So, this year’s performance appraisal is right around the corner, and there’s a lot riding on this one, like that overdue salary increase you’ve been too afraid to bring up. However, there’s no need to panic. There’s still plenty you can do to prepare yourself.
One of the most important things you can do to ensure your success with a company is to actively prepare for your performance review. Even if your company hasn’t structured in a self-evaluation step into their review process, this doesn’t mean that you have to play a passive role in simply taking feedback and direction from your manager.
If you’re nervous about your upcoming performance review or what it might mean for your career, here are some tips to help you prepare.
Do A Self-Evaluation
Even if it’s not part of your annual review process, it’s a good idea to take stock of your performance before the appraisal. If you can obtain a copy of the same performance appraisal form your manager will be using, this is the perfect tool for assessing your performance, by going through each competency and goal listed.
In addition to using the details from your list of accomplishments and peer feedback to provide summaries of your performance on individual goals, you should also try to list specific examples of your work to back up your self-assessment.
Gather Supporting Information
Start by reviewing your job description and the goals, competencies and development plans set out for you at your last appraisal. Looking at the feedback and ratings from your previous review will also give you a sense of how you’ve grown and developed over the previous period.
Consider any projects you’ve worked on which might help you remember any performance highlights or challenges. For instance, if your role includes developing a member contact strategy across all channels how did you use the customer journey to ensure all members got relevant communication from, stakeholders to old and new members.
In addition to any training or development activities you’ve recently completed, it’s a good idea to make a note of any letters, emails, certificates of recognition, or awards that document exemplary performance since your last appraisal, as well as written communications that might identify challenges or problems with your knowledge and performance.
This information will give you a solid foundation for assessing your accomplishments, strengths and areas for development, and it can also serve as the background for your discussion with your manager during your performance appraisal meeting.
Ask For Written Peer Testimonials / Feedback
One way to get quick and insightful input on your performance and accomplishments is to ask your colleagues for feedback. This is most often requested via email and might already be part of your company’s self-evaluation process.
This feedback, which can be shared with both you and your manager, might reveal particular strengths or development areas in your performance that you were previously unaware of. It might also highlight specific knowledge or skill gaps as well as projects or work you excelled at.
Having this additional information at hand will help both you and your manager get a broader, more objective view of your performance over the entire period, in addition to serving as a testimonial to how well you work others. It will also make your preparation for your performance appraisal a lot faster and easier.
Make A List Of Your Accomplishments
With the information mentioned above at your disposal, you’ll be ready to prepare a list of your accomplishments. As you consider what these are, it’s key to relate them to both your professional as well as higher level organisational goals.
It’s also critical to describe not only what you’ve accomplished, but how, by giving your manager any contextual details they need to understand your performance. This is your chance to shine, especially if you’re somewhat shy around the office; introverts make great membership employees, too.
Rather than focusing only on the last few months, try to look at your performance over the whole review period. It’s also a good idea to think about things from your manager’s perspective.
- What do they already know about you and your performance?
- What kinds of things will they be looking for?
Prepare A List of Areas To Work On
In reviewing your job description, competencies, and accomplishments, also try to identify any areas where you may have struggled, or where others may have noted your performance lacked. You should also identify any areas where you would like to expand your skills or expertise as part of your career growth and progression.
Be honest about your aspirations as well as your limitations, and when you meet with your manager, don’t hesitate to ask for mentoring or training to support your professional development. It would help if you also were prepared to talk with your manager about your career plans and what experience or training you’ll need to realise your goals.
Draft Goals For The Next Review Cycle
Rather than waiting for your manager to assign seemingly arbitrary goals to you, take charge of your membership career by drafting some attainable goals based on your job description or the organisation’s higher level goals. In developing your goals, you might want to look for opportunities to expand your responsibilities, broaden your knowledge, or take on more responsibility. You can review and refine these in your meeting with your manager.
Try to set a few realistic, yet ambitious goals for yourself by considering the following:
- What skills would you like to master by your next review?
- What responsibilities do you want to take on?
- What projects are you passionate about pursuing?
- What development areas would you like to work on?
- What goals would you like to continue to build on?
- What role do you want to shoot for one to three years from now?
Share Your Preparations With Your Manager Beforehand
Ideally, you should share the materials you’ve prepared with your manager before your performance appraisal meeting, as this will help them prepare for your meeting more effectively and will also encourage a more meaningful two-way dialogue about your career. It can also help make them aware of any discrepancies there may be between how you and they perceive your performance, thereby avoiding surprises at review time.
Make the most of your performance appraisal, by making your contributions known and getting meaningful feedback and direction that will help you grow.