Posted 19.12.19

Following on from last month’s article, ‘Why Are Appraisals at Work Important,’ this month we are looking at the same question, but from the opposite angle. As the person undergoing the performance review, why are these meetings important and how can you make them work for you? This is an issue for all employees, whether or not you are a minority in your working environment, but can be especially difficult to navigate and especially important for women and ethnic minorities.

Why do appraisals matter for me?

As an employee in a business, the appraisal, performance review, or personal development review, is probably among the only opportunities you really have to focus on yourself in the context of your work. Working in teams, working towards targets or deadlines, and working under pressure can be somewhat anonymising; keeping your head down and ensuring you meet your goals is often the required behaviour. By contrast, at a performance review, you have the opportunity to call out your achievements, demonstrate your personal effectiveness, and equally, to ask for help in areas that you are finding more difficult.

Because of this limited opportunity, it’s really important that employees recognise the value of the appraisal, and understand how being prepared can really work for them. Women and minorities specifically are shown to ask for and receive pay rises at a much lower rate than white men, and a robust appraisal process can address this imbalance, but only with the work of the employees themselves.

What do I want out of my appraisal?

It may be recognition for something that you have done over the review period. It might be support for a problem that you are coming up against, such as additional training or to discuss an alternative working arrangement such as flexible working or job sharing. It might be that you feel you are due a pay rise or benefit for the work you’ve been doing. These, and many others, are valid things to address. The important thing is that you take the time to think about your goals for the appraisal in light of the work you have done in the review period.

How do I prepare for my appraisal?

The way to approach any issue is to prepare properly. Whether you are bringing positive examples and want recognition, or you are bringing negative concerns that you want to be addressed, the steps are the same:

  • Think clearly about exactly what it is you want. Identify the thing you want to address, and how you want to address it. If you come to an appraisal with a solution, you demonstrate the importance of the issue.
  • Do your research. If you want training, have you identified specific courses that suit your needs? If you want to change your working pattern, have you worked through how this will affect your work and the people you work with? If you want more money, how much, and how did you come to this figure?
  • Be prepared to evidence your request. Bring specific examples of your issue, of your work and of the solution you’re proposing.
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Going into the meeting with an all-or-nothing approach is unhelpful, and while negotiating can seem daunting, it’s important to have an idea of what you would be satisfied with if your business is unable or unwilling to grant your initial idea.

Questions? Comments? Your stories about appraisals, successful or otherwise? Get in touch with Helen Addis | helen.addis@cordantrecruitment.com

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