November 7, 2015
Our tips on how to prepare for and get the most out of your performance appraisal with no drama, and a checklist to help you get there.
As the year-end is fast approaching everyone could use some guidance on how to prepare for your performance appraisal. We know that it's not a favourite part of your job but it's a necessary evil and it impacts your salary, promotions and - most importantly - career development.
Most of us end up running around during the week of the performance appraisal to collect feedback, update our goals and complete the performance reviews. We don't end up making the most of the process or set a clear plan for the year to come.
To get on top of the process, firstly you must familiarize yourself with the HR performance evaluations guidelines. Find out key deadlines like when you have to update or finalize your goals, collect 360 degree feedback and submit your performance review. Once you know the dates, set calendar reminders to make sure you don't miss any submissions.
Create a list of the items you have to complete before your annual review. We have created a basic list in google sheets which you can download here. This will help you structure your approach and ensure you will not miss anything.
The list covers 3 main areas: Goals, Feedback and Performance Reviews.
Most companies have a goal process in place for their employees. If you don't already set goals in your organization we would encourage you to start doing so as it will give you a long-term vision to keep you on track. Top athletes do it, so why not you? Create a spreadsheet with your goals and next to it add a column for each month and a column for an overall update. We have created an example here which you can use. If you are setting quarterly goals you can use quarters rather than months. We always add the people we work with to achieve each goal as most likely we will be requesting feedback from them.
Create a list of the people from whom you want to request feedback. It's best to limit this number for quality reasons, and you should request feedback only from people that you have worked with directly. You can find a sample here. We have also added columns for 'Feedback request sent', 'Reminder' and 'Feedback received', so you can keep track of the process.
When you request feedback you should include specific questions or a feedback form in your email. This will help you gather structured responses. In most companies a feedback form is pre-defined by HR. If this is not the case we have a list of feedback questions you should ask. Once you have requested feedback make sure you update your list and set yourself a reminder to prompt your feedback providers.
This is the last step in your list. The performance appraisal or review is a time to reflect on your performance based on your achievements and peer feedback throughout the year. Every company has a pre-defined performance review form which, in most cases, is based on company values. When completing your appraisal you should use material from your goals list and the feedback you've received. Try to be as objective as possible and make sure you clearly articulate your achievements and assess strenghts and wesknesses. Stuck for words? We've got 70 performance review phrases for every function to set you on the right track!