There are several things you can do as an employee to make sure your performance appraisals reflect your biggest accomplishments and set you up for success in the coming year.

This is a guest post by Brandi Britton.


Often, employees think of performance appraisals as the sole responsibility of their managers, which may be why many workers find them ineffective. In fact, according to a recent OfficeTeam survey, one in four (25 percent) employees polled said the assessments do not help improve their performance. On the flip side, the survey revealed that 89 percent of HR managers believe their organization’s performance appraisal process is at least somewhat effective. Most (79 percent) of the HR managers interviewed also said they schedule performance reviews at least annually.


So, if annual — or even semi-annual — reviews are here to stay, how can employees make them worth their while? Here are 5 steps to getting the most out of your performance appraisals.


  1. Understand the process.

    If this is your first performance review with a new company or manager, ask beforehand what the process entails. Is there a self-evaluation for you to complete? What does your manager’s evaluation form look like? Do supervisors seek input from your peers and other managers who work with you? Will you see a written copy of the performance appraisal so you can digest it before you meet to discuss it? Having a clear sense of the elements and steps involved will help you better understand what your role should be in the process.


  1. Track your progress.

    Don’t wait until annual review time to log your accomplishments for the year. Keep a running list of everything you achieved throughout the appraisal period and note any quantifiable results from your work. This can be as simple as jotting down what you did each week in a Word document. Then, when it’s time for your performance appraisal, review your list and select your biggest accomplishments to share with your manager.


  1. Play your part.

    Even if self-evaluations aren’t a formal part of your company’s review process, there’s nothing wrong with asking your manager the best way for you to share your perspective on your accomplishments, goals and areas for improvement. He or she may ask you to send ideas via email, have a quick chat before completing your performance appraisal, or let him or her know if you have anything to add after the evaluation is finished. Your aim should be to make sure the goals included in your review are aligned with both the company’s goals and your long-term professional ones.


  1. Ask for guidance.

    If you have questions or concerns about the goals or areas for improvement/development your manager has laid out for you, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. After all, the point of performance appraisals is to help you grow, so you need to understand what’s expected of you and how to gain access to the retargets you need to achieve those goals.


  1. Stay committed.

    Once your review is over, don’t just file away the summarizing document you’re given. It’s easy to let performance appraisals fall quickly by the wayside as day-to-day tasks overwhelm your to-do list. But you should revisit your review document regularly and make sure you’re meeting your goals throughout the year. It may be helpful to work with your manager to assign deadlines to your goals so you don’t feel like a college student cramming for a final as your next performance appraisal approaches. Projects take time to complete and career development is a process, so break them down, set milestones and check in with your manager if you feel you need to make adjustments.


And remember, performance appraisals are like any other work-related process: You get out what you put into them. If you keep them top of mind year-round and make the effort to reflect on your accomplishments and goals at performance appraisal time, hopefully you’ll walk away with a blueprint for a successful upcoming year.
Infographic via OfficeTeam 



About the guest post author:

Brandi Britton is a district president for OfficeTeam, the nation’s leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. OfficeTeam has more than 300 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and the OfficeTeam blog.