Ace Your Appraisal

Performance Appraisal is an annual happening which is approached with a certain amount of trepidation by most employees. There are volumes of net bytes spent on deriding this process – for various reasons.

Whatever be the hullabaloo about the ineffectiveness of Appraisals  they are well entrenched in the workplace and an inevitable part of your annual work calendar. That being the case, you might as well make the most of it.

Here are a few minders to make the process work for you and make it easier for your boss to give you the most favourable review. ArtowrkThe Performance Appraisal can be approached in a 3 pronged Manner – Pre Appraisal, The actual Appraisal meeting and Post appraisal. As the name suggests – Pre appraisal lays down the groundwork for the actual Appraisal meeting. It starts with –


Expect the best. Prepare for the worst. Capitalize on what comes. Zig Ziglar 

  Being prepared is half the job done. Here your preparation starts the day you start work. It consists of –

Documenting Your Accomplishments If you have the habit of keeping a journal this is the time to review those notes. Notice any trends or recurring patterns  that reveal any particular strengths, tasks you enjoyed, co – workers or customers you helped, duties performed which were out of your regular job role.

Incase you don’t keep a journal start today. Journal helps you capture details when they are fresh in your mind. DOCUMENT ACCOMPL- ART

Once you have all the details in hand, list down the accomplishments – both the what and the how – the challenges you overcame, the help you received and the things you could have done better. It is  important to connect your achievements to your goals and those of the organization.  Be brief – and stay in the context.

Gather any commendation emails, letters or awards you received since the last appraisal. It is ok to brag a little – after all this is your appraisal. Your manager may not remember every accomplishment of yours through the year especially the many small ones that can add up and make a serious difference.

Self-Assessment Assess your achievements during the year, the challenges you overcame and areas where you felt you could have done better. Think of ways where additional support from the organisation could have helped you in fulfilling your duties, could be better communication or role clarity. Be specifi c in explaining how it can help in making the team you are a part of, more successful.

Look at things from your superiors perspective.  Here, ideally you should use a performance appraisal form your Manager would be using. Go thru each competency and goal listed and rate your performance. Be honest. Finally share this self-evaluation with your superior before the meeting. This will give him/her a heads up on perception differences if any and help him to be prepared.  You might choose otherwise and just keep this self-evaluation for your reference.

Write down your Goals Where would you want to be in a year or two years professionally. What greater responsibilities would you want to take up. Set goals that are meaningful and relevant. The goal you take up should be relevant to the work you do each day. Write down your goals and share them with your Superior so they can be fine- tuned and mutually agreed upon.

The Performance Appraisal Meeting You have done your preparation, documented your accomplishments and room for improvements. You have your questions ready. Now for the meeting.

Ideally you would have shared your preparation with your superior prior to the meeting.If you haven’t – you could do so now. LISTEN ARTWORK

Typically with all this preparation we might have a tendency to get too full of ourselves and somewhat defensive. We can get so absorbed in putting up a good front that we might block any serious feedback coming our way. Or as we brace ourselves to face criticism we might get defensive. In your best interests – steer clear of any such tendencies.

You know your content, you have it all documented – now relax and have an open mind. Prepare yourself to listen to any difficult feedback. We think that we are good listeners but during critical moments we fall short. To listen carefully we should be able to withhold judgement about what the superior has to say. Your listening goal for the meeting should be to seek understanding.  Take notes.             If its ok with the manager try to note down any criticisms that he has to offer. Stay polite.

Salary Discussion Even if your appraisal goes very well bringing up any salary raise request at this juncture might not be a good idea as raises might get decided much earlier. In case you are planning to request a salary increase – do so a week or two before your appraisal is due as then you can – have all the more reasons to use this meeting to justify your request for a raise.

Learning While doing your self assessment you would have come across areas where you would have wanted to improve or get yourself trained. You can bring that up during the meeting. Learning could be not only training courses – it could also be volunteer work, special assignments, reading, joining certain company clubs etc.  anything to help you develop the skills you need.

Post Meeting Within the hour after the meeting jot down key discussion points, any suggestions for improvement or critical feedback that you might have received. If any specific strengths were mentioned-  get everything down in a journal. Any feedback that you do not agree with you can bring it up – by requesting a followup meeting.

Your review is neither the end or the beginning of the end. It is just an inevitable and critical part of your growth process.

To make it easy on yourself make it a habit to check-in with the boss weekly or whenever convenient. Through regular informal discussions you can get real time feedback of your performance and not wait for a annual review to get a heads up.

In closing, your appraisal needs to be one of open communication between you and your manager. Since the stakes are so high it is all the more important for you to go all out to ensure an accurate appraisal.

Hope you find the tips useful.

If you have any new ideas on improving the appraisal process or have any unique stories to share – leave a comment below or drop a line to

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