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MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR ANNUAL REVIEW

An annual appraisal is a brilliant occasion to review your professional progress. However, one mistake many of us make is that we often wait, patiently, to find out what our boss thinks. We don't take time to appraise ourselves and reflect on how we feel we have performed and progressed, what we have achieved and what we would like to do going forward.

What can your company do to help you develop and ensure you are professionally and personally engaged and fulfilled in your career? Whilst some companies hand out self-evaluation forms or similar before your annual review, others tend to take a much more informal approach. Sometimes it might be as informal as a coffee and a chat about your day and if you don't have any questions, let's just keep going as usual. This might seem good and easy, maybe even a bit of a relief for some who dislike these types of conversations, but before you know it, you've stayed static for too long whilst the world around you hasn't stopped moving. One day, you might even wake up frustrated and fed up that nothing has changed, and your employer hasn't done anything about it. Why would your employer do anything about it if they don't have any idea of what you're expecting? Can you really blame them?


So, below are a few questions you should really think about, make notes about, and have ready to take with you to your review. If you have some particular questions you would like your employer to address during your review, it might be worth sending these through to them before your actual review. This will help you get some answers sooner rather than waiting until your next annual review.


Just another quick note, if you haven't had a review in over a year, it's ok to request it. A simple email or short discussion with your boss along the lines of 'I would really like some constructive feedback on how you think I've been performing this past year and what I could develop, does any time next week work for you?' would do. Add in a suggested date otherwise, it's not going to happen any time soon.


QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF AND PREPARE AHEAD OF YOUR ANNUAL REVIEW

  1. How have you developed since your last review? Cover responsibilities (projects and your role in delivering), performance (are you more efficient, producing better quality work etc.,), competencies (skills and knowledge you have developed). 

  2. What are your main areas of expertise and main strenghts? Are you particularly good at finding design solutions to complex problems, managing and coordinating a team, delivering technical packages? 

  3. What would you like to improve or develop further? Skills, knowledge, experience? How can you go about achieving this - what can you do and what can your employer do (training, mentoring, opportunities)?

  4. What are the three main personal, professional and career objectives that you would like to achieve in the next year? These don't have to be something new and overly ambitious, it can even just be sustaining your current lifestyle, but have some goals or aspirations - it's good for you to feel motivated and focused on longer-term results and also, shows your employer you are committed. 

  5. What do you like about your current employer? Your employer would be grateful for this information and it also encourages them to continue. 

  6. What can be improved in your current company? This is both good for you and good for your employer to know. Try not to write an exhaustive list (something's not right if you do) and also, think about whether your suggestions are viable and beneficial for others too. For example, improving communication by having weekly/monthly team calls to review the weeks progress and provide updates on company changes. 

  7. Are there any topics that you would like to discuss in particular? Have you had any distractions affecting your work, do you feel you are due a pay rise, are you curious about the direction of the company going forward? This is your opportunity to ask questions directly. We will cover topics such as how to ask for a pay rise, flexibility, changing teams etc., in the future. 


The above are all things you should think about and mention in your review but you should also always ask your employer some key questions such as, how do you think I have performed, is there anything in particular that you think I could do better, what do you see me doing and working on in the next year, what do I need to do for a promotion, etc., 


That's it. Answering those questions will help you to make the most of your review and guide you to progress in your career and make the right decisions going forward. 


Good luck! 


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GUIDANCE

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR ANNUAL REVIEW

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