Make your appraisal work for you

Do
you dread your annual appraisal? Well, it may surprise you to know that your
boss probably does too, writes Sue Clarke.

Far
from being a useful tool to gain feedback and motivation from your manager, the
system often fails both employees and organisations.

The
biggest problem, according to research by the Institute for Employment Studies
(IES), is that objectives of appraisals are not understood by the participants,
with managers often lacking the skills and motivation to make them work.

‘In
practice, appraisals can too frequently be stale, artificial or overloaded with
bureaucracy,’ says Richard Pearson, director of the IES.

If
this sounds all too familiar then maybe it’s time to take control. Your boss may
view your appraisal as just another chore but if you go into that meeting well
prepared you could improve your working life, enhance communications between
you and your manager and demonstrate your worth as an employee.

What
should an appraisal be?

Jenny
Daisley, chief executive of Springboard Consultancy, a company that specialises
in personal development training, believes an effective appraisal should be
based on an assertive conversation.

‘Too
often the appraisee feels they have too much to lose by being too open, but to
be effective there must be an assertive conversation, where each side is open
and honest about how they feel,’ she explains. 

When
you have an appraisal with your boss, Springboard recommends you should:

Go
prepared

Have
a sense of all you have done well in the period being assessed and also where
you could have done better. Think about what you want to achieve and then agree
it with your manager.

Ask
for help

If
you have not achieved as much as you or your manager have expected, ask
yourself why. You may need to make it clear to your boss that you need support
be it from colleagues, extra staff or your manager. Could training help you
meet your goals? Remember, asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it
demonstrates that you care about your job and your career.

Appraise
your manager

Use
your appraisal to feed back on the way you have been managed. It should never
be confrontational or personal. But if you feel you have been managed badly use
specific examples. However do not build up a list of complaints to take to your
appraisal. Address problems when they arise and use the appraisal as a summary.

Don’t
discuss salary 

Bear
in mind that an appraisal should be about making plans for the future. It may
also focus on difficulties you have had in your job and there is a danger in
mixing these up with an appeal for more money.

Listen 

Find
out what your manager’s needs are. He or she may not be a good communicator and
you may need to probe to find out what the underlying needs are.

It
may be that the company has financial problems and has to cut budgets. How can
you help with that? Jobs grow and change all the time and just because you have
a job description, that is not necessarily all that you do. Try and find out
from your manager what is it that the business needs to achieve and how you can
play a part in it.

With
thanks to totaljobs.com

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