All of us go to work every day intending to do our best, knowing we are making a difference and contributing to the organization. However, our version of doing best might differ from our manager’s version of doing best. That’s an annual performance appraisal takes place, the opportunity to get a reality check and to make sure you are meeting the set expectations.
Even if you’ve spent the prior 364 days working your hardest, you’ll have a better, more productive performance appraisal only if you prepare for it ahead of time. You want to be ready to answer any tough questions, demonstrate your efforts, and showcase your achievements during the past year because ultimately, you want more than a pat on the back: that is a pay raise or promotion. This is why we’ll help you with top performance appraisal tips to help you rock your appraisal discussion!
Reasons to Prepare for Your Performance Appraisal
Here are a few solid reasons why performance review and appraisals matter and why you should prepare for it:
- Preparing for your performance appraisal can have a lasting impact on your career.
- Appraisal reviews are designed to ensure you are meeting expectations and goals and to give you constructive feedback to help you improve.
- They are also your opportunity to demonstrate your value and position yourself for advancement or a raise. As technology is rapidly evolving, so too are the skills needed to tackle new types of projects and tasks.
For these reasons, you should view your performance appraisal as an opportunity to let upper management know about your past efforts on the job and what steps you are taking to prepare for newer or more senior roles.
Top 10 Performance Appraisal Tips
Use these 10 performance appraisal tips to thoroughly prepare ahead of time, starting now.
1. Have the Right Mindset
This is definitely the top performance appraisal tip you need. Know that this is not intended to be a time to criticize you as an employee. It’s a chance for your manager to give you the kind of honest feedback that is required for you to keep growing as a professional at this organization. Keep in mind that what is said is for your benefit, not to tear you down. Go into your performance review with an open mind, and seriously take under consideration anything you hear that you don’t like or you disagree with.
2. Evaluate Your Own Performance
The next performance appraisal tip is that you must know and note your work. Did you meet your goals or do something above your beyond? What are your strengths, your weaknesses? In what areas are you excelling and in what areas do you still need to improve? Consider soft skills and qualities as a team member.
3. Gather Documentation
You’re going to be asked about your accomplishments. Be ready with proof. You don’t want to be vague when answering this question. You want to give specific, tangible proof. It might be a presentation you made, an improvement in processes that you were responsible for, a new technology you mastered, another employee you trained or mentored to, or a certificate you earned. Whatever the achievement, be ready to give details about it, even if you’re not asked.
4. Revisit Your Last Performance Appraisal
Mark your progress towards goals set during your last appraisal. Did you get the training you had planned to pursue? Did your performance metrics improve? Did you take on a leadership role within the organization? If you didn’t meet a goal, be ready to explain why it didn’t happen.
5. List Your Short and Long-term Goals
The next performance appraisal tip is all about your goals. This is not only to help you answer questions about your goals during your performance appraisal. It’s also a chance for you to check in on yourself, to ensure you’re advancing in your career by setting goals and pursuing them.
6. Make Sure You’re Updated
The next performance appraisal tip is all about being current. Your employer should know that you care about your field and the organization and that you’re proactive in staying current with changing technologies and best practices. The best way is to get certified, or at least start learning before your appraisal discussion.
7. Show You Want to Keep on Learning
Ask how you can improve, if there are new skill sets you should master, or if you could do more to contribute to the department or organization.
8. Ask Questions
Be ready to ask questions. Make sure they’re non-confrontational, and that they demonstrate you’re expressing your concerns because you care, not because you’re upset.
9. Consider Learning New-age Technologies (Outside Your Field)
Pursuing certifications can increase your knowledge and value, and help you take on new responsibilities at work. Maybe you want to learn new-age tech like AI or data science even though (data is omnipresent, and learning data science is only going to help) that can add value to your current work. Let your manager know your intentions.
10. Keep Track of Accomplishments Throughout the Year
The next performance appraisal tip is all about documentation. You’re likely to forget what you did 10 months ago. Even if the accomplishment seems insignificant at the time, document it for future reference.
How Online Certifications Can Boost Your Performance Appraisal Results
While you’re doing your own self-evaluation in preparation and going through the performance appraisal tips described above, you’ll probably realize the value of continuing your education in order to advance your career. If you’ve earned online certifications throughout the year, you’ll be able to demonstrate to your manager that you are:
- Constantly striving to improve as an employee
- Staying current with changes in technology and best practices
- Proactively setting and achieving goals
- Educating yourself so you can take on new duties and responsibilities at work
- Motivated and driven to advance in your field
- Willing to adapt as the skills needed change
If you didn’t earn certifications during the past year, you can start this year. Your manager will see your level of commitment and drive when you walk into your performance appraisal with a specific list of new skills you’d like to master. It could be that you’re also simultaneously positioning yourself for a raise or promotion by doing so.
Performance appraisals only happen once a year, but the rest of the year hinges on that one meeting, and possibly even the years ahead. Be ready to rock your review by following these top performance appraisal tips and pursuing online certifications that prove you’re just the kind of motivated, driven employee your employer wants to keep around for the long term.