Performance appraisals can be a stressful experience, but you can make the most of them by seeing them as an opportunity to discuss your performance and highlight the value you have added to the business over the previous year.

Appraisals also provide a perfect opportunity to discuss your future plans, potential opportunities for personal growth and your career development.

Prepare for your appraisal

Preparation is key to feeling confident going into your appraisal. Ensure that you have carefully prepared examples of your work and performance and collated all the relevant facts before the meeting.

Use the appraisal as an opportunity to discuss any work you have completed that has supported senior management or to highlight your performance during quarterly and yearly forecasting.

Don’t be put off if you receive constructive criticism as well. Appraisals can be key moments in your career and as such it is vital to prepare for them just as you would for an exam or an interview.

Consider what you want to achieve

Think about what you want to achieve in your career over the next few years and how your current employer can help you accomplish your goals.

Consider possible training options or additional industry qualifications and how you can gain different experience to broaden your skill base. If you want to achieve career progression, it is important to maintain a future-focused outlook.

If you have ideas on improving the role, the team, or a specific process within your department, then your appraisal is a perfect opportunity to share your feedback. Use the meeting as a chance to express your interest in taking on extra responsibility – demonstrating ambition and the willingness to expand your role is a sure way to get noticed and showcase your commitment to the company.

Be factual

Always remember that a performance appraisal is a business discussion. Remain professional in the language you use and in your responses to any constructive feedback you may receive. Focus on factual reasons why you should be considered for a pay rise or a promotion and what you will need to do if you are going to earn one. Your performance appraisal is your best opportunity to demonstrate to your employer the value you have added to the business and how you can continue to contribute in the future.

Anything that is discussed in an appraisal should not come as a surprise to either you or your manager. Do not store up grievances until an appraisal - these should be resolved as and when they happen. Your appraisal is, however, a good time to review any issues that occurred throughout the course of the year.

Performance appraisals should be a positive experience for you, providing an opportunity to communicate honestly with your manager about your career progression. You should always take a positive and energetic approach to your appraisal. Take ownership of the process and the rewards will follow.

Don't hesitate to contact us for more information or advice from our specialist consultants.

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