In a whirlwind of deadlines and meetings, it’s not always easy for employees to take a step back and think about how their job are going. Even roles with a steady, predictable schedule can become comfortably routine.

But your company should find time to monitor and improve individual job performance because it can closely affect your success.

That’s where the performance workplace appraisal comes in. If managed well, the appraisal discussion can be an incredibly positive meeting and not the stressful and dreaded one that it often is.

A well-managed appraisal meeting needs preparation from both the manager and the employee and it can lead to employee engagement and alignment of goals, provide direction to careers and ultimately ensure career fulfilment. Here are a few tips for employees as they prepare for this crucial meeting:

Career conversation

Share your mid-and long-term career vision and goals with your manager. Solicit his/her inputs to build a development plan to support your current and future growth.

Authentic self-appraisal

Be well aware of how much you have achieved against goals for the cycle. Be honest. Take accountability for your accomplishments and misses alike. This approach will add to your credibility with your manager.

Seek feedback

Request and be receptive to feedback from both your management team and peers. Being defensive can sometimes be a default response to feedback; rise above it to get inputs on how you can achieve higher performance.

Goals for next review

Share your draft goals to seek alignment with your manager. Set up a follow-up meeting to finalise the goals, measures and what success in these goals would look like.

Development plan

Share your thoughts on what support you need for your development. You could take the 70:20:10 approach to development where 70% of development comes from on-the-job experiences, 20% through live projects and stretch assignments and 10% through formal training. Draw up a plan and seek your manager’s inputs and support.

Positive participation

Prepare yourself for your performance appraisal meeting by trying to relax.

Your goal should be to listen deeply to the feedback your manager provides, as well as the goals and development plans, they lay out for you.

This will help you approach the appraisal discussion as one in which you will learn something about yourself which will help you achieve greater success.

While the afore-mentioned tips focus on ‘what’ one needs to do in an appraisal discussion, the ‘how’ is equally important. Be open, be positive and most importantly, be calm during this discussion.

Ultimately, it’s your career. You have both the power and responsibility to manage your performance and ensure your ongoing development and success. Make the most of the opportunity your performance appraisal offers to make your contributions known and to get meaningful feedback and direction that will help you grow. Proper preparation and positive participation are key.