The holidays are right around the corner. And right around that corner is the annual performance appraisal process that for many of us starts in January. I know, I know, you love performance appraisals, right? I bet you love writing a self-evaluation even more! It’s one of those things you tackle at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning because you are just that excited.
Okay…maybe not so much? Was I exaggerating? Here’s the thing; this shouldn’t be that much of a chore for you. Not if you’ve been keeping track of your performance throughout the year. It really shouldn’t take you hours to prepare. After all you’ve been having conversations with your manager all year and tracking your progress, right? (Crickets.) Ah. I see.
The key here is to manage your own performance. Did you notice I said you should manage your own performance? Not your manager, not your HR person. You!
Here are a few suggestions to work through during the year so you aren’t scrambling in January to get your review done:
1. Keep track of your achievements throughout the year. Remember that project you finished up in March? If you do not have a dedicated place to track this stuff, you are likely to forget it by the time your annual review comes around the following January.
2. Solicit good and bad feedback. Haven’t gotten any feedback lately? ASK. You don’t want to startle your manager or a coworker with “So…How am I doing?” Instead, set up a specific time and mention that you are looking for feedback.
3. What did you do with that feedback? Was it positive or negative? Did you take it with a grain of salt? Did you make a plan to improve where necessary? Or did you throw it out the window and check the box (solicited feedback from others)?
Looking over this list you may think any number of thoughts:
“Wow, that’s a lot of work.” Or “Ugh, I have to start the conversation?”
Yes & Yes. It is some work to track your progress but web-based productivity tools like Evernote are a dream for things like this. Or you can keep it pretty simple with a notepad or a dedicated email folder. And yes, you may have to start the conversation. Some companies train and push their managers to have these conversations throughout the year, others not so much.
Is my advice an extra step in your already busy work life? Yes, absolutely. Will it be a valuable asset when you sit down with your manager at the end of the year and showcase achievements and improvement? Yes, absolutely.
Melissa Fairman is an HR practitioner who has worked in multiple industries and HR specialties. Her experience encompasses performance management, global HR systems, and other generalist work. Her passion is empowering people to help themselves in their careers. You can connect with her via her blog, HrRemix, Twitter @HrRemix, or email.