Without an appraisal – a formal document of your progress, status, initiative, impact, performance, and results – how do you quantify asking for a raise, increased responsibility, cross-training, or a well-deserved promotion?
I’m all about the quick read – so here are 7 things you can do RIGHT NOW to prepare for your next evaluation – and yes, one of them is to ASK for an appraisal.
- The ‘I love me file’ (or book). I often work with military clients who have compiled a 2-3” binder of their evaluations, awards, certificates, and training. It is informally referred to as your I Love Me Book. Time for you to make one.
- Spiral Time – Grab a spiral notebook or Google Doc (old school vs. new school) and keep track of ALL your accomplishments, achievements, times you had to take the lead, projects you lead or worked on, and cross-training you completed. This will become a great reference when you are asked to document your accomplishments for your evaluation and in your actual appraisal meeting. The recollection of all the contributions you have made can become justification for a raise or promotion.
- Have your ‘Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years’ response down. Managers often want to know if and where you see yourself in the company’s future. Succession planning is a huge part of company strategy and even if you are unsure if you will still be with the company in 3-5 years, you want to be included in that planning – at least for now. Your response should not be canned, but rather a well thought out plan of improving your performance where you are, growing into the next role, and investing your performance in the company.
- Part of the Big Picture: Speaking of investing in the company, this is where you want to relay your commitment to your position, your team, management (regardless of what level you are at) and the organization. Have 2 – 3 examples of how your work has ALREADY contributed to projects/programs, goals, and successes.
- How have you helped others: Although a performance appraisal is all about you- it is important to demonstrate how you have helped your team members, subordinates, customers, and stakeholders achieve their goals. For example, how did you help a customer who was challenged resolve their issue, correct their problem, or educate them on a new process or service? How did you mentor your staff, set up communication workflows that increased productivity, or facilitate the ability for a team member/subordinate to get promoted?
- What if you don’t have an evaluation on the schedule – at all? Time to advocate for yourself and your career. Ask for an evaluation and be prepared using steps 1-5.
If it just doesn’t seem to be happening, consider creating a word document of your accomplishments – using steps 1-5 and asking that it be included in your personnel file. Just because your company/manager is not conducting ‘formal’ performance appraisals currently, doesn’t mean that they won’t in the future. New leadership or a new manager may decide to ‘do things differently’ so you want to be prepared. This is also helpful in case your company is vulnerable to a merger or acquisition.
Lastly, in case you find that you’re just not as content as you used to be in your job, you’ve reached a glass ceiling, or greener pastures are calling you, steps 1-5 will have you ready for those intense job interviews!
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