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Preparing for an Appraisal

Employee Appraisal

Whether you're an employer or employee, one of the best ways to evaluate performance at work is through an appraisal. Now, you may see the word 'appraisal' and start to panic - after all, sitting down with your boss can be extremely nerve-wracking no matter how good you are at your job!

But there's no need to worry. Appraisals, also known as performance reviews, aren't about getting told off - instead, they provide a great opportunity to:

  • Discuss how you've performed since your last review
  • Analyse your strengths and weaknesses
  • Set new goals that you can work towards

However, in order for your appraisal to be as productive as possible, you will need to prepare for it. By properly preparing for your appraisal, you give yourself the best possible chance of providing a clear and broad picture of your performance as well as fostering conversations and taking control of where your career goes next.

To make your appraisal go as smoothly as possible, be sure to follow these essential tips!


Appraisal Tips

Gather Information

Before getting started on your appraisal, try to gather some information on your role within your company and the responsibilities that you hold. This can include your job description, competencies, and the goals that were set at your last performance review. These can be used as the foundation for preparing vital details on your strengths, achievements, and potential areas for improvement. Reports can be a great source of material to gather milestones and highlights that you can show off, so be sure to gather these as well!


Put together a list of your accomplishments

From the information gathered above, you should now be able to prepare a list of all your accomplishments. As you do this, however, it is important to relate them to your goals and the things that you might like to achieve in the future. Detail the way in which you achieved these goals so your manager or supervisor can see the steps that were taken. Identify any challenges that may have limited your ability to succeed, as well as any support that you received from others. Locate emails, letters, awards and certificates that document moments of outstanding performance since your last appraisal, and make a note of any development or training activities that you have completed. 

You need to think of this as your time to shine! It's definitely okay to brag a little and to show your superior just how much you have achieved since your last appraisal (in case they're unaware!). Even small achievements can really add up over time. 


Conduct a self-evaluation

Self-evaluations are a vital activity that can help to make your performance review more effective. When done properly, they offer a number of key benefits not just to you, but also to your employer. To get started on a self-evaluation, go through each competency and goal and rate your performance against these. The goal of this is to share your perception of your own performance with your manager before your appraisal takes place. Sharing your ratings before your meeting will help your manager prepare for the review and notify them of any differences in perception that you may have. 


Prepare a list of development areas 

When reviewing all of the above, it's important to identify key areas where you feel that you can develop. Be open and honest about your struggles and do not be afraid to ask for the help, training or support that you feel you need in order to be more successful. Nobody's perfect, and there is always room for continual learning and development.

If you can, do a bit of research: look at training courses and activities that are available through your organisation or third parties that might help you develop the specific skills and abilities you need to improve your performance.


Draft goals

Instead of waiting for your manager or supervisor to hand down a list of goals, take a proactive approach and list some possible goals that you can achieve over the next performance period (based on your job description, your skills and experience, and the goals that your organisation is aiming to achieve).


Have an open mind

This is probably the most important thing when it comes to preparing for an appraisal. As mentioned above, many people panic whenever they hear the word appraisal or performance review. They're bracing themselves for criticism and begin to become slightly defensive - and unfortunately, when we're defensive, we don't tend to listen very well.

It's important for you to go into your appraisal with an open mind and a relaxed attitude. Your ultimate goal should be to listen carefully to the feedback you're given as well as the goals and progression plans that are set out for you.