2 months ago -

Ace Your Appraisal: Proven Tips for Success

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Question: I have a performance appraisal session coming up with my manager. What should I do to prepare for it in order to get a good review? Also, how should I do a self-appraisal that puts me in a good light?

Feeling anxious about appraisals is normal. While nerve-wracking, performance appraisals are an essential part of the productivity management process to help organizations and individuals excel. 

The main goals of appraisals are to help organizations:

  • Assess, communicate, and improve employees’ performance and identify areas to improve to ensure their development is in line with organizational objectives.

  • Create a transparent and constructive feedback loop by facilitating open dialogue between employees and leaders

At the end of the day, appraisals are meant to help both organizations and employees excel. To make the most out of your review with your manager, it is important to approach the session with a positive and open mindset. View it “as an opportunity for both personal and professional growth rather than mere criticism,” advises Ms.Thikhamporn Khamkaen, Associate Director of Professional Perm, ManpowerGroup Thailand.

Likewise, managers conducting the performance appraisal should also keep in mind that reviews are not meant to be a one-sided affair, but a mutually consultative feedback session where both employers and employees can bring up issues important to them.

The (Not so) Secret Ingredient to Acing Your Appraisal

Preparation is essential for a productive appraisal session. Prior to your review, allocate sufficient time, at least one to two weeks, to reflect on your accomplishments for the year, the challenges faced and areas for improvement. However, as most appraisals are done annually, it is always good to regularly record your work progress and achievements to avoid missing anything, says Ms. Loan Cao, Operations Manager, Staffing Outsourcing & HR Consulting Services, ManpowerGroup Vietnam, who recommends doing this weekly or monthly. 

Tips for Preparing for The Performance Review

  • Conduct a Self-Assessment: Reflect on your performance for the year and evaluate what you have done well, areas that you found challenging and needed more support as well as your goals for the coming year. Prepare information that supports your points, including quantifiable metrics and examples so that you will come across as being more objective. 

Some questions you can ask to help you get started:

  • What are my key accomplishments and contributions since the last assessment period?

  • What specific skills or competencies have I developed or improved upon?

  • What challenges or obstacles have I encountered, and how did I address them?

  • How have I contributed to team projects or collaborations?

  • What are my career aspirations, and how can I align my current efforts with my long-term goals?

  • What are some of the support I would like to receive from my manager that I think will help me grow?

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  • Don’t Point Fingers: While you are encouraged to provide feedback and share about your challenges, it is important to not turn it into a complain session or point fingers at others for your performance shortfalls. “Avoid going in with the view that ‘I am right, and he is wrong’, otherwise such appraisals would be counterproductive and not helpful to anyone,” advises Mr. Rohit Chattree, Operations Director for Manpower Singapore.  Doing so may convey that you lack professionalism and accountability, even if some of your claims may be valid. It may also indicate that you are not receptive to feedback, which can be a red flag for managers. 

  • Focus on the Next: Employees should adopt a forward-looking mentality during employee evaluations. “Focus on what is next and what contributions you can make for the projects that are ahead of you” instead of lingering on past achievements, advises Mr. Chattree. If you feel that you did not perform well for the year, take accountability for it, and proactively come up with a plan to address performance issues and how you plan to achieve your goals. The key is to show that you’re receptive to your manager’s feedback and seek to improve. It also helps if you highlight the support you need during the session so that your manager is aware and has a clearer idea of how to help you excel and grow. 

As you prepare for your performance review, keep in mind that it's not just a review of past achievements, but an opportunity for growth and development. Here's to your success in your next performance appraisal!