Love them or hate them, an appraisal is something you are likely to have many times throughout your career. For some professionals, they instil a feeling of dread. However, if you are well prepared and your manager is engaged with the process, they can be a useful opportunity to discuss what has gone well and what you would like to achieve in terms of career development in the coming year.
The key is to think through what you want from your appraisal in advance.
Back up your claims with examples
It is your responsibility to make sure that you have relevant examples of your work and performance and have collated all the information you will need before going into the meeting. Appraisals can be make or break moments in your career, so it is vital to prepare for them as you would for an exam or an important interview.
Make career progression plans
Start thinking about what you want to achieve in the next five years and whether your current employer is able to help you get you there. Make a point of discussing possible training options, additional industry qualifications you are interested in or how you can broaden your skill base. Consider the experience, training or qualifications that will help your career in the long term.
Offer improved ideas
If you have ideas on improving the role, the team, or a specific process within the business, then this is your opportunity to speak up. You should take this chance to express your interest in taking on extra responsibility. This is a good way of getting ahead, being noticed and showing your commitment to the firm and your position within it.
Stay calm and collected
Above all, remember that a performance appraisal is a business discussion. Avoid emotive language and responses to the constructive feedback you may receive. Focus on factual reasons why you should be considered for a pay rise or promotion, not just because somebody else got it. This is your best opportunity to convince your employer of the value you have contributed to the business and how you can continue to contribute in the future.
Only discuss what is relevant
Do not store up grievances until your appraisal and do not spring any surprises on your line manager. If you have issues that you are unhappy about, it is much better to try and deal with them at the time, otherwise the appraisal could get sidetracked.
Manage your expectations
Be prepared to accept that your employer may not be able to meet all your demands and think about what you are willing to accept. Your employer might not be able to meet all your demands but try and meet them half way. For example suggest an incentive tied to a reward i.e. if you increase your KPI’s by 20% you will be entitled to training in an area that you wish to improve. This way both parties win.
This is a golden opportunity to collaborate with your manager and discuss how you can grow in your role so that you both benefit long term. Be honest in your appraisal as it offers a real opportunity to help you take the next step of your career.
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