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10 tips to make the most of your appraisal

March 29, 2014 15:46 IST

10 tips to make the most of your appraisal

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Pramod Kumar Srivastava

Management consultant Pramod Kumar Srivastava offers ten tips that'll help you tilt the outcome in your favour

The mere vision of an appraisal meeting brings a mixture of emotions.

Even if you have done your best, anxiety rules the back of your mind and the next few days, you're worried about the outcome of the meeting.

To control the outcome, preparation is the key.

The better prepared you are, better your chances to tilt the outcome in your favour.

Read on for ten things you can do ahead of your appraisal meeting...

1. Know the process

It is important that you understand the nature of the appraisal in your organisation.

If you are new to the organisation, talk to your colleagues and read the process document. 

In most cases, this document is provided to you when you join the organisation.

2. Know the expectations

Once you have gone through the process, you will have a fair idea of what the organisation expects from you.

Review your Key Result Areas (KRAs) set out at the start of the year and other directions which came from your manager through the past one year.

These are the benchmarks against which you will be evaluated and rated.

The author Pramod Kumar Srivastava is CEO of PKS Management Consultants, a generalist business consulting company based at Bangalore.

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Image: Work on your merits ahead of the meeting and emerge a winner.
Photographs: Reuters

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3. Collect evidence of your performance

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Dig out all the appreciation mails you got from your manager, and customers.

Collect the information about all the awards you received -- your ratings of in-house training sessions and various appreciation mails you received from your peers and juniors.

Dig out various mail exchanges you had with manager, customer and other entities regarding solving some intractable issues.

Do collect some negative mails about your behaviour where you crossed some set standards of the organisation -- late coming, issues with colleagues, issues with client etc.

Please put all these information in a single folder and if possible take print outs and prepare a file.

4. Evaluate your performance

Revisit your self-appraisal form which you sent for this year's appraisal.

Match your actual performance with the set KRAs and other expectations.

It will give you a clear understanding where do you stand against the set expectations.

Review your yearly performance in a holistic way.

Emphasise on the positive results.

Be honest to accept your mistakes and learn from setbacks.


Image: List your performance credits in the last one year.
Photographs: Rediff Archives
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5. List the challenges you faced

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Compile the list of various challenges you faced during the tenure -- related to new technology, new process, new automated system, client behaviour etc.

This list will help you estimate your weaknesses and strengths and in a fruitful discussion.

6. List your future aspirations

Analyse your current job role, aspiration, strengths and weaknesses, avenues available within and outside the organisation.

Accordingly prepare a future career development plan.

You can influence your manager in helping you realise your mutually beneficial plan.

If you are on a career crossroads, you have to plan properly. 

Let's consider, you are working as Technical Leader. In your organisation after Technical Leader there are two streams.

You can opt for a management stream and become a manager or can continue in the technical stream and move up to become an architect.

In such situations you will have to take a definite decision to move into a specific stream, and be prepared to discuss it with your manager upfront.


Image: Talk about the difficulties you faced and how you tackled them.
Photographs: Dadang Tri/Reuters
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7. Think from the management's perspective

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Do a role reversal. Think from the perspective of your manager and your organisation.

What type of employees are given a raise and promoted?

What type of employees are shown the door?

Accordingly, you have to tweak your pitch.

8. Prepare your questions and answers

Think through and prepare a list of probable questions that can come from your manager, and be prepared with your answers.

Also, compile a list of questions you wish to pose to your manager.

You can ask questions related to your strengths, weaknesses, areas of improvement, training needs, promotion, probable career path in the organisation and of course about your salary.

9. Visualise your success

Have an extremely positive outlook.

Relax.

Run through the whole meeting in your mind.

Visualise the smooth sailing during the discussion, you presenting the proofs of your achievements one by one.

Hear the positive comments being showered on you from your manager, the melody of being given higher raise and even a pending promotion.

Visualise thanking your manager humbly and the applause that follows.

Drench yourself in sweet success.

Make the most of the opportunity and create your wonderful future now.

Before I wish you luck, there are some things you must absolutely avoid in the appraisal meeting.

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Image: Put yourself in the manager's shoes and prepare your responses accordingly.
Photographs: Rediff Archives
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10. Do not mess up

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  • Appraisal meetings are not the place to prove you are right and others are wrong. So don't plan to try to win arguments at any cost. Create a positive mind-set about the appraisal meeting.
  • During appraisal season, if possible please postpone your leave requests, have a positive relationship with peers and colleagues, and be a positive influence on your customers or clients. More important, be punctual. These small steps will create a positive top of the mind impression on your manager and it will be good for your appraisal meetings. Even your tiny negative behaviour has the potential to eclipse your huge positive outcomes of the past.
  • Do not panic and react if you apprehend negative rating. In the worst case scenario, (and that is if you know for sure that negative ratings are on your way), I would strongly suggest you to calmly open a parallel thread of job hunt and if possible, switch immediately, before the negative verdict is pronounced. 
  • Don't brood too much about your appraisal. While a little anxiety is normal and helps you in being proactive, be sure to keep it in check. Enjoy your weekends, have wholesome food, go for morning walk and rejuvenate yourself. Take it easy. The day will be yours.

We are aware that appraisal meetings are challenging. But with a well thought out presentation and positive attitude, you can very well navigate through the process and win laurels for you. Good luck!


Image: Ensure you leave a positive influence on your rating manager.
Photographs: IChris Hondros/Getty Images
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