Opinion

5 secrets to mastering your job appraisal

Job appraisals may seem like just another meeting that you’re obliged to attend. But they can be fantastic opportunities to push forward your career and upgrade your talents.

Regular appraisals help both employee and the company. You get to discuss your progress and talk frankly about any concerns with your line manager, while they get to keep tabs on the level of talent the company is retaining and the outcome of management and recruitment strategies.

Making the most of an appraisal is all about know-how. Whether you’re in a senior HR job or a busy office support role, you can increase your chances of getting more training and boost your professional skills if you know the ins and outs of appraisal preparation.

So put time and effort into getting yourself organised; there’s no time like the present to brush up on your appraisal know-how:

1.    Dress professionally

Although your line manager might’ve seen you in your favourite jeans or even in your glad rags on an office night out, remember that your job appraisal is a formal meeting. If you work in a traditional environment this could mean a smart outfit or even a suit. But if you’re with a less conservative business such as creative marketing agency, you could probably get away with smart-casual. Importantly, wear something that’ll make you feel comfortable and self-assured.

2.    Look forward to it

An appraisal isn’t an opportunity for your line manager to give you a dressing down! It’s a constructive opportunity to talk about your successes and identify opportunities for professional development. At no time should you or your manager use the appraisal make the other feel patronised or insulted. So there’s no need to be worried or nervous. But the one thing you must be is prepared!

3.    Think it through

When you complete your appraisal form, take it seriously. It’s a fantastic opportunity to tell your boss how valuable you are to the company, so give yourself plenty of time to fill it out. If you want to progress in your profession consider carefully what you’ve achieved since the last appraisal and what you’re most proud of. Also, ask yourself whether your future goals have changed. Your job description and objectives could be helpful in comparing how far you’ve come in the last year or six months (depending on how often you have appraisals).

4.    Always be positive!

When you look back at tasks that didn’t go so well ask yourself why. But don’t dwell on the negative for too long. Instead, note down the lessons you’ve learned and what support you’d like to help you build expertise in those areas. If your manager points out your weak points in the appraisal it should be done respectfully. So return their professionalism, take on board the constructive criticism and discuss how you can move forward.

5.    Discover untapped skills

Your appraisal could unearth skills you’re not using. For instance, if you’re enjoying your accountancy job but would like to help others understand finance, then ask for opportunities to train colleagues or support new recruits. The happier and more content you are at work, the better job you’ll probably do for the business. And that can’t be a bad thing!

When you know what to expect from an appraisal and how to approach it, together you and your manager could come up with a dynamite plan of action! Although it isn’t the time to ask for a pay rise, by working on your skills and taking on new responsibilities as agreed in an appraisal, you could eventually secure a better salary. So it’s seems that an appraisal is far from ‘just another meeting’!