How to Get Maximum Benefit from Your Performance Appraisal
by Duncan Brodie
Most organisations offer some form of performance appraisal process to their staff. While these are designed to be a two way process and be of benefit to the employee, many people fail to seize the opportunity. How can you get maximum benefit from your appraisal?
Appraisals are carried out once or twice a year so there are long periods between them. In the intervening period it is easy to forget all of the achievements and successes. Start a little journal or achievements book to collect your successes, positive feedback and milestones reached.
A good appraiser will give you the opportunity to talk about your thoughts on your performance over the period. Make sure that you carry out your own self assessment a few weeks before your appraisal. Ask your self questions like:
* What have I achieved?
* What have I done particularly well?
* What have learned about my self or my job?
* Where have I really added value?
* What am I most proud off?
* What is my biggest disappointment and what did I learn?
Ask for feedback
People are happy to give you feedback as an input to your appraisal if you ask. If your company does not have its own process, simply send out an e-mail asking:
* What you do well
* What could you do better
* Where do you need to develop
Preparation is key if you are to get maximum value from your appraisal. A meeting about you, your achievements, your development and your career is surely worth some effort. Make the time to prepare, even if it is in your own free time.
Listen effectively and probe
Your appraiser will have feedback for you on his or her perception of your performance. Listen to that feedback and make sure that you understand it. Appraisers are sometimes vague when it comes to feedback, so ask questions and probe to get clear.
Feedback is specific when you can act on it. You are not very good in meetings is not specific feedback. On the other hand you sometimes talk too much and don't let others put their point across is specific. You can look at ways of changing that behaviour.
Get a clear set of objectives agreed
You want to be crystal clear on what you have to deliver and what your performance will be measured against in the forthcoming period. This should include any personal objectives such as cutting down overtime hours.
Read and sign-off appraisal notes
The appraiser will capture a record of the discussion. Make sure that it is accurate and reflects agreements. If not, let your appraiser know what changes you propose. It is not that appraisers go out of their way to make the notes inaccurate. They can just misinterpret something that was said.
Finally make sure you have a copy that is signed by both you and the appraiser that you can use to track progress on objectives.
Appraisals approached well can be of real benefit. So what will you start doing differently to get maximum benefit?
Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements Ltd (G&A) works with individuals, teams and organisations to develop their management and leadership capability. Sign up for his free e-course and monthly newsletter at http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk
Duncan Brodie may be contacted at http://www.goalsandachievements.co.uk