Performance appraisal. Your annual review. This once-a-year process usually involves a self-assessment as well as feedback from a manager.
If this is your first appraisal at this company, find out how it’s typically handled — and what it involves — either by asking co-workers or your manager.
If this is not your first review, get out your information from last year’s evaluation. Prepare by:
- Reviewing the feedback and ratings you received
- Looking at the areas where you scored well last year
- Identifying the areas that needed improvement
- Reviewing your goals and plans from your last review — have you made progress? Have any of the priorities from the previous year’s review changed?
Next, you’ll want to come up with your list of activities, projects, and accomplishments since your last review. Be sure to quantify your accomplishments. Your manager may not be aware of everything you were working on, so preparing a brief summary is important. What does your manager need to know before he or she meets with you?
Also assemble any relevant documentation to showcase in your review:
- Letters or emails from customers, supervisors, co-workers, and/or vendors
- A list of any trainings you’ve completed
- Copies of any honors, awards, or recognition you’ve received since your last evaluation
- A summary of your professional development activities since your last review
Your manager may also ask you to prepare a self-assessment. Some companies provide a form for you to complete the self-assessment. Others may give you some open-ended questions.
The purpose of the self-assessment is to help your manager your perspective on your work performance and accomplishments. When responding to questions on the self-evaluation form, look at the list of activities, projects, and accomplishments you prepared and use that information to substantiate your responses. The self-evaluation form allows you the opportunity to provide additional insight about your contributions as part of the performance review process.
Even if your manager doesn’t give you a formal self-assessment to complete, reviewing your own performance is a necessary part of preparing for your review.
As part of your self-assessment, you should identify areas for improvement or development during the review period (i.e., the next 12 months). These may include:
- Things you’ve struggled with
- Where you’d like to expand your skills, experience, and/or expertise
- What you need — training, coaching, mentoring, a specific course (or degrees), special assessments, job shadowing, or volunteer work
As part of this exercise, you should also prepare your goals for the upcoming year. The goals should be specific assignments to participate in, learning objectives, or aligned with ongoing or future projects.
Your goals should be S.M.A.R.T.:
- Specific: A clearly defined outcome that you want to achieve
- Measurable: Using numbers, specify how you will measure and track your progress towards completion
- Achievable: You should stretch to reach the objective, but it should still be within reach
- Realistic: Consider the available resources you have (time, money, people)
- Time-Sensitive: Set a due date for the achievement of the goal
Another part of the assessment process may be a “peer evaluation,” where your co-workers are given the opportunity to provide input on your work performance.
What To Do With This Information
Ask your manager their preference — do they want to review the information before your meeting, or should you bring it with you to the meeting?
Next week we will look at the review itself.