Preparing for a Performance Review
Performance review time can be nerve-wracking. Much may depend on a positive outcome - a pay rise, a promotion or perhaps a secondment. It may help to remember that many of those tasked with conducting appraisals often do not enjoy the process any more than those whose performance is under the spotlight. Some bosses are too rushed or casual in their approach, perhaps conducting the whole process over a ten-minute coffee. Others are too vague, seeming either to have little idea how their employee has spent the last twelve months or are happy to bestow a general “pat on the back” for “good work”. A third group may over-focus on a project that did not go to plan, while excluding mention of other, more successful projects. How, then, if you are soon to receive your annual appraisal, can you help ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible?
Accept the Inevitable
There is no getting away from performance reviews in most organisations. It is best to accept this and focus on using them as a stepping stone to the next stage of your career.
Think About How You Feel About Your Job
Does it still enthuse you? If yes, a performance review is a great chance to demonstrate this and perhaps position yourself for future opportunities for development. If your role feels lacklustre or you have lost enthusiasm, it may be time to consider whether you want to move on. Alternatively, you may be able to use the review to reenergise things.
Analyse Your Boss’s Approach to Performance Reviews
If your boss has a casual, vague, rushed or otherwise unhelpful approach to performance reviews, think what you want to achieve from the process. Ensure you have filled out any necessary forms and go armed with evidence of your work from the past twelve months. If your boss is enthusiastic about appraisals, try to find out what they tend to focus on most.
Know What You Want from the Appraisal
This is key. A pat on the back and a “well done” may leave you with a warm feeling but this will soon fade if it is not translated into something more concrete. Appreciation for a job well done is important, but it should not be confined to your appraiser’s office. If you want a pay rise, a promotion, some specific training or to take some other particular step, go into the appraisal prepared and ready to set out your case. Do not assume that the appraiser will ask where you see your role taking you. However, do be realistic in your demands.
Ask for Feedback
Aside from any specific goals you want to achieve out of the appraisal, remember to ask for feedback. It is not a given that any will be offered automatically, particularly if yours is a box-ticking type of boss who views appraisals as just another task to get through. Ask the appraiser where they think you have room to develop or improve, and what they would include in a twelve-month action plan. If ongoing development is not a specific part of the appraisal, make it one and draw up a plan for yourself that you can refer to. After all, ultimately it is your career and yours alone.
Piper Fitzgerald is a Specialist Talent Consultancy operating within Audit, Tax & Advisory Australia wide, recruiting only the Top 15% of candidates. If you are currently looking to recruit for your organisation or are interested in current market opportunities contact Simon on email@example.com or 1300 619 510.