What Is an Appraisal at Work?

Written by EFP

An appraisal at work can be one of the most nerve-wracking meetings that you will have to face in the entire work calendar. They are an annual meeting at most of the companies that utilise them and they give employers and employees alike the chance to discuss the events of the current year and how things stand at the moment. 

They can be nerve-wracking because your performance for the whole of the previous year can be put under the microscope and examined from every angle. If you haven’t hit a particular stats target, you can be sure that this is the time that it will be raised. Even the most confident of employees can start to have self-doubt approaching this meeting and often build it up in their heads to be a scarier beast than it actually has to be.

Annual Appraisal Meetings

There are several aspects to annual appraisals and they are not only aimed at giving feedback on your performance, they are much more rounded than that but it is what most people focus on. 

Feedback on Your Work

Listen with patience to any feedback that they provide on your work over the previous year and allow them to finish before adding your own comments. If you feel that some of your achievements have been missed out or misrepresented, be sure to mention them. If you feel that your work has been unfairly criticised, you should also let them know that this is the case. 

If some of the office statistics look skewed against you but there is a legitimate reason for them to appear this way, be sure to let your manager know this. For example, another team member deals with easier tasks than you and therefore generates higher case closure statistics than you, whereas you have the difficult cases escalated to you for resolution. 

This means that you look like you generate lower case closure stats on paper but you do much more difficult and time-consuming work. It is clearly comparing apples with oranges to compare you directly with that coworker based on those statistics, and it is unfair to you to do so. 

360 Degree Feedback

Most annual appraisals give the opportunity for the presentation of feedback from the employees as well about how the previous year has played out. This feedback can refer to any aspect of work and can cover the role of management in this. 

Obviously, it isn’t a great idea to provide overtly negative feedback to someone more senior than you about their own performance but pointing out some systemic ways things could be improved and streamlined can actually gain you some brownie points. 

Look at the pain points that you have encountered when dealing with management and other colleagues over the previous year and try to find solutions that can help to reduce any friction going forward. If, for example, you know of a piece of software that would deal with a particular problem, now would be the perfect time to pitch its use going forward.

Career Progression

An annual appraisal is the perfect situation to bring up the idea of career progression or to ask for a pay rise. You should think out what you would like to say in advance and how you intend to approach the request. You should be able to make your case for why you should be promoted or the achievements that you have made in the previous year that merit advancement. Explore all of your transferable skills that make you the ideal person to help to move the company forward and how these relate to what the company is lacking in at present. 

Your manager may come back to you and say that they disagree with your assessment and offer some training and upskilling to you, so that you will be better placed for career progression in time for the next annual appraisal. It is also entirely possible that they will deny your request outright, and this is where you should keep your cool and ask for any feedback on where they think your individual skills gap is that you need to improve before you are at the level required for promotion. If they mention specific areas, try to get their agreement that you will be considered for any posts to come up after your next annual appraisal, provided you have met the suggested targets. 

After the Annual Appraisal

After the appraisal has taken place, you should immediately sit down at the computer and write an email to yourself with a note of what was discussed and the outcomes that were agreed. When this is finished, you should send it to yourself. 

This is so that you have a contemporaneous note (a note from almost real-time) from the meeting which will be time and date stamped and delivered to your email. It is a good way of ensuring that your version of events is listened to if the other party should change their mind on what was agreed at the meeting. 

You may want to send this to the manager that you had the annual appraisal with, asking them to agree that it was an accurate summary of the meeting or you may prefer to keep the email to yourself for the time being. This is entirely up to you. 

If you have been disappointed with the outcome of the annual appraisal, you may want to consider quiet quitting, just doing the bare minimum that you are contractually required to, in order to get by and continue to be paid by the company.

This is what an increasing number of people across the UK are doing in order to take out their frustration on the company. They are often right to be frustrated and it can be hard to maintain your enthusiasm when your boss has shot down your entirely reasonable request for promotion in flames in front of your face. You should decide at this point whether you would like to continue in the job or look for something else.  

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