Preparing for a performance appraisal can be a nerve-wracking time for an employee. There’s the fear of disappointing your leader and the added pressure of showcasing your work to justify all the decisions you’ve made over the last year. However, many performance appraisals may be a little more daunting for some employees, considering they haven’t physically been in work for over a year.
A key challenge that many remote workers are facing is proving productivity; because we’re not physically in the office or workplace to show leaders what we’re doing with our time, it can lead employees to question their own performance and worry about their future within an organisation. In fact, 64% of UK workers said their work stress and anxiety had increased during the pandemic, with the challenges of working from home resulting as a key factor.
A performance appraisal is essentially a discussion between a manager and employee to evaluate the performance of an employee, facilitate feedback from both parties and set future goals. Although you might feel more apprehensive about your annual performance appraisal this year, here are a few things to consider when preparing.
1. Conduct a Self-Evaluation
Conducting a self-evaluation before your performance appraisal will help you when it comes to showcasing your accomplishments and setting future objectives. Start by writing down all of your achievements over the past year; brainstorm everything you’ve done no matter how big or small. Remember to include things you’re proud of that don’t necessarily relate to your job role; i.e. this could be a time you brought your team together or when you showed appreciation to an employee.
Don’t forget to make a note of your struggles; there have been many changes to the workplace over the past year which has forced many employees to be agile in their working and adapt to a new working environment. It’s important to make sure you don’t dwell on these struggles, chances are your manager will be expecting you to highlight things you’ve found challenging during your performance appraisal and there’s no shame in that.
The last part of your self-evaluation should highlight the objectives and goals you hope to achieve over the next year. Although leadership will have a set of objectives for you to achieve after your performance appraisal, setting your own goals will show a willingness to develop and that you have a full understanding of your role.
2. Use Feedback from Previous Performance Appraisals
If you’ve had a performance appraisal before make sure you take full advantage of what you learnt from it to prepare yourself for the next, by doing this you’ll know what to expect and what is expected from you as an employee. Take a look at the objectives that were set from the previous review and check if the objectives have been met. If they have, make sure that you have written down what you did to achieve them and how you have improved since your last performance appraisal. Alternatively, if some objectives have not been achieved, explore why this might have happened and make a plan of action to achieve them.
3. Think About Goals You Want to Achieve
After completing your self-evaluation and highlighting feedback from your previous performance appraisal, start thinking about the goals you hope to achieve over the next year. Although your performance review will focus heavily on the progress you’ve made in the past, it’s also a time to discuss your future and your career plans.
You may want to progress to a higher level over the year and by discussing this with your leader, they will be able to give you advice on what you need to do to achieve that goal. Remember that everyone has different goals and aspirations and if you don’t want to achieve a higher position over the year, that’s completely fine. Your goal may be to explore aspects of your role even further and develop different skills; your leader can recommend development courses to widen your knowledge.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Give Feedback
A performance appraisal should be beneficial for both parties — so don’t go into your review thinking your leader is the only one that’s going to gain information. Have a list of questions in mind to ask your leader about your performance and what value they think you add to the business as an employee.
Although the review is largely focused on your performance, analyse the performance of your manager prior. Think about how they’ve helped you over the past year achieve your goals, what positive attributes they hold as a leader and think if there is any way they can improve or be more supportive of you in your role. This is also a time to give feedback on the business as a whole, so if you have any ideas on how to improve the workplace experience for employees, make sure your leader is aware of it.
Your performance appraisal is also a chance for you to gain information about the business. You can ask your leader about any plans for the future and also get a perspective of what direction the business is heading in.
5. Do a Test Run
Having a performance appraisal via video call is a lot different than having a face-to-face review. With the lack of social cues and human interaction, video calls require a lot more focus and can cause feelings of stress and anxiety.
If you find video calls daunting, try doing a test run prior to your performance appraisal. Try doing this with someone you feel comfortable with, either a family member or a friend and go through all aspects of the planning process; explain your self-evaluation, discuss your past accomplishments and talk about the goals you want to achieve in the future.
On a Final Note
It would be difficult to find a person who enjoys doing a performance appraisal, they’re tense and stress-inducing but with the right preparation, you can eliminate some of the anxiety that comes with your review. Although it may feel completely different this year, make sure you include these steps in your preparation process to ace your remote performance appraisal.