Performance appraisal should be treated as an ongoing developmental process rather than a formal once-a-year review. It should be closely monitored by both employee and reviewer to ensure that targets are being achieved. By preparing yourself diligently and demonstrating a willingness to co-operate with your reviewer to develop your role, you will create a positive impression.
To enable you to assess your own performance as objectively as possible, try to view it from your manager's perspective. Make sure you are conversant with the company's assessment policies and procedures. Study the performance appraisal documentation carefully. Go through it step by step, anticipating comments and preparing your responses.
Analyse your agreed performance targets. To what extent did you achieve them?
Consider your job description, your role within the organization, your duties and responsibilities.
Assess your performance in the light of the problems and frustrations you faced. Have you taken on any additional responsibilities or been involved in extra projects? How have you dealt with changes, innovations or unexpected problems? How does your work compare with that of your colleagues? Are there any ways in which can you increase your value to the organization?
Keep a detailed record of your work-related activities throughout the year. Specify your contributions and achievements, your difficulties and frustrations. Ensure that all relevant facts and figures are accurate and readily accessible. Collate the necessary documentary evidence to support your assertions, e.g. e-mails, memos, letters, press releases, newspaper articles, testimonials, etc.. Make a list of all conferences, seminars and training courses attended.
Be open and co-operative with your reviewer. Acknowledge problems, and deal positively and maturely with criticism. Avoid giving the impression that you are on the defensive.
Participate actively and enthusiastically in the appraisal. Listen attentively to everything your reviewer says. Aim for a positive and creative exchange of views.
Having considered your duties, responsibilities, goals and priorities beforehand, you will be in a better position to discuss them in an informed and objective manner. Ask for clarification if necessary.
If you are unhappy about targets or feel that they are unrealistic, say so sensitively.
By documenting your difficulties as and when you encounter them throughout the year you will be in a position during your appraisal to discuss them authoritatively and put them in the context of your overall contribution to the company. Stress how you have benefited from these experiences and have used the knowledge gained to improve your performance. Make constructive suggestions and, if necessary, ask for advice on how best to accomplish your targets.
In anticipation of your next appraisal, be sure to record and implement your reviewer's recommendations.
Think of ways in which you or your department could improve. If you are suggesting the provision of extra resources or specific training opportunities, stress the benefits that will accrue to the company.
Gerard McLoughlin, author of 'Four Minutes To Interview Success', has contributed career-related articles to hundreds of recruitment companies, websites and publications throughout the world, including: USA Today, JobBankUSA.com, US-Recruiters.com, etc.
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