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An appraisal is an excellent opportunity to review progress, establish your objectives, celebrate success and have an open two-way conversation with your line manager. However, if you don’t plan for your appraisal, there is every chance that you won’t get the most from it. Our guide will help you to get organised.
Know the Desired Outcome
As with any meeting, it is essential to know what your desired outcome is from your appraisal process. Essentially, rather than fearing the risk of constructive criticism and negative comments on your work performance, and trying to avoid it, you should view the appraisal as an opportunity for open and constructive debate about your performance. Your appraisal is the opportunity for your manager to get the best from you and for you to communicate to your manager what you need from them.
If the appraisal is well structured, it will give you plenty of time to discuss your achievements and what you feel is working and what isn’t working. You will also review your previous objectives and targets and agree new ones.
Be clear on the process, structure and any paperwork for the appraisal, and be prepared. Also be clear on where you see yourself in the future so that you can have an open and honest conversation about necessary career development and opportunities. Come with prepared examples of things that you have done well, and bring any examples of praise or positive feedback. Remember that the ideal situation is being able to support every statement you make with evidence such as testimonials.
Be upbeat and positive to start the appraisal off on the right foot. Give a concise and accurate account of your achievements and work since the last appraisal. Make sure you have reviewed the previous period’s documentation and are ready to discuss any possible issues that have arisen.
If you receive criticism, show your professionalism by listening to it and responding in a positive way – even if you don’t agree with it.
If you are keen on training and development, bring examples of courses or other structured learning opportunities that you have identified. If you want to progress within the organisation, show it and be upfront. Ambition is welcomed by businesses which are keen to promote from within.
If you are using the appraisal as an opportunity to have a discussion about your pay, make sure you do your research first and establish your value in terms of prevailing local market rates. You can find information about this online from some of the large recruiters that publish annual salary surveys.
Set an action plan to support your next set of objectives, and be very clear about any additional resources or support that you will need to achieve them. Create your own detailed action plan so that you progress these objectives in a timely fashion, rather than waiting until your next appraisal date.
In summary, your appraisal is your chance to achieve some clear outputs: an open two-way conversation with your manager about your performance; a time to establish your priorities and objectives; and an opportunity to talk about your longer-term prospects and value to your employer. Don’t waste it.
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