As much as we love the idea of getting a hearty raise or a well-deserved promotion, appraisal season is also a time when our performance is in the spotlight – this means that we’re going to get feedback on how we’ve been doing.
We dread appraisals and performance reviews because it leaves us feeling like we deserved better in terms of monetary compensation, or feedback, or both. An appraisal can also make or break our future relationship with the company, which is why we fear it so much.
However, appraisals can be managed well if we’re prepared. The best way to get through the appraisal process is to have complete confidence in your performance – here are some important steps to follow when preparing for your upcoming performance appraisal.
7 Steps To Prepare For Your Performance Appraisal
1. Understand Your Company’s Appraisal Process And Goals
Before you begin evaluating your own performance, understand your company’s appraisal system. Understand the process and the reasoning behind it. Enquire about the kind of questions that are likely to be asked, and how the discussions are.
This is also a time to relook at your company’s goals for the quarter/year. What was the company set out to achieve? Is it moving in the right direction?
This is important because you want to tie your achievements to the company’s larger goals to make a strong case.
Once you know these things, you will be better prepared with an approach to collating your data.
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2. Do Some Self-Evaluation And Prepare Your Data
Before you appear for your performance review, you must be sure of what you have achieved in the past year. This is for two reasons:
- So you have a strong case for yourself and your place in the company
- So you’re not surprised when your manager provides you with constructive criticism
To gather your data, take a step back and reflect on the projects you’ve worked on in the past year. Think of the bigger projects, ad-hoc projects, and smaller, everyday tasks you’ve completed.
Note down the measurable achievements for each project, such as the revenue it generated, sign-ups you acquired, or collaborations that were successful. Did it meet your individual goals and team goals?
What also matters apart from your metrics is testimonials, displays of integrity and collaboration. Whether it’s praise from a client, a display of teamwork or a successful inter-team collaboration, all of it counts!
SWOT Analysis – To Make A Stronger Case
After you’ve listed down your measurable achievements, conclude your evaluation with a SWOT analysis – that can bring you more clarity.
S – Strengths: What you bring to the team and the organisation
W – Weaknesses: Your areas of improvement
O – Opportunities: Work you would like to take up to play to your skills and better your performance
T – Threats: Resources, policies, etc. that are proving to be a hindrance in your performance
You can use these findings to have a serious discussion about your future goals with your manager.
3. Get Feedback From Your Peers
Peer reviews are quite common during appraisal season.
To understand your impact on the company’s goals on a more objective level, get feedback from the colleagues you’ve worked with and under that aren’t your manager.
Ask them to be as honest as possible about your performance on a project you’ve done together. You can start this as a regular practice so you can improve on the go.
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4. Maintain An Active Rapport With Your Manager
One thing that can make a difference in how you view appraisals is being actively in touch with your manager regarding your performance. Every now and then, take some time out to ask your manager for feedback regarding your work. Are there any areas of improvement? How you could have handled the project better?
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses as you’re working on a project can help you pick up the pace and improve on the go. Getting used to feedback will also make the appraisal process less daunting and stressful.
A plus: Being more proactive regarding your performance will leave a good impression on your manager too!
5. Do A Mock Appraisal With A Work Friend
To calm your nerves and remove the anxiety from the appraisal process, consider doing a mock performance review with your work friend. Ensure that you follow through with it seriously and bring up all the things that make you nervous.
You can practice discussing feedback and how to tackle critique, speaking confidently about your performance and why you deserve a raise/promotion, and questions around your team’s goal and how you fit in.
6. Prepare Questions For Your Manager
Performance reviews are not meant only for your performance – they’re meant for any burning questions you may have regarding your role, your team, or your company. Be a proactive employee and prepare a set of questions to ask your manager during your review.
Your SWOT analysis can help you with this.
Given that your ‘opportunities’ and ‘threats’ can be addressed with better resources provided by the company, you can prepare questions along those lines.
Asking questions can help you evaluate where you stand and what the future holds for you in the company.
7. Prepare For Unexpected Questions And Responses
Regardless of how prepared you are, performance reviews can be tense. You’re sitting in a room with your performance data laid out in front of you, and because no one is perfect, you’ll also be on the receiving end of critique. Your manager will be bringing up things you may have had no idea about.
Expect unexpected responses and questions, and remember not to get defensive or lose your cool. Listen and take your time to respond.
Some questions that can be asked during appraisal reviews are:
- What was your biggest achievement this year?
- What are your short-term and long-term goals?
- What has been the most challenging aspect of your job this year?
- Which parts of your job do you most and least enjoy?
Your data gathering and self-evaluation exercise will help you prepare the answers for this. Make sure you engage with your data and really think about what you want from your job.
And that’s all – your performance review will be smoother than you can imagine! Regardless of what happens after, it’s a good practice to be prepared with data and points that prove your worth as an employee in your company. What was your first appraisal like? Tell us in the comments below!
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