Annual performance reviews (Annual Appraisal) can be stressful for everyone, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Here we share a number of tips to help you to prepare for an appraisal as an employee, they'll help you stand out and make the process more effective for you and you manager alike.

No matter how well you think you're doing, there's a possibility that your boss will see things differently. There are things you can do before, during, and after your review to boost your career and actually help you look forward to reviews in the future. Use the ideas and tips below to ensure that you make the most effective use of your annual review.

1. Keep track during the year

Most performance-review systems operate on a yearly basis. Keep track of your work throughout, so that you can talk about your achievements. Keep a log, or review your e-mail regularly to refresh your memory on the projects, initiatives, and challenges you've managed.

2. Focus on your out-of-the-ordinary contributions

Many employees believe that they'll get a good review and a hefty raise if they simply list everything they did during the year. Guess what? Most of that stuff is what you're already paid to do. A salary increase is a reward for exceptional performance. So when you list your accomplishments, focus on the value to the business. Whatever you did, make a case for your beyond-the-call-of-duty contributions. Doing the job for yet another year is what you are paid for, not justification for an above-average review or pay increase.

3. Show what you've done by being prepared

In most companies the performance-review system includes a template or guide that makes it easy to organise your performance-review case. Sometimes, however, you're on your own. If that's the situation, organise your notes, and create a document that lays out your view of:

a) Your work over the past year, emphasising your contributions.

b) Your goals for the new year.

c) Your needs, that is, the tools, training, and people that will help you reach your goals.

d) Your take on your own strengths and areas for improvement.

4. Stay calm

You may feel uncomfortable, but make sure you stay cool and professional at all times. If the conversation turns into a list of all the ways you've fallen short over the past year, don't argue. It is okay, however, to point out the strengths you've brought to the organisation. This is where your preparation and list of achievements comes in handy. Remember to try and never take what your manager says personally.

5. Ask for your managers feedback

You want to make sure your manager knows how committed you are to doing a good job for them. It may become clear what skills they think you need to work on, but if not, ask them to share with you the areas in which they believes you need to improve. You'll not only score major points for asking, but this may be the most valuable information you get out of your review.

There's a saying that a good manager is one who, in an annual review of an employee, doesn't say anything for the first time. In other words, your boss should have conveyed to you most important feedback in real time, throughout the year. This means that it's over to you !!!!!!

About the author

phil laviolettephil laviolette

Hi!, I'm Phil LaViolette, Founder and Owner of evalu8d. I created resourcily to share hints, tips and resources I've collected over 20 years of training and coaching, across lots of industries and at all levels. I hope that, even in a small way, you gain from the tools I share!