How to ace your annual review?

So what is it that you can do to make this performance appraisal work for you? Here are some tips.

OddNaari OddNaari Apr 22, 2010

It is that time of the year, and in case your company was bit by the recession then this one's coming after a long wait. Yes, we are talking about appraisal time. The time when your boss sits you down to examine what all you did (or could have done but did not do) and stamps a grade on your performance. This grade is what decides what how much more money you will get in the coming year and other associated benefits like career acceleration etc.

So what is it that you can do to make this performance appraisal work for you? Here are some tips.

1. Work hard: This one's a no-brainer. But a lot of folks still don't get it. Your annual appraisal is a direct reflection of work and results achieved over the year. Supervisors look for consistency in performance. So keep those impromptu office bunks and disappearances from your workstation to a minimum all year through. And follow through all your deadlines, or if you are going to miss them, then inform your boss beforehand.

2. Be Smart: You may have slogged the year through, but your boss may not have a good memory. So before heading for your review meeting create a list of all the projects you completed or mentored. Be honest about your contributions, achievements and state the facts. And back your facts with numbers wherever you can - higher sales figures, more calls taken, costs savings, more feedback comments - whatever suits your profile. Numbers are always difficult to question. Be smart about presenting your achievements in the year. Make a list of the goals you have accomplished for the company. Determine how their accomplishment has helped the company.

3. Seek feedback: Your appraisal time is also a good opportunity to get feedback on your work over the year. Listen to it without getting personal. A sincere attempt to assess your past performance during your appraisal projects a positive image of you. In case you've made mistakes, admit and present a way of how you plan to avoid repeating those in the coming year.

4. Present expectations: If you are looking for a change of role or feel that you deserve a promotion, then discuss it with your boss. There is no harm in presenting your expectations from the organisation. Just be sure to not make it into a cribbing session of what's not right. Be positive and reason out     why you think you deserve a promotion.

5. Salary raise: Want more money than you're currently making? If your goal is to stay in your current job, working for your present employer, you'll need to ask for a pay raise. Planning, research and preparation are important when you ask for a pay raise. So are timing, your employer's pay practices, and the market-based pay rates for your job.

6. Know what's fair and reasonable: You need to look at your work contributions to determine how you will present the request for a pay raise to your boss. Ask yourself why you deserve a pay raise because you will need good data to support your request for a pay raise. Just doing your job does not always merit an out of ordinary pay raise. Rather truly giving the employer superior performance is what pay raises are based on.

7. Don't grovel: A successful negotiation for a pay raise is always based on your merit and accomplishments. It is never based on why you need additional money. While your employer may care about you, providing additional money to fund your chosen lifestyle is not their responsibility.

8. Counter offers: Using an offer from another employer to negotiate a pay raise with your current employer, may not be a good long term strategy. While you may get an immediate hike, the employer hates to be held hostage - and the employer will remember. Future opportunities and plum assignments may cease to come your way.

9. Look to change: Threatening to quit if you don't receive a pay raise is counterproductive and unprofessional. Plus, the employer may take you up on your offer. Instead, quietly and professionally go about your job search, if you think a pay raise merits changing employers.

10. Step up: Annual reviews are not always about pay hikes. Your current and future job responsibilities, work satisfaction, upcoming opportunities with your current employer are all reasons enough to continue with your current employer. Take the initiative to learn new skills and assume added responsibilities without being asked. Such steps could distinguish you and put you in line for higher pay next time round.

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