5 Secrets to Getting a Great Performance Appraisal

Karin Hurt and David Dye are keynote speakers and the award-winning authors of Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results Without Losing Your Soul. 

There are a lot of reasons performance appraisals can get wonky. Managers who don’t take the time to get the input they need or are just not paying attention; Forced stack ranks that have glowing words, and a “meets requirements” rating because there were too many other “exceptional” exceptional players in the mix; Or a boss who says, “You write it, I’ll sign it.”

When it comes to performance appraisals, We’re big believers in playing an offensive game. Gather the input you need and help your manager tell the story. You’ve worked hard. Make sure your manager has the data to prove it.

Focus on the MITs (Most Important Things)

Of course, the best way to have a great appraisal is to have a rock star year. To exceed expectations, be sure you know what really matters to your boss. At the beginning of the year, ask your manager, “what would it take for me to have an incredible year—to blow your mind with my performance? What would real success look like?” Be sure to get specific. There’s a lot on your plate. Be sure you understand the biggest priorities.

At the beginning of the year, ask your manager, “what would it take for me to have an incredible year—to blow your mind with my performance?


Meet regularly to check in

We’re big believers in weekly huddles to check in, see more about how to have a great one-on-one with your boss

Bring on the Data

When you know it’s performance appraisal time, make it easy on your boss and organize the data that proves you’re a rock star.

If you started out with a performance agreement, or list of goals and measures, share how you have met or advanced toward these points. If not, you can still take the lead and share tangible results with your boss. Highlight some of your key accomplishments, and remember that the tangible results are the most important part of the performance appraisal.

Focus on Outcomes

One of the biggest mistakes we see employees make when submitting their accomplishments is that they focus on WHAT they did, rather than the IMPACT it had.

How did margin improve as a result of your project? What is the retention and success rate of the new hires you mentored? Avoid highlighting results that just measure activity that is out of context of the larger goal. “I visited 25 locations.” “I trained 15 classes,” are not outcomes.

Share Your People Wins

When we ask our keynote audiences, “What are you proud of about your work here, that you wish your boss truly understood?” The answer is almost universally, “The work I do developing my people” Don’t be afraid to share your people and relationship related accomplishments.

A recent study by TribeHR of 20,000 employees found 85% of the recognition employees receive throughout the year comes from peers, not bosses. And, the amount of recognition correlates to end-of-year raises. Don’t be afraid to include some excerpts of thank you emails and other peer recognition to round out your story.

You worked hard to make a contribution. Helping your manager have the information they need to write a great performance review (assuming you’ve had a great year) is not bragging, it’s useful.

Want new articles before they get published? Subscribe to our Awesome Newsletter.


Advice from top Career specialists


Articles about the Public Sector


Public Sector Trends
Job Search
close slider
Are you looking for a government career? Your journey starts now!

Your Career Search Just Got Easier

Pin It on Pinterest