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How To Smash Your First Work Appraisal

How To Smash Your First Work Appraisal

You have managed to get the career that you want and it’s now time for your first work appraisal. If you are feeling nervous and are not sure what to expect, then we have got you covered. Read on to find out how to smash your first work appraisal.

Work appraisal meetings will be conducted differently within different companies. In some cases, they will be formal affairs and fully documented, in others they might feel more like relaxed chats. It really does not matter which end of the scale your appraisal sits at, as you will need to approach it in the same way in order to smash it.  

Take it seriously

This is important as it needs to be apparent to your boss that you are taking it seriously. 

We are not suggesting that you get anxious over the meeting or build it up to be a huge concern, remember that you already have the job and you know that you are performing well in it. No, what we mean here is that you need to be seen to be embracing the opportunity to talk about your work and performance and are looking forward to receiving feedback, learning development and support. 

Look professional

This is an important meeting and a great opportunity to discuss your career development. This being the case, ensure that you look professional by arriving on time for the meeting, being prepared and dressing appropriately. 

Be prepared

Your manager will have prepared for your work appraisal, so it stands to reason that you should too. You do not want to be passive about your career development and progression, just waiting to be told about how well you do or do not do. This is your appraisal, which means that it is another opportunity to shine and impress.

If you do not already have anything, ask your manager if they can give you an outline of what will be discussed along with any key objectives that you are being measured against. 

Use these objectives as an outline for your meeting and work through each one systematically assessing your work against them. Make notes of areas where you feel you have excelled and jot down plenty of examples. Your manager may well have spotted some of these, but it makes sense to highlight them. Then take the time to think about areas that you are still developing in and what you might want to do differently going forward. If there are any training courses or coaching that you would like, then again note it down so that you can bring it up at your meeting. 

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Put yourself in your boss’ position

This can be such a brilliant way to prepare for your appraisal. You have looked at it from your own perspective, so now you need to put yourself in your boss’ position and imagine that you are preparing to talk through your performance. 

What might your boss want to highlight with you? What do you think they will be pleased with and is there anything that they might be less pleased with? 

If you would like to think like her or him, then take a look over Performance Appraisal Phrases: 100 Helpful Phrases For Employee Performance Reviews to get an idea of the sorts of things that they are likely to say to you. You need to be honest with yourself when considering each area that will be covered.

Have your own questions and suggestions ready

Go into the appraisal expecting it to be a fifty-fifty exchange. You do not want to sit silently for the full meeting, listening to what your manager has to say about you and your performance.

You will have ensured that you are fully prepared, so you should find that you have plenty to contribute to the meeting. Ensure that you understand all of the points that your boss is raising with you, and if there is anything that you are not clear about, do ask for further clarification.  

Throughout the meeting ensure that you are throwing in your own questions and demonstrate that you have thought through your wok by coming up with your own suggestions. 

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Show enthusiasm for follow up actions

You should be making notes throughout your appraisal, of things that you are both pleased with that you should seek to continue doing, and then those things that you might need to stop or start doing. It makes sense to format your notes in this way, as it helps to clarify everything as you talk. 

Create stop, start and continue sections or columns, and come up with a few actions for each of them. The ‘stop’ and ‘start’ columns indicate changes that need to be made and the ‘continue’ will be full of the good things that you are already doing. 

Build in any requests for coaching and support that you have asked for so that your manager is also held accountable for delivering this for you. They should be making a note of these points, too, and you will want to include them when you put together your summary of actions after the meeting. 

When you are finishing up your appraisal, take a moment to summarise everything with your manager to ensure that you have not missed anything and that they are confident that you have taken all points on board. You can agree measurable changes that you wish to see together, over an agreed time period. 

Ask about the next meeting

As a final point, do ask about your next appraisal meeting. It again demonstrates to your manager that you are conscientious and that you see the value of these meetings. 

Get an idea of when it will take place so that you can build in your development plans over the coming weeks, along with relevant support, ready for your next assessment. They are typically quarterly, though some might run monthly, so do check this. 

Thank your manager for their time and help and start working on your plans. 


Top photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash