How to prepare for your work appraisal

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Most of us, if we’re being honest, find appraisals boring and unhelpful.

Indeed, according to a recent survey, 55 per cent of workers wish that their companies would completely ditch or at least change the way performance reviews are structured.

What is an appraisal?

Appraisals have come to be seen as an important way for companies to measure the performance of staff.

Big firms have been conducting these face-to-face meetings for decades, but in recent years, they have become far more common across the board.

Now, medium-sized and small employers have also started to integrate appraisals into the workplace.

Whatever you might think of them, appraisals are a good opportunity to reflect on your past and think about your future – and can be absolutely essential for anyone wanting to build a successful career.

How do they work?

There are different types of performance appraisals, but they all boil down to the same thing more or less. For some employees, it seems they are a particularly painful experience, with 22 per cent admitting they were reduced to tears after a bad appraisal, and 20 per cent said they had felt the need to quit their job following a stressful review.

As employees, most of us are going to be involved in them whether we like it or not – so you might as well get the most out of yours. Here’s some tips for doing just that.

Depending on your employer, you’ll probably have annual, bi-annual or quarterly appraisals – although if your job is target-driven, such as telesales, you may even have these on a monthly basis.

What happens during the appraisal?

You’ll sit down with your line manager and have a performance development review – which is exactly as it says on the tin.

After you and your boss discuss how you’ve been performing, the pair of you will talk about existing goals and objectives and set new ones. These goals and objectives will be in line with the overall business model of the company, but there should be a personal element, too.

That means it shouldn’t be just about increasing the productivity and profit of the organisation you work for – it should also help boost your job satisfaction.

How should you prepare?

Preparation is key. Your boss may or may not have done his homework, but be sure you’ve done yours. Arrive at your appraisal armed with evidence of your success. You can do this by asking for feedback throughout the year, learning from it, and taking note of it.

You can also prepare by thinking thoroughly about what your objectives are – they should be along the same lines as those set out during your job interview.

When it comes to setting new goals, make sure they involve you contributing something new and fresh to the company.

And most of all, make sure they are achievable.

Hunter Kelly, EYs head of restructuring for Yorkshire and the North East

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