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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Annual Appraisal

08 Jan 2019

Eileen Moloney

5 top tips to get the best out of your annual review!

One of the traditional rites of the New Year for any employee is the annual appraisal. Some may find them tedious or as merely something that has to be endured. In reality, and done in the spirit they were originally intended, the benefits of an effective appraisal can be fantastic, both for the employee and employer.  So how can you get the most out of your appraisal?

1. Assess your own attitude

Don’t go through your appraisal just for the sake of it. Use it as a springboard for the year ahead and as a tool to progress your career. Your appraisal gives you plenty of opportunities to plan what you want to do in your role, how you want to contribute to the company, where you want to go in your career and (if you’re a manager) how you want to develop your team. This is also a good time to stand back and assess what you want. If you’re genuinely excited and serious about your appraisal, then use it to get what’s best for you and your employer. However if you are still not enthused about the role after assessing what you want, then perhaps this is a great time to consider moving roles. 

2. Make a wish-list prior to your appraisal

Make a wish list of what you want before your appraisal so you don’t forget anything or get side-tracked during the meeting. Do you want guarantees about your future in the company? Do you want more training or specific ownership of a particular project?  Many people simply say they want more money as their only desired outcome from their review and are so focused on this that they then forget to speak about other issues that really matter to them.

You should also ask what other opportunities there may be within the organisation over the coming year. If an employer senses interest, they may well decide to bring you in on plans they have for the business.

3. Prepare for the meeting

As with everything, preparation is the key. Be really clear about what you want out of your appraisal. Collate all relevant information and be ready to show evidence to prove you’re doing your job successfully and are contributing value to the business.

Type up a list of things you want to discuss. Many companies have appraisal forms so ensure that you have completed them. It is perfectly fine to bring in your own notebook with previously written notes so that you can refer back to them. If you do want a pay-rise, make sure you’ve done your research and that you’re aware of both current salary surveys and your worth in the external market.

Remember to be very specific about details so that you can quantify your work and its value to the company eg. “In September, I did X, Y and Z thereby assisting in business development and in improving efficiencies within the department”.  This is your chance to shine and to highlight your achievements throughout the year.

Be prepared to answer questions too, some may be tougher than others. We’ve outlined some examples below:

  • How did you do on the targets set for you in the previous year?
  • What was your biggest achievement in the year?
  • What are your short-term and long-term goals for your career?
  • What part of your job do you like the most / least?
  • What has been the most difficult / challenging part of your job so far and why?
  • What training would you like and what value would you add to the company if you got this training?

4. Two way process

Always remember that your review is a two way process. You get to speak just as much as your manager. An appraisal is supposed to be a dialogue between you and your manager / director. It should not be used as a way of confrontation and any criticism should be constructive.  Employers want to get the best out of their staff and their feedback should be honest so that they can help you improve your performance. Take on board what is said and ask what they feel you can improve upon in the year ahead.

5. Follow-up

While the general rule is that your manager would write up notes from your appraisal and put it in your personnel file, you should also take notes of your own. These aren’t just a record of what was discussed during the meeting but are also an active reminder throughout the year for you to ensure that your key targets are met.  

After your appraisal, set out your plan yourself. Send an email to your manager / director outlining what you’re going to do to meet your goals for this year or how you’re going to take on new responsibilities discussed in your appraisal. This shows that you’re taking your review seriously and you’re actively planning for the coming year, that you’re not just paying lip-service to what was discussed.

The content of an annual review should never be a surprise. By asking for continuous feedback throughout the year, you should be comfortable going into your appraisal. It should definitely not be something that should be feared, instead a process you can use to further develop your own career and potential.

If you would like to discuss your salary worth in the market prior to your review contact Brightwater for a confidential discussion on +353 1 662 1000 or download a copy of our 2019 Salary Survey