Also known as performance reviews, work appraisals happen once a year or bi-annually in most large companies. An increasing number of small and medium sized companies are also seeing the value of appraisals for understanding the progress of employees.
Work appraisals needn’t be a time of dread. Although they do involve constructive criticism in a face-to-face environment with your manager, it’s important to remember that the conversation flows both ways. As well as giving your boss a chance to review your performance, work appraisals also give the chance to put forward your own desires, goals and expectations for the future.
The less defensive you are, the more you can see work appraisals as an opportunity for personal growth and career development. How can you make the most of your upcoming appraisal?
Preparing For Your Appraisal
Preparation for your next work appraisal should actually begin straight after your last one. If you keep records of your advancements and achievements, as well as your shortcomings and missed targets, you will have most of the information you need for the meeting already.
If you don’t already have it, you should collect relevant data that supports your performance and make it presentable. Your manager will also do this, but having your own file will allow you to support yourself and demonstrate what you have done in a measurable way during your work appraisal. For example, if you are in sales, collate data that shows the number of sales you have fulfilled.
As well as collating date on your achievements, ask yourself what you have done right, what projects have been successful, have any projects failed or any targets been missed, what can you improve upon and how can you develop your career goals? Make a few notes so that you can discuss this during the meeting.
You may be given a work appraisal form to fill in before the meeting. If so, complete this in detail so that your manager can give you valuable feedback on what you write.
During The Work Appraisal Meeting
Your work appraisal will likely be conducted in a private, face-to-face setting with your manager. Though this can be daunting, it does give you an excellent opportunity to really understand your progress in the company, and for your manager to understand it too. I’s important to keep the meeting focused on your own professional development – this is not the time to discuss concerns about office politics!
You are going to receive feedback about your career and your time at the company during the meeting. This can be scary, and difficult to take (we are all human!). It’s rarely rewarding to butt heads with your manager, so try to respond positively.
If you do disagree with what is being said, then voice your concerns and try to present data to supports your objections. For example, if your manager claims that you have underachieved on sales targets, but you know that you have actually surpassed agreed levels, show the charts to prove it to them!
For the most part, criticism should be fairly given and received, and you should take it as a chance to become more aware of how you can develop in certain areas. Take responsibility for your own actions, and come to agreements about areas in which you could have done better.
Remember that work appraisals are a two-way conversation, and be ready to voice yourself. Talk to your manager about how you want to develop and what you want to work on, come to conclusions about your future goals and contributions to the company, and discuss any tools, technology or best practices that you need to succeed. You can also voice any concerns you have relating to your professional development.
Work appraisals are also a great time to ask for a pay rise, but only if you truly think that deserve one, and can demonstrate that you are worth the extra money. It may help to conduct research to understand your market value and the extra value that you contribute to the company.
After The Appraisal
A work appraisal doesn’t stop at the end of the meeting. Once the meeting concludes, you should take the chance to reflect on your personal and professional development, both past and future. As the year progresses, keep records of your achievements to make sure you stay on track with your new goals.
Think about which areas you need to focus on, and how you can improve. Speak to HR about internal opportunities to development and training, or take a training course outside of work to improve your skills and improve upon your weaknesses. Any efforts to improve will be noticed and rewarded in the next appraisal.
Work appraisals are not just a chance for your manager to conduct a performance review, but also a chance for you to understand more about your current achievements and future goals and career directions. If you’re stuck for ideas, try out our free services; inkscroll’s Path Finder for some personalised recommendations. Or browse through our course catalog. You can even store your goals and training requests!