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How To: Handle Appraisals

Posted on 12th Feb 18

Love them or hate them, appraisals are an inevitable part of any professional role. The good news is, with a bit of preparation, you can enter any review meetings with the odds in your favour. VANRATH have pulled together our 6 best tips to come out on top.

Take notes

It can be hard to keep track of everything you do in the course of your day to day duties throughout the year. A fantastic way to make sure you’re equipped for your appraisal is to keep notes on the work you undertake, as you are doing it. Keep records of value you’ve added, the key work you’ve undertaken and any instances of going the extra mile; similarly, keep detailed notes of instances when things didn’t go to plan. Making sure you have detailed, accurate notes means that you’ll be able to speak comprehensively about your own work, without having to rely on memory alone.

Take enough time to full out your appraisal form

Use the notes you’ve made and take time outside your working day to evaluate yourself first. Weigh up your performance objectively- it can be helpful to have someone else look at your notes with you to help give you a second opinion. Using your notes, draw out those elements that best demonstrate you successfully delivering in your role. If you are hoping to negotiate a pay rise, it’s important that you can show how you’re over-delivering at present. Take plenty of time to put your notes together, to have the best chance of a meaningful appraisal.

Prepare for the tricky questions

Had any issues through the year, or not delivered as you had hoped? Review your notes on these matters, and be prepared to talk about them. Managers often use appraisals to specifically target problem areas for improvement. The best way to discuss under-performance? Give a succinct explanation of where things went wrong, and what you learnt to avoid the same issue arising again; we all make mistakes, the most important thing is that you learn from them.

Ask for a pay rise, in the right way

Many people see a performance review meetings as the perfect time to angle for a pay rise. Certainly, this is an opportune time to consider how your salary stacks up against your input. Be wary of jumping straight to a request for an increase though; it’s much better to present the ways in which you’ve taken on more responsibility or added more value first. When your assessor recognises and commends your work, this is the best time to approach the topic of a salary increase. Some helpful openers include:

‘Given the additional responsibility I’ve taken on (include examples), I’d hoped we could take time today to discuss and review my salary and benefits’

‘In light of the changes in my role and increased workload (include examples), I hoped we could take time today to review my salary and benefits package’

Be prepared to ‘upward appraise’, if necessary

Your appraisal is a two-way dialogue, and if you have any issues relating to your work or workplace, that is the perfect time to flag them. Try to be succinct and professional, detailing the grievance, with examples to reinforce your point. Also be prepared to suggest how the issue can be resolved, as it’s likely you will be asked for your input to remedy things.

Set goals

If this is your first appraisal, be sure to set goals so that you have something to reference in your next appraisal, and something to work towards. If you’ve had one before, use the goals you previously set to help structure the review. These can be particularly useful in validating a pay rise, if you’ve over delivered on what was agreed.

Interested in reading more VANRATH insights on how to get ahead at work? Check out our blog on how to become an expert decision maker here.

If you’re interested in making your next career move, you can visit the VANRATH job boards here. Alternatively, you can call our expert consultants on 02890 330250 or email belfast@vanrath.com today.