How to prepare for a performance appraisal or review
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Don't panic. With your annual performance review approaching, negatives from the past year might suddenly come rushing back to haunt you. However, this meeting is a chance to have a positive and growth-oriented conversation with your manager.
Make the most of the opportunity by preparing beforehand, using the following tips collected for you by the team at KLC Recruitment.
1. Start your preparations early
The best way to think about a performance appraisal is as an ongoing project. Keep it on your mind as the year progresses, and regularly review how you're progressing. Touch base with your manager often and talk to them about how you can improve in your role.
Make sure you:
- Note down accomplishments as they happen so you don't forget them. A good way to do this is to have a specific file dedicated to your achievements.
- Create a list of feedback you've received from your manager, colleagues and customers. For any negative comments, show how you've used them to improve your performance.
- If you have exact data on how much money you've brought into the company, or stats on how you've improved a specific area, collect these for your review.
- Consider any goals you've created with your manager while you've been in the company. Have you met them? If not, how come?
- Complete a self-analysis. Being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses allows you to make better decisions moving forward. It also shows your manager you have self-awareness.
During the year, regularly check in with your manager and how you're tracking against your current goals
2. Do your research
If you want something specific out of your annual performance review, it's important you have the right information to back you. Doing research before your appraisal helps make sure you have a sound case for your proposal, and you know what to expect from the meeting.
What should your research focus on?
- How your organisation runs performance appraisals - Most companies have their own process when it comes to how they run annual reviews. If this is the first you've had with your current job, find out what you should expect. This way you can prepare accordingly.
- If you're looking for a salary increase - Look into industry's salary data for the role and see how you rank in comparison. Have a set figure in mind, and justify it with your accomplishments and what you've added to the company. As an alternative, look into other benefits you could negotiate for if they can't match the dollar value you're wanting.
- What's involved with a promotion - If you're wanting to take the next step in your career, you need to research progression opportunities within your company. Can you prove you have the skills required for the new job title, or is it something you can work towards?
3. Step into your manager's shoes
Consider your review from your boss's perspective. It's likely they have an appraisal system they have to abide by, and their own managers to report to. By stepping into your boss's shoes, you can potentially identify areas they want to focus on as well as recognising what matters to them on a personal level.
So, how can you do this?
First, think about the performance measures they have to appraise you against. While you might want to focus on certain areas, they need to consider how you're doing across the whole of your role.
Second, understand they may have budget restraints to think about. Your manager will likely have to run any decisions around your salary or additional benefits by their boss. By presenting them with a strong list of reasons why you deserve the rise they can easily justify it to their managers.
Third, think back to any feedback they've given to you personally. This demonstrates their focus and can help you potentially identify topics that might come up.
Fourth, make it simple for your manager. Performance appraisals involve work - by supplying them with as much relevant information as possible and showing initiative you can make their life easier and smooth out the process for both of you.
By stepping into your manager's shoes, you get a new perspective on your performance appraisal.
4. Think to the future
Reflection isn't the sole purpose of a performance review. It's also meant to help give you direction for the year ahead and goals you can look back on at your next annual appraisal. Think about what you want from your role, as well as what areas your manager might want you to focus on.
By being proactive, you're further demonstrating your drive for growth and development, putting you in good stead for your appraisal. It also allows you to better work with your manager to create goals that benefit you both.
What goals could you create for yourself?
- Take on extra duties in a particular area of your role.
- Develop certain skills through training or mentorship.
- Pursue certain projects you're passionate about.
- Turn a particular weakness into a strength.
- Long-term career aims to work on over the next few years.
5. Go into your performance appraisal with an open mind
An open mind is necessary for a great performance appraisal. It's easy to feel defensive, walking into the meeting knowing there's a chance you might have to face negative feedback. However, the more you brace yourself to take on criticism, the less you're likely to hear what they've actually got to say.
Annual reviews should provide a space for positive and open communication, focusing on growth and development rather than being overly critical. Before going into yours try and relax, and practice how you'll handle any feedback you receive. Even the best employee still has room to improve, and how you respond to critique says a lot about you to your manager.
Don't forget to take care of your appearance on the day of your review either. While this isn't so necessary, making the effort to look smart and professional for your performance appraisal will help show you take the meeting, and your manager, seriously.
- Review and reflect on the year that's been. List out your accomplishments and highlight how you've grown for your manager.
- Show how you've used negative feedback to grow and improve your performance.
- Justify any proposals you're putting forward, such as a salary increase. Back yourself with research and facts.
- Think about what you need to work on in the year to come, and what goals you can set yourself.
- Consider the review from your manager's perspective and what performance measurements they are gauging you against.
- Approach your performance appraisal with an open attitude, and actively listen to what your manager has to say.
Performance reviews are your chance to shine and take control of your career's direction. If you need assistance with putting your best foot forward, reach out to the team at KLC Recruitment. We're here to help you take charge of your future.
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