Most of us struggle with the appraisal form. Recalling all past accomplishments, learnings, and challenges in a single day can be tedious. In order to help you get rid of such cluelessness, we have outlined 7 steps about performance appraisal.

To be precise, a performance appraisal (also known as self-assessment or self-evaluation) is the description of your accomplishments at work, in your own words. It is a window for the organization to look at things, through your eyes. So identify your annual performance as per your work plan or KRA (Key Result Areas) to make it a worthy appraisal.

The following steps will show how to highlight achievements in your self-review form. Remember to cite examples and provide just the right amount of detail to your manager, for an assured promotion and salary hike!

Step 1 - Determining how your self review or performance appraisal will be used

Walk up to your HR partner or boss, and subtly inquire about how they plan to use your self-review. Will your review pave way for bonuses, promotions and rewards? Also, you should be clear about who is going to view the form. Whether its just going to be your boss, or whether your skip level manager and company owner want to take a peek too! You can start your conversation like this.

It was my first year in this position, so I am looking forward to discussing my accomplishments with you. I would like to know how my self-review will be used to decide my standing within this organization. Who will be reviewing my performance appraisal form? Also, may I know the criteria for awards and bonuses? I would like to have a meeting regarding the same tomorrow. I can mark off an hour on our calendars for the same.

It is likely you may receive either or all of the following answers.

  • Your performance appraisal will play a huge role in your salary hike and promotion.
  • The self-appraisal you submit now will directly influence your overall annual review as an employee.
  • Your self-assessment will be shared as-it-is with your skip level manager for review.

A majority of managers and bosses hate writing an annual review for their employees. Reason being, most teams are huge and it can be a tedious task for one person to type so much. In case your manager falls into the above category, ensure that your self-review is as detailed as possible so that your boss can simply copy and paste pointers your form into his/her dashboard.

Step 2 - Stressing on your achievements to push for a promotion

Your self-appraisal form is a critical piece of information for the company. It is an opportunity for your boss to look into your achievements as an employee, through your eyes. He/she may not value your inputs much. But always remember that self-appraisals are a mandate in every office and if you have had a great year, this is your opportunity to talk explicitly about your accomplishments.

After I became a part of this team last year, there has been a sharp increase in several metrics. Especially in the last two quarters, I feel my efforts have played a major role in churning out great results. Not only me, but my entire team has worked hard towards the goal. Under my supervision and guidance, we have excelled. I feel motivated and I am sure that I will be instrumental in building many more such productive quarters in the coming years.

Quick Tip: In case there were too many achievements, outline just the best ones. Distinguish yourself as a singular entity, and show how strong your contributions have been with supporting stats. Gather all reports you've created, for example weekly sheets, monthly highlights, status presentations etc.

Step 3 - Acknowledging mistakes to sound genuine

As Henry Ford's saying goes, 'Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary for a worthwhile achievement.' If you have committed mistakes, acknowledge them. Everyone misses a step here and there, or has faults that go unnoticed. You should have one too. So, be honest and mention it, even if it’s only in passing.

Creativity is an area where I would like to focus more. Over the next year, I plan on doing activities that will help me think out of the box. This is what I should do more going forward.
Additionally, I would genuinely want to experiment more and test my boundaries. This is a major take away for me and from what I’ve learned in the past few months.
More than anything, I very well know that my contribution is towards a common goal. The company's business growth is a joint endeavor. Hence, I always work accordingly and will keep doing so for this company, as long as my services are required here.

Quick Tip: In case there were no errors on your part and you had a 100% smooth work year (which is rare), do not force a mistake in. Adding fake negatives into the self-appraisal form might mislead your boss. Be careful and stay genuine.

Step 4 - Mentioning training and development programs

List down all the learning activities you underwent in the past year. Bring them on to the table in your performance review meeting. Ensure that you clearly communicate about being well equipped with competitive tech and that you are not falling behind the competition, rather you are staying ahead of it.

Over the past year, I noticed my software skills needed some upgrade in a particular environment. Hence I completed 3 certifications from ABC training academy. I am aware that our website is constantly evolving, hence I am applying my newly acquired knowledge and skills to execute all the new projects with a fresh boost.

Quick Tip: Don't get caught up in the trap of focusing only on the last few months. Check your mailbox and archive folders for details about long forgotten certifications and development programs you underwent.

Step 5 - Asking what could have been done better

If your manager never offers any useful feedback, this is your chance to poke him/her for some. Take an initiative and ask. You might not like what you hear. Yet, it is always good to know what is going on in your boss's mind. Otherwise, you may be in for some unpleasant surprises soon. See the brighter side, this question might even push your boss to blurt out a couple of compliments!

I would like you to know that I always keep a tab on all the feedback and messages that you share with me. I immediately work on whatever you say to ensure that I am keeping up with the expectations. Honestly, I see this performance appraisal as an action plan for the future. Hence I would like to know from you, what could have been done better by me and the team? What should we do differently next year?

Quick Tip: Absorb constructive criticism like a sponge. Assure your boss that you will work on your shortcomings. Follow up once a month about the same starting the very next month.

Step 6 - Talking about a salary hike

Self-review is the best time to discuss how you will be compensated here on. Money always measures your hard work and success. Confidently bring up the salary hike related point and stress on the fact that you deserve it since you have performed all the steps to earn it.

Last time we spoke, the requirements were clearly chalked out about an employee's eligibility for 100% bonus. I feel I have fulfilled all these requirements. So what exactly should I produce as supporting documents to achieve the bonus? Also, what will be my increment as a crucial part of this team? As you are already aware of my situation back at home, I am hoping to get a raise of xx%. My salary will motivate me to deliver the best and accomplish all tangible goals, as I have done in the past.

Quick Tip: Attach all email accolades and any other appreciations that you have received from your boss, clients, colleagues or teammates with your performance appraisal form (as proof). These will balance and support your case.

Step 7 - Determining your goals for the year ahead

Your goals for the year ahead and beyond should be clear and in line with your team's and company's overall business goal. List them down as a part of your performance appraisal and talk about them during the self-review conversation. Break down the major goals into sub-goals and review them one by one with your manager. Cover as much ground in this meeting as possible. If possible, focus subtly on your long-term career plan as well.

My stint in this organization is an important turning point of my career. In order to make the most out of it, I want to build additional skills like building familiarity with continuous integration tools and getting certified in ABC Tech. (eg. Microsoft MCSE). I would also like to handle a larger team or may be multiple teams as a group manager. Is there anything else you'd like me to focus on? I am sure that this organization is aware of my accomplishments and abilities.

Quick tip: Setting career goals with your boss strengthens your communication with upper management. It also highlights your current work and creates a base for identifiable future achievements within the company.

In a nutshell, your manager will see only two things.

  1. What goals were met?
  2. What goals weren't met?

Unless you want him/her to shuffle you out with a bland, 'Good job! Here's your 2% raise, you may leave!', communicate smartly. Talk all about your performance in the past year very thoughtfully. Use the examples and sample comments as shown above. List your competencies, performance goals, and future development plans clearly. Your final goal is to ensure that you and your boss are on the same page for once, and that is now, during your performance appraisal.

Hopefully, we have inspired you enough to write your best self-review. Now the ball is in your court!

All the best. 🙂

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