Preparing for your Appraisal
A successful review takes planning, so use this post to show you the best approach to take for fully preparing for your appraisal and how to handle any negative feedback.
What is an Appraisal?
Appraisals tend to happen annually and allow you and your boss to review and discuss your performance, identify your strengths and weaknesses, establish your professional ambitions and plan how to get you there. Ultimately, by setting agreed goals and objectives, your appraisals should give you the opportunity to grow and build your career.
Large companies will have an annual review process managed by the HR department, but small businesses often operate more informally, but either way, always be mindful that an appraisal is a ‘two-way’ conversation. It gives you the opportunity to tell your employer how you think you’re doing and to suggest ways in which they can help you to fulfil your potential.
The Planning Process
1. Evaluate your performance
Look back at the period since your last appraisal. Think about all your successes and challenges. It is only natural to have a biased opinion of the circumstances, so try to be objective by considering your managers interpretation of events.
2. Plan your goals
What are your objectives of your appraisal? Think about your career goals, opportunities, and the potential challenges. How can your manager help you succeed? Are there any planned projects that would help you prepare for the future? What training or development opportunities would benefit you?
3. Your managers perspective
Try to consider your managers perspective, what do they think about your past performance and future goals. This will help you to predict the course of the discussion and plan your approach.
4. Anticipate potential disagreements
If there have been some areas of contention or if you and your boss have had different opinions on certain issues, then this will probably be brought up so you need to decide how to handle it. As managers control the appraisal process, arguing your point will not help your cause. It’s best to try and work towards a common goal or acknowledge your differences by agreeing to disagree.
5. Consider what you are worth
Do you feel you are due a pay rise? This is often a difficult conversation to have, therefore consider the best time to ask. Pay increases are usually determined prior to the appraisal so you might want to broach this subject before it takes place.
6. Set your own agenda when preparing for your appraisal
Try to develop a discussion plan. Although your manager controls the appraisal conversation, you can also initiate topics. Before your appraisal, make a list of everything you hope to cover.
Review your performance since your last appraisal by considering the following questions;-
What task/s have you enjoyed the most and how has it affected your performance?
What do you conisder to be your best achievements?
What training do you think you need that would help you to achieve more?
What elements of your role do you find the most challenging?
What support do you currently need from your manager that you aren’t already receiving?
What are your career aspirations for the next 12 months?
How do you think your manager feels about your performance since your last review?
Handling Negative Feedback
It is inevitable that you will receive feedback during your appraisal—some positive and some negative. And while negative feedback may not be harmful to your career progression, an unwillingness to accept it and take the appropriate action will.
So, if during your appraisal you receive less-than-desirable feedback, embrace it! It will be tough to hear but try not to be defensive, address the situation and grow from it. If you can learn to accept negative feedback as helpful, not hurtful, and adjust your reaction accordingly, only good will come from it. Read these helpful tips to help you deal with negative feedback.
- Pause before you react
When receiving negative feedback, you will naturally want to defend yourself. Remaining calm and composed helps you deal better with the feedback. Reacting defensively will speak more about you as a person than the feedback itself.
- Accept responsibility
Feedback is the main avenue toward growth, so respond to the feedback with openness and willingness. Accept and thank your manager for their feedback and demonstrate that you are ready to make a change. Once you are at a point of gratitude for the feedback, you will be able to learn and grow.
- It’s not personal
Accepting and using negative feedback is greatly determined by how you perceive it. Try to view it as ‘information received’ rather than an ‘attack of your character’. The more emotional you make it, the harder it will be to make good.
- Face reality
When faced with a setback, we tend to argue with the reality of the situation and begin to create our own story —a story that often features ourselves as the victim, with everyone out to get us. Don’t argue with the facts as this is a complete waste of your time and energy, understand the feedback and take action to quickly improve your performance and rebuild your credibility.
Allow yourself sufficient time to prepare for your appraisal properly and good luck!