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8 tips to pass your annual performance appraisal with flying colours

Set yourself up for success at work with a proper game plan. Career experts tell us what to do to make an impact during your performance review.
 

work appraisal, performance review, work performance, job, career
Photo: 123rf.com

Our experts

  • JASVEER MALANEY, leadership coach at Acquire Coaching, an executive coaching and leadership company
  • ALKA CHANDIRAMANI, global mobility specialist and career coach at Alvo Connexions

BEFORE THE REVIEW

This is the perfect time to think about your current role and your plans for the next work year. Do you want to be considered for a promotion? Do you feel that you deserve a raise? Are you keen to take on more responsibility? For any of this to happen, you have to start by making yourself more visible to your bosses and making your ambitions known.

Here’s what to do

  • Know what’s expected of you

Your key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you measure your progress and evaluate if you’ve met your targets, says Jasveer Malaney, a leadership coach at Acquire Coaching, an executive coaching and leadership company.

Are you on track to meeting most or all of your KPIs? Be honest with yourself. Consider all the areas you feel you are doing well in and other areas you can improve on, and list them out.

Perhaps you are an excellent team player but could do better when it comes to liaising with your clients. Or your leadership skills are solid but your time management skills are not. Then, come up with a plan to address these issues or problems.

 

Also read: 4 ways to make your resume stand out so you can get the job you want​

 

  • Get feedback

If you are not clear about certain KPIs, discuss them with your boss, says Alka Chandiramani, a global mobility specialist and career coach at Alvo Connexions. You should also get feedback on your performance since the last appraisal, and have her suggest how and where you can improve, and her expectations of you in the coming year. Then, try to implement her advice where you see fit.

  • Think ahead and create new goals

Jasveer advises having a clear idea of what you want to achieve in the coming year. If you have your eye on the top job in your depar tment, for instance, find out what it will take to get it. Will you need to take a course or go for training? Will you need to meet a specific sales target? This helps you better plan how to get there.

  • Be in the loop

Find out if there are any changes that will be taking place within your company, says Alka. For example, are there plans to create a new department or new positions within your own department? Is the company expanding or downsizing? This information will come in handy when working on your goals for the upcoming year.

 

Also read: 5 ways to be more assertive at work

 

DURING THE REVIEW

Your bosses will be monitoring your performance more closely in the weeks leading up to the appraisal. So it’s important to stay positive while keeping track of your goals and making sure that you are meeting expectations, says Jasveer.

Here’s what to do

  • List out your achievements

Make time to think about everything you’ve accomplished, no matter how small, Alka advises. Then, list them all out, giving as much detail as possible. For instance, don’t just write that you spearheaded a certain project. Include how you went about it, any relevant figures or feedback from your clients, the outcome, and how the project boosted your company’s bottom line or reputation. Make a note of any awards you received too.

  • Remind yourself about your goals and job expectations

Don’t just set goals and forget about them. They should guide you in your daily work duties, says Jasveer. And ask yourself if you have met the expectations you’ve set for yourself as well as your boss’ expectations of you.

 

Also read: 5 easy ways to manage work stress

 

AFTER THE REVIEW

This is the time to showcase all your contributions and achievements during the work year, as well as discuss your professional goals for the upcoming year.

Here’s what to do

  • Present yourself in the best light

When filling out your appraisal form, offer details about your greatest achievements and contributions during the year. This is the time to toot your own horn, says Jasveer. If you keep quiet, you may miss out on being considered for that promotion or raise.

You may also be asked to share your career goals. List these out clearly and include details about how you plan to achieve them.

Be honest about your weaknesses or shortcomings, or any areas you feel you could have done better. Perhaps you fell short of your sales target, received negative feedback from a client, were responsible for the team’s poor performance, or had trouble meeting deadlines. For each of these, it’s important to include the lessons learnt and how you plan to improve the following year.

 

Also read: 8 ways to improve your focus at work

 

  • Be receptive to feedback and ask questions

During your one-to-one session with your boss, reiterate your successes, contributions and goals in greater detail, says Alka.

If your boss gives you negative feedback or constructive criticism, don’t take any of it too personally, and don’t get defensive. Acknowledge her views, ask for more details if necessary and talk about how you can improve in those areas.

Show that you are receptive to her feedback and open to making positive changes. Any questions you ask during the review should reflect a desire to improve in your role, adds Alka.


Four questions you’ve always wanted to ask

These are tricky issues to bring up, but Jasveer says it’s important to raise them if you want to get ahead.

1. “Is it okay to ask for extra help when needed?”

You may be competent in your job, but every once in a while, you may find that you have too much to handle and not enough people on your team to help you with it. When you talk to your boss about this, tell her how having additional resources or support might help deliver a better outcome. Be specific about the kind of help you need as well, for instance, a bigger budget, or a temporary or part-time team member.

 

Also read: 5 ways to be more productive at work

 

2. “Should I ask what plans the company has for me?”

Where does your management see you in one, three or five years? Perhaps your bosses see some potential in you that you don’t see in yourself at the moment. Knowing where you stand in relation to the company’s long-term plans is important for your career planning, so don’t be afraid to ask.

3. “How honest should I be in a peer-to-peer or boss review?”

Focus on the positive aspects of your peers and boss. It is okay to be honest about any negative aspects that you feel may be affecting your performance or the performance of the team, but do not turn these criticisms into personal attacks or complaints.

 

Also read: 7 work lessons you can learn from your foreign colleague

 

4. “Should I ask for a raise?”

Yes, especially if you have a case for it. So, if you have contributed a great deal over the last couple of years and feel that you deserve an increment, talk to your boss about it. You may even wish to compare your current salary with the industry standard if you feel you are underpaid.

 

This story was originally published in the February 2016 issue of Simply Her.

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