Performance Appraisals – An Employee Guide

In last week’s blog, Ange discussed performance appraisals and what employers/managers can do to prepare for these with their staff. As we head into the appraisal/review period for many organisations, it is time to turn our attention to what employees can do to prepare. Twelve months can feel like a long period to reflect upon and if you’re anything like me, then 2020, 2021 and 2022 have all merged together! Your annual performance review is a time to stop and reflect, acknowledge your achievements and plan for the future.

To achieve this, here are my top tips to get the most out of the process:

1. Preparation is the key: In order to gain the most value from your performance appraisal, it’s important to allow adequate time to reflect and prepare. With most companies conducting reviews annually, make sure you dedicate time to reflect on your achievements as well as planning/goal setting for the year ahead. Allocate time in your diary when you are free from distraction and can really focus. The review itself will be far more valuable if you’ve adequately prepared and it also demonstrates to your manager that you value the process and are invested in your future with the company.

2. Give feedback, but be constructive: Performance appraisals are often an opportunity to provide feedback or discuss issues/concerns. In many cases, employees may be reluctant to provide honest feedback for fear it may be deemed negative. However, if it’s an issue that is impacting you, it’s important to discuss it rather than letting the issue/concern continue to grow. As most appraisals require a formal document/written responses to be completed prior to the meeting itself, this gives you the opportunity to flag the concern (and your manager time to think about their response). This, in turn, can remove the emotion from the situation, giving each party the opportunity to reflect on the feedback, and therefore, encourages a conversation that can focus on how to improve the issue at hand. Sounds easy, right? Don’t get me wrong, it can still be nerve-wracking to have these types of discussions and it takes courage, but think of the positives that can come from your issue/concern being addressed and potentially removed altogether.

3. Commit to being open-minded: Following on from the above point, it is also important to prepare yourself for feedback. It’s only natural to feel defensive if you’re hearing feedback on your performance that you may not like. However, it may also be an opportunity for you to receive feedback that comes from a different angle and perspective you haven’t considered before. It’s important to keep an open mind, you might not hear all good news, but if you’re given constructive criticism, take it on board and work towards improving. Imagine in 12 months’ time being able to reflect back on feedback that you received and celebrating how you worked on this and the personal growth you’ve achieved since.

4. Salary discussions: Some believe that a performance review and a salary review are the same thing. While it may be possible for a performance review to include a salary review or increase, some organisations may handle these discussions separately. If your company does not have formal salary reviews and you want to raise the issue of a salary increase, come prepared with your reasoning to validate the increase. This may include your performance against set KPIs in your role, research on current market rates and examples of evidence where your performance added value to the organisation.

5. Focus on the future: Along with reflecting on the last 12 months, it’s just as important to reflect on your own career goals and what you want to achieve in the future. Be willing to share what you want to achieve in your career and how your employer may be able to support you to achieve these goals. For example, this may include training opportunities that can further enhance your skill set and add value to your employer or perhaps opportunities for career progression within other teams/divisions in the business. By sharing this knowledge, it can align you and your employer to help you achieve these goals rather than having to look elsewhere for the opportunities.

By using these strategies, I hope it allows you to see your performance appraisal for the tool that it is: A valuable tool to help you to reach your full potential and success in your current role and progression towards achieving your career goals.

Good luck!

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