Top tips to help you prepare for your appraisal meeting


At this time of the year our thoughts turn to our year end appraisals. An appraisal meeting is a great opportunity to have an in depth discussion, with your manager, about your job and your performance. 

Today I am sharing with you some hints and techniques as to how to maximise the benefits of the appraisal meeting. As with so many things in life, you are likely achieve more success if you have prepared effectively.

What are your organisation's expectations of you?

You should start by reviewing the following:

  • Job profile / role description - what is expected of you, what is the purpose of your rol
  • Last year's appraisal - have you acted on any feedback which was provided?
  • Your objectives
  • Training plans - Has this been implemented, if so what have you learned and how has your performance improved as a result of the training?
  • Any interim reviews

Evaluate your performance

To do this, it might be helpful to review your:

  • Performance diary - What comments and notes have you made during the year about  your performance
  • Diaries/emails - These are useful for identifying all the work and activities in which you have been involved and are likely to provide evidence of your performance, including any acknowledgements of appreciation. I find it an enlightening experience to review my diary and I am sure you will be amazed at what you have been involved in or achieved during the year which you had slipped your memory. Highlight areas where you feel there should be recognition for additional work or perhaps reasons for why an objective wasn’t met or partially achieved.

Objectively assess your performance against your:

  • Performance objectives
  • Role profile
  • Job description

Identify your achievements and, for each one, detail:

  • Why it was a success
  • How you contributed to the success, what skills and knowledge did you deploy
  • What you learned

Equally, for any challenges you faced identify:

  • Why it was a challenge
  • What you did to overcome it
  • What you have learned
  • Any changes you have implemented since to minimise reoccurrences

With all of the above it is important for you to be objective and to be able support your views with specific examples and evidence.

It may also be useful to assess your rating in accordance with your organisation's rating system.

Areas of development

A key element of the appraisal discussion is to identify any areas of development. You should consider the skills and knowledge required for your current role and any future role in which you might be interested.

To help identify your development needs it can be helpful to obtain feedback from others. Some organisations automatically include 360 feedback as part of their appraisal system. If you don't have that facility, you might wish to consider obtaining your own feedback. The following method is a very effective but quick and simple. Select a cross section of people who you work with to answer the following questions:

  • What should I keep doing?
  • What should I stop doing?
  • What should I start doing?

If you have specific skills and competences on which you have been working then you could adapt this accordingly.

Of course, it can be unnerving asking for feedback and we often fear the worst, but I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised and you will find it a most liberating and confidence boosting exercise.

Your manager's perspective

Finally, you should give some thought to your manager and their likely approach to the meeting. Areas which you might like to consider are:

  • What is their normal style of communication, do they like the detail or the big picture?
  • What is your relationship like with your manager?
  • What are their objectives? How have you helped them achieve these objectives?
  • Has your manager raised any issues with you during the year, have they been resolved?
  • How do you think your manager will view your performance?

I hope that you have found this useful and, as a result, you will enter your appraisal meeting feeling prepared, confident and eloquent and able to achieve the desired results.

As always please share any thoughts and comments with us.

Next month I will be writing about how to deal with feedback. 


Beverley Lyn's picture

Beverley Lyn specialises in people development, designing competency frameworks, TNA, coaching and mentoring. Developing learning solutions to help people, at all levels, reach their potential. Combining strong technical and industry knowledge to deliver solutions which meet the client's needs

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