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How to ace your performance appraisal

Whether you are a frontline worker, a unionized employee, a manager or an executive, your work will be evaluated by your organization.

This process is called performance appraisal, performance review, performance evaluation or a name unique to your organization.

It usually involves a multi-step annual process that spans several months starting with an initial meeting with your supervisor and ending with a written report.

Such categories as attendance, work efficiency, attitude toward clients, team support, contributions to fiscal goals, commitment to organizational vision and personal accomplishments make up components of your evaluation.

There is often a range of grades assigned such as excellent, very good, good, satisfactory or unsatisfactory.

The final report is normally signed by you and your supervisor and stored in your employee file in Human Resources.

Often that report is linked to your salary increase or promotion chances.

This is an important process and needs to be approached with care and assiduousness.

Usually an employee is regarded as “probationary” in the first year of employment. During this year the employee will be closely monitored by the supervisor with whom several discussions will be scheduled.

A training program will be provided and goals and performance targets will be identified by the supervisor.

A probationary employee needs to take these discussions seriously and work diligently at achieving the goals set.

If unsure, clarifications must be sought and course corrections made. At the end of the probationary year the employee is assessed, and two scenarios may develop.

If the employee has been unsuccessful in reaching organizational standards of performance then the employee may be terminated or placed on another year of probation with stringent supervision.

If you are unionized then contact the union and follow their advice. If the employee has had a successful year then a good grade is entered on the report and the probationary terminology is removed. The employee then enters the regular performance review cycle of all employees in the organization.

As an employee enters this stage of full-time employment it is important to get to know the appraisal process well.

The initial meeting with the supervisor will identify all the stages of the process and the expectations of the organization.

It is important to determine with the supervisor or with Human Resources that the same, consistent process is being used for all employees in your category to ensure systemic fairness. 

So, ask for a template if there is one or the official document format. 

Get to know the components that are used to measure performance.

Politely ask your supervisor for specific expectations and write these down into your daily notebook.

Ask for a blank template and staple this into your daily notebook.

Your supervisor should clearly state what the performance review will measure and you should be clear about any additional goals that you set for yourself. You will be measured on all these parts.

Upon completion of this initial evaluation meeting load the template on to your computer and get into the habit of recording your weekly accomplishments with data and proof that you are doing what you and the organization set out for you to do.

Your supervisor will meet with you from time to time to discuss your progress.

Take your template, data and notes to these meetings. Be prepared to talk about how you are meeting the goals of the organization.

Your supervisor may advise you about course corrections, change of direction or areas you need to improve. Write these down and be sure to clarify before you leave the meeting.

In subsequent meetings your supervisor will continue to provide you with feedback. If you feel that the feedback is harsh, inaccurate or otherwise unfair, try to politely obtain clarification and after the meeting contact your union for assistance if you are unionized or contact Human Resources.

Record the feedback, new goals or your concerns in your notes template.

Most often these differences are amicably ironed out but occasionally these red flags become problems that will impact your final rating. In some cases, Human Resources will intervene and monitor the process.

However, usually the largest percentage of performance appraisals in organizations go smoothly with supervisors satisfied with their team’s work and employees treated fairly.

Remember that the supervisor too is being evaluated to assess the team’s success.

The performance appraisal is a critical component of your work. Be diligent and meticulous and may you experience all the fruits of your hard work.

                                                                                                                                                       – Dr Vicki Bismilla


• Dr Vicki Bismilla is a retired Superintendent of Schools and retired college Vice-President, Academic, and Chief Learning Officer.

Posted: Sep 5, 2019

May 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

© CanadaBound Immigrant 2016