The performance evaluation process is supposed to be a time for a constructive, objective and unsurprising discussion between managers and employees. After all, sound feedback plays an important purpose in giving employees a sense of meaning and direction in what they do.
For many, however, the traditional performance evaluation is a dreaded exercise characterized by high levels of anxiety or even emotional distress. Some have ranked their feelings about the experience somewhere between a root canal and the Ebola virus.
Even though several companies have embraced more innovative employee evaluation mechanisms, the fact remains that the majority of companies still utilize appraisal methodologies characteristically aligned with the traditional approach.
Notwithstanding any imperfections of traditional evaluation methods, employees are generally eager to know how they are doing. As a concerned employee, you may justifiably wonder how to improve the experience or maximize the relevance of a performance evaluation. Here are a few pragmatic strategies.
Collect feedback from other sources
Make a list of key internal and/or external clients mostly impacted by your annual performance goals and gather their feedback. This can be easily done by designing a simple survey and distributing it periodically. This information will serve a meaningful purpose by bringing a higher degree of objectivity to the performance evaluation discussion.
Document your goal-related accomplishments
The day-to-day demands of a job may take one’s attention away from what has just been accomplished as they move to the next task or project. Do not fall in that trap. Take the time to document each goal-related accomplishment as they are achieved. This will provide a historic view of your achievements relative to each performance goal.
Take the first step
Provide your manager with a periodic (at least quarterly) “State of My Performance” report and schedule a meeting to discuss. Here you can include items such as the feedback received from other sources, your accomplishments vis-à-vis your goals, clarify doubts on a particular goal, share challenges and obtain guidance. The feedback received here will serve as the starting point for the next discussion.
Act on feedback received
If you are having difficulty achieving your goals or the periodic feedback from internal/external clients reflects a less than expected level of satisfaction, don’t try to advance an excuse – this is easy. Instead, take the responsibility to understand what is happening and work on a solution – this is harder but it will strengthen your resolve, sharpen your focus and, ultimately, improve your performance.
Fred Machado is the founder and CEO of ExcelTrek.