Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
How to ace your performance appraisal 20/08/2012
Performance appraisals are a vital part of career progression. Make sure you're prepared for yours with these top tips from Michael Page Human Resources.
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- Discussing achievements and agreed objectives
- Appraisals for future career development
- Appraisals and the promotion system
- Points to consider as your appraisal approaches
Discussing achievements and agreed objectives
Your performance appraisal is not just an unnecessary couple of hours slotted into your diary by your manager to make you sweat! If the appraisal is well structured it will give you the opportunity to highlight and discuss everything you’ve achieved recently. You’ll also be given the chance to go over your previously agreed objectives, and propose new ones for the upcoming six months or year. Make sure you take time to identify what you want to get out of the process by preparing a couple weeks in advance.
Appraisals for future career development
Don’t think of appraisal feedback as a personal attack or criticism. The information provided is meant to be constructive and aid your development.
One of the benefits of an appraisal is that it’s a two-way discussion, so don’t go into the meeting unprepared. Decide what issues you want to bring up beforehand. This is an appropriate setting to talk about your career aspirations and what steps you can take to grow within the company.
Appraisals and the promotion system
Appraisals are important for employees, no matter what level you are. They provide a fair way of monitoring your progress, as they include input from both you and your employer. Many organisations also use them as part of the promotion system since reviews like these provide a clear idea of how you’re progressing individually and as part of the larger business.
Points to consider as your appraisal approaches
- Use your last appraisal as a starting point. Have you met the last objectives that were set? If you have met them, think of some new ones to set. If they haven’t been met, why not? Were they unrealistic?
- Outline what objectives you want to focus on and think how you’ve worked towards them.
- When talking about the goals you’ve set and are working to achieve, make sure you support your progress report with specific examples from your work. This is why it’s important to be fully prepared to talk about your successes, particularly if you’ve received praise for your work.
- Be positive. You should be given pointers as to what areas you can improve on. Listen to what’s being said and show you’re taking everything on board by taking notes.
- If you are asking for training, give an example of a situation when you needed the extra skills. Don’t make the point that you can’t cope with higher-level tasks.
- If your work is criticised, ask for specific examples so that you can work on the issues raised. You’re probably not being reprimanded, just asked to improve on something in particular. There’s no need to be defensive; stay positive and show that you’re keen to learn and improve.
- Your appraisal is about you and your professional performance, so keep the subject of the meeting on you and what you have contributed to the company.
- Appraisals are the perfect time to show that you’re worthy of a promotion. Your line manager needs to know if you’re aiming to advance your career, so discuss how you want to progress and the steps needed to achieve this.
- If you’re thinking about asking for a pay rise, find out what you’re worth by researching current market rates. Have a look at Michael Page’s Salary Centre to see industry averages.
- Keep an eye on your objectives; by arranging further meetings with your line manager you’ll receive regular assurance that you’re on the right track.
Jonathan Wiles, MD, Michael Page Human Resources
Jonathan is managing director of Michael Page Human Resources and Page Personnel Secretarial & Business Support in the UK.