How to Have a Productive Appraisal

We are delighted to introduce this month's guest blog from Virtual Business Assistant Kerensa Beech of Beech Business Solutions.

Is it that time of year again already?...

A common reaction to the words “Appraisal Meeting” is an eye roll or shoulder slump with ‘not again’ thrown in for good measure. This is such a shame and all too often these are not the valuable and productive meetings they should and could be.

So what can you do to prepare yourself ahead of your appraisal?

When I managed a large team, and asked them to complete their self-appraisal, a common response was “how am I supposed to remember what I did 6 months or a year ago?” But if you don’t know, how do you expect your boss to know or remember?!

Take ownership to ensure all your achievements are recognised.

I have always encouraged team members to use a blank page in their 'To Do' book or open a draft email at the beginning of the appraisal period. Use this to bullet point or summarise any achievements, challenges you overcame or additional responsibilities you may have taken on during the review period as they happen. Personally, I used to set aside 15 mins every other week to review the list and see if there was anything else I wanted to add. You can then use this as a prompt when it's time to complete the self-appraisal. You may not use all the points in your actual review, but this really helps you recall the big wins and key achievements

If you have regular 1:1 sessions with your manager (highly encouraged!) then use these sessions as an opportunity to talk about what you are working on, what issues you face and how you are planning to resolve them. Ask your manager how they think you are doing, what the key business priorities are, and how can you add value.

Have you learnt any new skills? Have you contributed to any team or business initiatives?

Consider any areas that might not have gone so well. What did you learn from the situation and what can you do to improve this in future? Be honest! It shows you have considered steps to avoid this issue happening again. It also demonstrates you have used your initiative and have problem-solving skills.

What do you want to do to continue developing your skills and role? Ask your manager what else you could be doing or how they see your role evolving over the next 6-12 months.

Are there any training courses you could benefit from? This doesn't have to be an expensive course if there is a limited training budget. There are many free resources out there via webinars and training videos on YouTube for example.

In this fast-paced world of work, it’s not often you get recognition or have a focussed constructive conversation around how you as an individual are performing, and how you could progress further.

The appraisal meeting is an opportunity to ensure your boss is focused on you, and your chance to emphasise and evidence your value and input into their business.

Use it to your advantage!

Essex PA Network works to promote the profiles of PAs, VAs and administrative support staff, and to help people make connections and to nurture their careers.

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