How to execute a plan for a good performance review
Via Economic Times : How to execute a plan for a good performance review
Your manager dreads review meetings as much as you do, because it is an unpleasant task to pass judgment on another person’s contributions and compensation. Here’s how you can make it work well for everyone and ace your annual appraisal.
It’s that time of the year that you detest. As the financial year closes next month, you are due for your annual performance appraisal meeting. You dislike being evaluated for the ups and downs of an entire year. However, understand that the review meeting has three goals. Firstly, to give you managerial feedback on what worked well and what didn’t. Secondly, to help you modify your approach and execution and achieve better outcomes both for you and your employer. Finally, to take a call on your responsibilities for the future as well as to decide on your increment. Your manager dreads review meetings as much as you do, because it is an unpleasant task to pass judgment on another person’s contributions and compensation. Here’s how you can make it work well for everyone.
Look up the HR policy. Ask senior members about what to expect, if this is your first review in the firm. Who will conduct your appraisal and when? Do you need to submit a self-appraisal in advance? What are the parameters that will be considered for your salary increment and promotion if any? Once you are up to speed, you can plan the actions you need to take.
Critical incident record
Since the review judges your performance over the entire year, both your manager and you need to review major milestones in your journey. Go through your notes and emails to make a list of your achievements, metrics for their measurement, and how they stack up against the goals and targets set for you at the beginning of or through the year. Don’t forget to log any praise, incentives or awards you may have received for your outstanding work during thi ..
Carry out a mock evaluation of your performance from the perspective of your manager. What were his KRAs and how did you contribute to them? How do you measure up against your team mates whose performance is also being reviewed by him? Is it a company policy to force rank each person against the others? The higher the degree of realism and honesty you bring into the dummy evaluation, the lower will be the risk of you being surprised during the actual review. These insights will also help you plan your contributions for the next year.
Areas of development
Now focus on the second purpose of the appraisal. Think through your shortcomings, how would you like to grow in the coming year and prepare to discuss the areas of development that your manager is likely to bring up. Bring a workable plan to the table and your manager is likely to view your constructive approach in a positive light.
Next year’s goals
What kind of goals do you want to achieve in the next 12 months that are both important to your manager and will progress your career? How will you add value to your team or enhance the contributions of others? List out prospective goals, projects and the resources you will need. Ideally, this part should occupy a major portion of the review meeting and lessen the burden of criticism both for your manager and you.
Prepare your manager
An ideal review meeting has no surprises. This is possible when your manager and you have been reviewing your progress on a monthly or quarterly basis. If that has not happened, bring up the topic of review with your manager right away. That gives him a month to think through. Then, share your preparation with him in writing. This helps him remember your contributions, understand what you are thinking and reduces the burden of uncertainty for you.
Be open to dialogue
Confirm the place and time with your manager in advance. Expect to receive feedback and rehearse how you are going to respond to criticism, tough requests and challenging questions. This is a professional meeting so steer away from emotional responses . Treat the appraisal meeting like any other project review and strive to engage in constructive two-way communication.
Always be closing
The ABC for a salesman is – Always Be Closing. Your approach during the meeting is to seek closure on the past and an agreement on the future. Pick on the points that matter most to you and negotiate on reasonable targets and fair incentives for the coming year. If there is no official record of the meeting, then write an email to your manager thanking him for the meeting and enumerating the goals that you have agreed on. This will serve as a blue-print for your future. In case your manager needs to submit the review to the HR, then follow-up until that is done so that your increment is not delayed.
Dealing with disaster
1. Reality check?
Were you blindsided by a terrible appraisal while you expected a moderate to good review? Firstly, acknowledge your hurt and anger. Once you have calmed down, do a reality check. Speak with trusted colleagues to review your manager’s inputs and be open to acknowledging your errors, if any. Thereafter if you still disagree, you can discuss it again with your manager or the HR.
2. Job at stake?
Did the criticism imply that your job is at stake? If yes, recognise that it is not just a question of your performance alone and that business circumstances may dictate such decisions. Acknowledge that your employer has the right to terminate or replace you, just as you have the right to switch jobs. Plan accordingly.
3. Comfort zone?
Recognise that there is no free lunch. Inaction is not a strategy here. You can either choose to switch jobs or vastly improve your contribution in the present one. Step out of your comfort zone to figure out what the market will pay for your experience, skills and history at your current role. If not, then what’s your plan to up your game and rebuild your image?
4. Fort or linchpin?
There are two sure fire strategies to protect your income stream. The fi rst one is to become irreplaceable in your current role where you construct a fort around your turf and become indispensable. When the cost of replacing you is high, your job is safe, but you will not grow. The alternative is to become a linchpin, where your attitude and people skills make you invaluable for any task.
5. Direction check?
While you are grappling to protect your income, take a step back to evaluate the direction your career is taking? Who do you want to become in next 5 or 10 years? Are you picking up the right skills and experiences to progress in that direction? This is a great time to realign your priorities, make changes and seek a better role.
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