It is that time of the year again when professionals gear up for their evaluation process and get ready to summarize their performance for the year. Self-appraisal process is an empowering tool that allows you to reflect on your performance and identify your accomplishments, strengths, challenges, and avenues for development. Apart from opening the doors for promotion or justifying an annual hike, the appraisal process also acts as a platform for professionals to discuss their career with the supervisor. But to be prepared to have a productive and meaningful performance review discussion with your manager, you need to have a solid ground for conversation. This is where these tips come into the picture to help you fill your appraisal form that gives your manager insight into your performance and career goals, and foster dialogue about your career progression.
Create a checklist
To get the most from your performance appraisal, it is vital that you have a list of areas outlined that you want your discussion to cover. Having a checklist or structured points that you want to address with your manager will not only give you the satisfaction of a fruitful appraisal but will also clarify any doubts in your mind regarding your position or career prospects. For example, you can create a wish list to discuss: Training, Career Advancement, On-site opportunity, etc.
Refer your performance journal notes
A year is a long time, and people are sure to forget about their work events when the evaluation time comes. So, it is recommended to keep a journal and record your accomplishments, successes, activities, and challenges as the events occur. Having such information handy will ensure that your manager assesses you objectively for the entire period, and is not biased by recent events.
If you've maintained a journal enlisting your performance over the last performance cycle, it would be great to refer the notes before filing your appraisal form. Look out for any trends or recurring themes that can help you in gauging your strengths, awards and accolades, knowledge or skills developed, and specific contributions made during a project or a task.
Articulate your accomplishments
Professionals sometimes fail to articulate their achievements or underplay them which ultimately minimizes the impact of their hard work in front of their manager. It’s okay to talk explicitly about your triumphs and success and relate them to your individual goals and organizational goals. In today’s virtual and remote work dynamics, your manager may not have complete insight into all aspects of your performance on a regular basis. That’s why it’s important to highlight and elaborate on the unknown challenges faced and your efforts that led to organizational success.
List down challenges and areas of development
Don't forget to mention the challenges you encountered throughout the performance period and discuss the opportunities for improving performance. Talking about these two variables will ensure a successful evaluation discussion as it would bring the focus on you and the issues that concern your development. Pro-actively identifying any areas where you want to upskill and expand knowledge and discussing it during the session will help in your career growth and progression.
Acknowledge mistakes — carefully
Your manager would never forget your weaknesses and mistakes anyway and is bound to brood over it during your discussion. So, you can acknowledge your mistake in the form but ensure to mention it carefully by using developmental language. Address your negatives in the past year by stressing on the self-development initiatives that you have planned for yourself. Steering the conversation from your weaknesses to pro-active steps for self-growth will result in a positive appraisal discussion.
Don’t fill your form in haste
People usually treat their appraisal form filling as a task and procrastinate to fill it till the last moment. And when the deadline comes, they fill their forms in haste and miss out on important accomplishments or points that could have had a pivotal role in their discussion. Therefore, professionals should not hurry up in the process and take their own sweet time to do it in advance. It is recommended that you keep a journal where you enlist your accomplishments or areas of discussions, throughout the year.
Ultimately, it's your career, and you need to leverage the performance appraisal to let the management acknowledge your contributions and receive fruitful feedback giving a right direction to your career. You have both the power and responsibility to ensure your career advancement and diligently filling your appraisal form is core to it.
(With the appraisal season not too far, People Matters brings to you a series of articles to help you gear up for the season. Be prepared, '#MarchIsComing'.)