A performance appraisal is meant to help employees realise their strengths and shortcomings and receive a compensation accordingly. However, since most of us dread unpleasant interactions with our bosses and abhor the idea of being measured, the process has turned out to be a much maligned event in the calendar. So, how do you ready yourself for the inevitable? First, chalk out what you want to write in the pre-appraisal form. This is not the time to be a wall flower. You owe it to yourself to record all your achievements and present the best picture on record. Your self-appraisal helps the boss fill in gaps in his evaluation and overcome the bias of recent events.
Next comes the ‘make or break’ appraisal meeting. The chat will fall into one of the following five categories and calls for different strategies for the best outcome.
The ‘you are the best’ talk
You are a star performer and your boss has acknowledged your contribution. Now, you need to figure out the responsibilities that you would like to shoulder in the coming year. You should be asking for a promotion or at least an opportunity to make a greater impact in the organisation. Don’t be shy to suggest a lateral move to assume another role or geography that holds better opportunities.
The company is likely to prefer to keep you happy rather than have you seek a better deal outside. However, based on official guidelines, the increment offered to you may not match your expectations. So, press your case or ask for alternatives, such as an award—’manager of the year’ or a ‘fast track’ training programme. Both add to your resume.
The ‘you messed up and I know it’ talk
You have probably missed the targets set in the previous year, taken some wrong decisions or have been part of a failed project. Will you be asked to plan a gracious exit from the firm or will you get a chance to redeem yourself? If there is no discussion on areas of improvement, you may be let go as soon as a viable replacement is recruited. If the conversation steers to what could be done to better it, the firm wants to know if you are lacking in attitude or training. If you are truly uninspired by your work, you are better off elsewhere. Explore other options within the firm and discuss it with your boss. If the attitude is right, but the skills are lacking, figure out the kind of training or exposure that would help you overcome the handicap. Be open to feedback and input on the possible corrective actions that you could take.