How to get the best out of an appraisal

content appraisal

Prior to an appraisal it is vital to understand exactly what your desired outcome is. Are you looking for more appreciation, advice with a specific project, or coaching on how you can improve?

If in doubt, ask yourself where you want to go in your career (short-term or long-term) and what type of feedback would help.

From there, you can prepare specific questions to ask your manager, such as: ‘what could I do to make your job easier?’ or ‘how could I prioritise my tasks more effectively?’

The positives should get just as much thought as the negatives too. Asking about what you did well is just as important as asking what you could do better – and will not only boost your confidence, but also help you to realise which aspects of your role you should be doing more of.

Pay rises

Negotiating a pay rise is a key aspect of an appraisal, yet it is one that makes many employees nervous.

Chris Willsher, accountancy and finance recruitment expert at Reed, says: ‘In the run-up to making your request, make sure you’ve done everything asked of you – completed all tasks, met all targets and are well on the way to reaching or exceeding your current objectives.

‘Along with evidence of your recent successes, it is also important to consider the future – how will you continue to deliver, improve and grow, should you be given your desired new salary? Knowing what your ideal salary is before your meeting, but also knowing what you’re prepared to accept, is important.’

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Other benefits

If a pay rise is not on the table, there are many ways in which organisations can reward staff. These include bonus schemes, flexible working hours, job title changes, insurance and pension plans, corporate discounts and training opportunities.

All of these have value, so consider options that you would be prepared to accept as a trade-off if your employer is willing to offer them, but not a pay rise.

A key point of appraisals is to help you progress in your career. Asking for help with external courses or internal mentoring, for example, is just as invaluable, as it will provide you with experience and confidence to enable you to progress.

Keeping a record of the feedback you receive at your appraisals will allow you to properly assess your next steps, plan future actions and track your progress.

Then, when your next review comes up, you will be able to prove you took the feedback on board.

Willsher adds: ‘Noting the areas in which you have excelled in addition to constructive criticism is also a good idea. Not only will it keep you motivated, it will also provide you with a whole host of accomplishments to mention in future job applications or pay rise requests.’

Author: Alex Miller, writer

This article was first published in Student Accountant in March 2022

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