How I plan to use my appraisal feedback to set really meaningful goals.

How I plan to use my appraisal feedback to set really meaningful goals.

Like most employees at this time of year, I completed my annual 360 degree appraisal a few weeks ago (using Carbon360 of course!), and yesterday I had my feedback meeting.

My manager, myself and five of my peers commented on my work over the previous year. And I was very pleased with the feedback given, as were the rest of the Carbon360 team. Myself and my manager went over the scores and compared them to the scores I had given myself.

At the end of each section we looked at the comments my peers had given and discussed how both my manager and I felt about those comments.

Overall, the meeting was very positive, and I left feeling that my work had been noticed and appreciated, and (as is the intention of good appraisals) I left with a number of thoughts and ideas about areas in which I would like to improve, skills I would like to gain, and career goals I would like to work towards in the coming year.

I agreed with my manager that we would meet again in mid-January to discuss and set out a number of goals that should be my focus. I am really looking forward to meeting up again to make plans about how to achieve my aims in 2013.

However, it is not just appraisals that get people thinking about the things they would like to achieve at this time of year.

The beginning of the year is like a clean slate – a time that usually follows a few days off work, where people have time to step away, relax, and really think about the previous year. Also, career goals often do not exist completely independently of the goals you wish to achieve in your life outside work. As the year winds to a close, people naturally reflect on what they have achieved and what they would like to achieve, as well as thinking about opportunities that they may have missed. It is also often a time at which people re-evaluate their work/life balance and consider how their current job fits in with what they would like to be doing and achieving in the longer term.

That is why it is important for employers to really discuss and work with their staff to set meaningful goals that consider both the employees needs and those of the business – that is if they wish to retain their talent! It is so important that HR and managers do not simply sit back and relax now that appraisals and feedback meetings are done and dusted. It is what you do with that feedback that really counts.

I am going to share with you some of the feedback that I gained from my appraisal, and why I think I can turn that feedback into something positive –a list of genuinely challenging and achievable goals for 2013.

So many people set themselves goals for the sake of it at this time of year, or make their goals either too over-arching or narrow focusing. For example, you can set yourself a goal to work harder, or be a better employee, but the question is how? Conversely, you can set yourself a very specific goal without really considering why or whether that goal will be helpful in a larger, career building sense.

The thing I found about my appraisal this year is that it raised a number of issues I already knew I had, but hadn’t addressed or truly acknowledged.

It was really useful to hear that my manager and peers had also noticed issues I always knew were there, and I felt a sort of reassurance in their willingness to help and support me to improve in these areas. Having these issues mentioned by other people forced me to acknowledge them, get my head out of the sand, and think about what I am going to do to change and improve upon them.

So here goes, confession time!

I hope this advice is useful, and helps you to see why honest and anonymous feedback can be so valuable, and that even feedback that can initially seem ‘negative’ is actually an opportunity - an opportunity to set yourself really meaningful, achievable goals on which to work in the coming year.

One thing that came up repeatedly in the feedback I was given was a lack of confidence in my own ability, and a difficulty in confidently articulating ideas and information to others. This is something that I have known I struggle with for some time.

However, I always had an underlying fear that my inability to articulate myself confidently was due to my own underlying suspicions that my work wasn’t good enough. The feedback from my 360  made me feel positive about the quality of my work. I am now determined to think the presentation of my ideas through, and to slow down in my explanations.

Practicing to stop, think and then speak rather than nervously babbling will be much easier to achieve now I know my peers have faith in my abilities and are there to support me. This will also make it easier to progress in my career, as having faith in your ability as well as the confidence to articulate concisely what you mean is an important skill for career progression in most sectors.

We will use Carbon360 Performance in the new-year to set goals and targets which both my managers, members of the team and I will be able to easily track and report back on.

As with everything in performance management, communication is the key to success.

By making sure that I report on my goals and keep that communication going throughout the year I can both keep progressing with those goals and can track and monitor my improvement and alert my peers about any difficulties I may be having. I am looking forward to meeting with my manager again in the new-year to decide on the goals I will be working towards, and to discuss what direction my career will take and how I fit into the company vision overall.

I feel genuinely positive that when I compare this year’s appraisal report with the one I get next year I will feel prepared, well informed and will have progressed and improved upon the issues raised with the support of the Carbon360 team.

Getting feedback is great, and is a performance management must, but it is what you do with that feedback that really counts.

I wish you all the best of luck with your goals for 2013, whether they be professional or personal and hope that we all achieve what we set out to.

If you would like more information on goal setting, you can read our handy guide here.

It’s going to be a great new year!

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