Performance Appraisals; Successfully Prepare for One.

Performance appraisals are one of those much-dreaded meetings for any employee. However, they need not be a scary experience for you.

Performance Appraisals; Successfully Prepare for One.

Successfully Prepare For Your Next Performance Appraisal.

Performance appraisals are one of those much-dreaded meetings for any employee. However, they need not be a scary experience for you. Preparation is the secret! If one has prepared well for their performance appraisal, they are not only relaxed during the whole process but are at a higher chance of getting a better review.

If you are wondering what a performance appraisal really is, well in a nutshell; this is simply a time when an employee meets with their line manager or boss to assess their performance; how far they have come; what their future prospects are; the areas they need to improve on and how the company can be able to help them improve.

Regardless of the type of performance appraisal system, an employer chooses to use, one should note that this process, in general, is meant to rate their work performance which in turn affects other factors such as pay raise or one’s career progression.

Knowing how much impact your performance appraisal could have, preparation for it is key because:

  • It  puts you in a better position to attain a positive score as you are much more relaxed and able to answer questions more objectively.
  • Presents you as a pro-active rather than re-active worker. Many employers today seek to have more pro-active employees that are able to move the company forward.
  • Helps you avoid any surprises or if there are, you are still in a better position to handle them. There is nothing much more terrifying than having to handle a surprise question when you are off guard and unprepared.

So how does one prepare for their performance appraisal?

Step 1: Review Your Job Description

The first document that gives anyone information about their job role in terms of their title and the tasks they are required to perform in that job is a “job description”. Getting back to this document helps one to understand their role more, what it entails and more importantly if they have been able to or not been able to carry out their job role as stipulated by your job description.

This step is very important because many supervisors or managers judge employees based on their job description. Therefore, it is important for one to be very well aware of one of the major yardsticks such as this that their line manager will use to assess their performance. This helps put them in a better place to prepare for any questions they could ask.

Step 2: Review Your Previous Performance Appraisals and Journals

One major way for one to show their employer that they are steadily progressing in their career is being able to perform better than they did in their previous performance appraisals.

Being able to perform better begins with one reviewing their previous performance appraisals; how they performed; what areas they needed to work on; have they bettered themselves in those areas and many other factors. By knowing one’s previous performance, one not only places themselves in a better position to perform better on the job way before their appraisal but also enables one to figure out how they can better answer the questions they failed to answer best the previous time.

A better way to keep one’s performance records is by using performance journals. These give one more recent and detailed information about their performance that also helps them evaluate their performance. Keeping and reviewing previous performance appraisals and work or performance journals is very important in the self-evaluation step of any performance appraisal process.

Step 3: Prepare Your List of Accomplishments

Having been able to gather all the necessary information one needs about their previous performance, it is easy to point out their work successes and accomplishments.

Quite often employers will pose the question about what achievements one has had so far. Being able to answer this question confidently with your achievements off head and well detailed not only shows that you are actually honest about your accomplishments but also places you in a more positive light. No matter how small an accomplishment may be, always be sure to note it down in detail. It could set you apart from every other employee.

Step 4: Prepare a List of Your Shortcomings as well

Quite often, there will be shortcomings for anyone as they take on their work tasks. However, these shortcomings do not necessarily mean one is a failure or an underperformer at their job.

Some of these shortcomings could be unavoidable or partly one’s fault. Regardless of the reason for their existence,  being able to cite these shortcomings and reasons as to why they were present portrays one as an individual with a positive mindset. It presents one as open to positive criticism with the aim of becoming better.

Knowing this information also helps one easily answer the questions concerning why they were unable to complete their given task and therefore are better placed to request for any support they many need from their employer or supervisor.

Step 5: Perform a Self-Evaluation of Yourself

While some companies allow for this step before the actual performance appraisal meeting, others do not and it is up to the employee to do it on their own. Whatever the situation, one cannot afford to miss out this step because it is very crucial.

With this step, one usually uses a form that may be similar to or the same as that of the line-manager to also rate their performance. While rating themselves, one needs, to be honest and factual as this is meant for them to give their perception of their performance.

Having evaluated and rated oneself, it is then important for one to share their ratings with their supervisor. This enables the supervisor to bridge any gaps between the employee’s ratings and their ratings during the appraisal.

Step 6: List Down the Areas you Need Improvement

Are there any areas you think you can perform better based on your previous performance?

If yes, what are those areas then and what do you need to help you get there?

Being able to answer these two questions places one in a better place to request for any further support from their supervisor or employer in order for them to perform better. This support could be in terms of training, job shadowing opportunities, short courses to mention but a few.

One of the major objectives of a performance appraisal is how the company can help one as an employee to better perform their job. One being able to clearly cite the areas they need to improve and what they need is one step to fulfilling this objective.

Step 7;  Highlight Your Goals:

Every employer wants to see their employees grow and add more to their company hence have the will to aspire to be better and do more. Being able to highlight some future goals and express them to your supervisor presents you as an employee that is willing to grow and will, therefore, help the company grow.

The most important step to figuring out one’s goals is being able to have both a short term and long term career or work plan in place. Based on these plans, one is, therefore, able to identify what they need to do to fulfill these plans which are their goals.

This step also enables one to assess the goals they have been able to attain as well as those they have not been able to attain and what they need to do to attain them. Growth also means making an effort to continuously set new goals after being able to achieve previous goals.

Step 8; Let your Supervisor Know About your Preparation So far:

Sharing your preparation process with your supervisor not only presents you as someone that takes the appraisal process seriously but also helps your supervisor to also better prepare for this crucial meeting and removes any differences in opinion you both may have.

Step 9; Be Open Minded:

Being open minded helps one answer questions more objectively and without any bias. If one is too negative minded about their performance appraisal, chances are high they will be nervous and therefore will not be in a better position to answer the questions asked.

On the other hand as well, if one only expects the best out of the appraisal, chances are high that they will not be open to receiving constructive criticism hence will tend to be too defensive which is a negative thing.

Being open minded and objective puts one in a better position to celebrate their accomplishments as well as accept criticism to grow in their career.

Step 10; Make a Decision About Whether Or Not To Discuss Pay:

Pay raise is highly associated with one’s performance appraisal. It is usually advisable to make any demands about pay prior to the performance appraisal.

If one follows the above steps closely, there is no doubt they are able to know exactly what pay demands they need to make before their performance appraisal meeting. However, everyone should note that at the end of the day, their performance appraisal will often determine whether they get a pay raise, decrease or their pay remains the same. Therefore, whatever demands or questions one should have should be in line with both their self-evaluation and their performance review.

Following these steps will enable one answer the various questions they will encounter during their performance appraisal meeting confidently without too much difficulty. That said, do note that the success of any performance appraisal is not only in how well one is prepared to answer the questions they are asked but how one actually performs their job. One’s performance on the job is the basis of all this, make sure it is the best.  


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