seek an opportune time to clarify them. Taking time to analyse it will allow you to view the situation objectively and would also show your manager that you are not giving a knee-jerk reaction.
Most of all, don’t let this get to you. Take the feedback in your stride and work on those areas to show your manager that you take your work seriously.
Now that you’ve done all the preparation, all that's left for you to do is go into that meeting and get that raise or promotion, which you have your heart set on. You've already done the work, all that's left now is to highlight it conspicuously. With this level of preparedness, you can do that easily.