When a colleague returned her completed performance review form to me before our annual meeting, her response to the question: “How do you feel you’ve met your objectives in the last 12 months?’ was ‘I feel I’ve done well.’  Arrgghhh! It went straight back!

Some appraisals can be very informal, almost a chat to see how things are going and if everything is OK, right through to a formal process with clearly defined objectives and outcomes. Some reviews are based on performance and targets, others also focus on your training and development. Some people never have any reviews of their work performance at all!

So how do you prepare for your performance appraisal and make the most of this opportunity to get feedback and direction in your current job?

REASONS FOR APPRAISAL

Be clear about why this review is being held and what objectives the company/line manager want to achieve with the conversation.

Yet, don’t forget what your objectives are for the review? What’s important for you to make time to discuss at this meeting? If you have limited time, make it clear in writing beforehand or at the start of the meeting what you’d like to talk through. If it doesn’t happen in the meeting, ask to follow this up afterwards – otherwise it’ll get forgotten about.

WHERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE?

Preparation is key, otherwise it is a missed opportunity to raise your profile, get your voice heard, receive feedback and look towards the future.

It will make your life easier if you keep a track of your activities and achievements throughout the year. Write things down, go through your diary, note any conferences or events attended, key clients you worked with. Collate all the relevant facts and figures to support HOW you’ve met or exceeded targets or objectives.

WHAT’s WORKING?

Understand what you’re doing well, what you’re learning from this, and any aspects you’re particularly enjoying.

What have been the main challenges for you during the last 12 months? Is there anything that is holding you back from meeting these objectives?

Anticipate any concerns or issues your line manager may have about your performance or workload, and give some thought as to the reasons for this and ways to improve and progress.

CLARIFY

Review your job description. Are you being asked to do things that take you away from what you’re meant to be doing? Have the boundaries/expectations changed around your role?

How clear have your objectives been? Do these need to be renegotiated? Have they changed or been affected by business circumstances during the year?

What areas of your work would benefit from having a clearer steer from your line manager?

ASK FOR FEEDBACK

When was the last time you got feedback? How well does your manager know what you’ve been doing, or have they been very hands-off? The appraisal is a great opportunity to get feedback on your work and contribution. If they are not forthcoming with this, then ASK.

WHAT NEXT?

Your discussion should also include your views on what you need to be working towards and how you are developing in your role and within the company. What ideas do both you and your line manager have about this?

How is your personal and professional development being addressed as part of this meeting? Where are your gaps? For example, when did you last spend time updating your industry knowledge or skill-set? (How to keep current and industry-aware). If there is an opportunity to talk about this, go prepared with ideas to discuss and why this could help benefit the business.

 

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