Come April and appraisals stare you in the face. And the best time to start preparing for them is now. Don’t wait for the last minute — it will only make you more anxious.
Performance appraisals should be an ongoing developmental process, instead of a formal once-a-year review. It must be closely monitored by both the employee and reviewer to make sure targets are being met. By preparing yourself diligently all through the year, and demonstrating cooperation with your reviewer to develop your role, you will create a positive impression.
Unfair appraisal last year?
Performance appraisals often are not exactly what we expect or want. Frequently, the emphasis tends to be on what you did not do or what you did wrong, rather than on accomplishments. Somehow, your boss may have a tendency to let the negative dominate.
Dissecting your last appraisal
Look at the method by which you were rated. List the areas that seem to be important to your boss. Consider your performance over the last year and plan accordingly for the next year:
- What have you done well?
- How could your performance be improved?
- Were there any organisational/ management issues that affected your performance?
- How could these be resolved?
- How well did you contribute to the performance of your team?
- Were your training and development needs met?
- What are your continuing development needs with respect to your job?
- How will they be met?
- What are your long-term career goals?
Prepare for your next appraisal
“In order to assess your own performance objectively, try viewing it from your manager’s perspective. Be conversant with the company’s assessment policies and study the performance appraisal documentation carefully. Go through it step-by-step, anticipating comments and preparing your responses,” advises Rishi.
Understand your main role. What knowledge, skills and attitude do you need to be successful? Quantify your achievements as far as possible and document how they have contributed to the organisation’s success. What has gone less well? What can you do better?
Speak up about your accomplishments
Most performance reviews include a self-appraisal section where you should enumerate your year-long successes. “People often have a really hard time talking about themselves in a positive way,” observes Anuj. Put that aside. “This is a business exchange. These are things you’ve worked hard for, and you want to bring them to the table,” he says.
Brush up your negotiating skills
Preparation is the key if you’re aiming for a raise or a promotion. Read up on negotiating strategies. Ask your boss about your company’s promotion policy, so you can gain the knowledge and experience required to advance. “Also, ask your boss how he/ she moved up in the company and about the challenges he/ she overcame,” says Chetna.
Take the positive and the negative
Even with all your preparation, your performance appraisal is unlikely to be entirely positive. “Obviously, whoever is doing your review will look for both strengths and weaknesses,” says Rishi. The employee must be prepared for that and say how they plan to improve. Don’t react emotionally to the negatives — remaining businesslike throughout the review is important.
Make specific, measurable, realistic goals
Make a list of things you plan to accomplish prior to the next appraisal period. Put it in writing. Each item on your list should be specific, measurable and realistic.