Performance Appraisal – an Opportunity not Dread!

Performance appraisals and reviews impart the perfect occasion to reflect on your career and plan your next move – but only if you prepare. Here’s what to expect from an appraisal and how to get the most out of your annual review at work.

If the thought of your annual, or biannual, work appraisal fills you with dread then you’re doing it all wrong. So long as you prepare correctly, your appraisal should provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your achievements and spell out exactly how you would like your role to evolve.

Ask the right appraisal questions and you’ll get the right appraisal answers. Read on to discover exactly what preparing for an appraisal involves. I’m sharing here a five tips I learnt along my journey as a team member, manager and now a coach to turn the appraisal into an opportunity instead of dreading it.

  1. Acknowledge its very importance.

Feedback is great way of discovering whether we’re getting better at what we do. Today, we’re used to getting regular feedback and communications online, through our managers and HR. Acknowledging this as a opportunity to learn and grow and going in with the right mindset is our first step to getting the most out of the appraisal.

There is an increasing awareness that the old-style appraisals are antiquated, and many employers are changing their approach. They are using more coaching skills and more development-based communications versus finding fault. There has been an improvement in the quality of process but not necessarily in the speed of interaction and feedback. Which should also, hopefully evolve with time. Know more, on corporate coaching here.

  1. Think about perspective

You need to think about how your manager’s process of handling appraisals. And not you’re your manager but also your organisation as a whole? Just like in point 1 we talked about assessing your own mindset, you need to do the same for your manager and the organization as this will help you prepare for the conversation with the correct data points.

The appraisal is an opportunity for you to explore where you want to go, alongside understanding what the options may be. Gather substantiation about your past performance and think about what you want in the future.

  1. Evaluate your attitude towards your job

Don’t go through your appraisal just for the sake of it. Consider what the value of the process is to you. Is it something that you look forward to or is it the complete opposite? An appraisal gives you many openings to plan what you want to do next in your work, so grasp those opportunities with both hands. If you’re serious about this job, you go for it. If not, then it’s a good time to consider whether the role is right for you in the first place.

If managed well, the appraisal discussion can be an incredibly positive meeting and not the stressful and dreaded one that it could become.

A well-managed appraisal meeting needs preparation from both the manager and the employee and can prove to be beneficial for both by leading to employee engagement, alignment of goals and ultimately ensure career fulfilment for the employee setting the organization up for success.

  1. Authentic self-appraisal

Be well aware of how much you have achieved against goals for the cycle. Be honest. Take accountability for your accomplishments and failures alike. This approach will add to your believability with your manager.

  1. Positive participation 

Prepare yourself for your performance appraisal meeting by trying to calm those nerves. Your goal should be to listen deeply to the feedback your manager provides, as well as the goals and development plans they lay out for you.

This will help you approach the appraisal discussion as one in which you will learn something about yourself which will help you achieve greater success.

While the afore-mentioned tips focus on ‘what’ one needs to do in an appraisal discussion, the ‘how’ is equally important. Be open, be positive and most importantly, be calm during this discussion.

Ultimately, it’s your career. You have both the power and responsibility to manage your performance and ensure your ongoing development and success. Make the most of the opportunity your performance appraisal offers to make your contributions known and to get meaningful feedback and direction that will help you grow. Proper preparation and positive participation are the key factors for a positive performance review.