They’ve become perfunctory if they ever were useful… The connection to pay has been tenuous. It feels like they don’t matter.
The really good news is that the trend is to move away from the annual performance review. Organizations are recognizing the flaws.
That being said, if you are preparing for an annual review, let’s make it work for you.
The Case for Putting it on Paper.
“It doesn’t mean anything, Mary.” I’ve heard this more times than I can count. My response is, “Do you want to take that chance?”
As an HR professional, here’s what I know. If your organization bothers to ask you for your input into your performance appraisal, do it for your own sake.
It’s better that there is something in your file than not. You never know when a decision is going to be made about your employment based on what is in your file. Take the opportunity to have a say about what is documented about your performance.
A Quick How-To.
Articulate your value in a meaningful way. I’ve seen a lot of lists on performance appraisals, with items like this:
Developed 5 new protocols to process raw materials.
Don’t leave anyone to guess how this is valuable. You never know who might be reading it that doesn’t know all the details.
If you really want this to work for you, mentally tag onto the end, “so that…”
The “so that” is meant to prompt you to describe how what you did benefits one or more of the following: the organization, your co-workers, the business, customers.
Try “so that” and see what you get. Maybe something like this?
I developed 5 new protocols to verify that the variety of raw materials we receive from outside vendors meet our specifications. I designed the protocols in a way that reduces the cost of testing, and is also efficient for technicians. These protocols were necessary so that these high-value raw materials are channeled to the appropriate area, end-product quality is not compromised and waste is minimized.
If you can’t complete the ending to “so that,” choose a more powerful example of your contribution. Focus on the stand-out stuff. Quality over quantity. Describe how you made a difference rather than offer a list of duties.
Shift Your Perspective to Make it Valuable.
I’ll go so far as to suggest you document your own accomplishments even if your employer does not ask for it. Keep it for your own use.
It cannot hurt to have this documented for future reference, whether it is for your employer or for your resume.
No one will ever care as much about your career as you do. Participate as much as your work culture and system allow. If this is the process used, take the long view and make it work for your own purposes.