A performance appraisal is not to be treated as just another mundane event that crops up on a quarterly or yearly basis. It should be viewed as an opportunity for you to highlight your accomplishments and identify areas that need to be developed. Hence it’s important that you prepare adequately and present yourself the right way. If you’ve spent every working hour delivering to the best of your ability, this is the time to show it with confidence.
Just remember how the reviewers assess your performance can have both short term and long term effects on your progress with the company, as well as your career. So give the leaders a comprehensive picture of how you are impacting the company’s growth, contributing to key projects and supporting your colleagues in their pursuits. In the interest of doing this effectively, here are things you should consider before entering and while you’re in the meeting room.
1. Self assess your performance in advance
Keep a weekly log of the tasks you’ve completed and specific goals you’ve met. Before your performance appraisal, review your strengths and weaknesses, as well as other overall contributions that go beyond your daily activities. Take time to reflect on the overall impact you’ve had both individually and as a member of your team. Also think of specific times where you’ve excelled or came through in a crisis. Consider any additional tasks you perform that might go unrecognized. If possible, ask a trusted colleague about your performance so that they might remind you of something you might have forgotten. Based on all these observations, prepare an honest written review for yourself – this will give you the bird’s eye view on what you wanted to achieve, what you thought you could and what needs work.
2. Revisit your last performance appraisal
Once you’ve made the aforementioned personal assessment of your performance, compare it to the last performance appraisal from your company. How does it compare? Look at all the areas you’ve improved this time around. See if you were more or less consistent in meeting goals. Have you lost a step or two in certain respects? If so, try to analyze and figure out the reason behind them. Just in case you’ve fallen short of expectations again in a particular area, be prepared with a solid explanation and plan on how you are going to improve. Also, think about your conduct from the last appraisal and see what you can do to come across as more receptive and engaging this time around.
3. Be conscious of what you say during the review
Speak every word with purpose and conviction when you’re answering questions. Don’t go overboard with your response by adding unnecessary or irrelevant details. See if there is an opening or two to use terms and phrases which are exclusively used in your line of work. In the eyes of the company leaders, this approach demonstrates that you take the business and your work seriously. Most importantly, communicate with a confident yet calm tone. Don’t get emotional if the review board is excessively critical of your contributions. Hear what they have to say and respond in a composed manner.
4. Take criticism with an open mind
Remember that a performance appraisal isn’t a chance for your manager to minimize your worth as an employee. It’s an opportunity to give you the kind of honest feedback that is required for you to keep growing as a professional at this organization. Preparing for a feedback session is critical in order to ensure that you and your manager have a productive discussion. Do your homework by reviewing all of the notes you’ve taken throughout the year, and make sure you’re noting any questions or areas where you feel like you could improve. Your employer is putting time and energy into this process, so make sure you respect that by listening with the right frame of mind.
If you’re well prepared and have a clear picture of yourself as an employee, the performance appraisal could be your avenue to build trust and gain the confidence of your manager and company leaders. It could very well be the spotlight you’ve been waiting for to showcase why you’re someone worth investing in, to help the company reach new heights.
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