How to Ace Your Annual Evaluation

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Having your efforts recognised at work provides a great source of motivation, and indeed 69% of employees state that they work harder when they receive recognition and praise for the work they have put in.

When do we like to receive feedback? Soon after the event, say 80% of millennials. In companies like MyNextCompany, communication flows in two directions on a daily basis – the managing directors are open to giving and receiving praise where praise is due, regardless of the time of year.

Perhaps your company is still a big fan of the annual evaluation, though. There are lots of things you can do to stack all the odds in your favour for when your evaluation comes round. Here’s a simple timeline for you to follow that will help you be a star in your annual evaluation.

circle-1MONTH-011-11 months out

Quite a broad timescale, isn’t it? The scope of the first step depends on how well you have planned out your goals for the year. But whether it is the first time you are looking at past year’s evaluation file, or you know very well where you are in terms of meeting your objectives, now is the time to look at the finer details.

1. Review last year’s appraisal report

What specifically did you set out to do during last year’s performance review? Where are you at the moment: are you on target or exceeding expectations? What is your low-hanging fruit, the area where an easily affordable amount of effort will give you an impressive win?

2. Prepare a plan to tie up any loose ends

What specific steps can you take in the remaining time before your appraisal to improve your results? Start by listing your objectives and making an action plan. The less time you have left, the more detailed your plan should be, so you can focus your efforts.

A good way to tackle this is by dividing the time left into “sprints”. These can be weekly or 2-weekly periods of time where you set clear goals for yourself to achieve at the beginning of the period, before reviewing your achievements at the end. You can also use one of these free tools to organise your plan into a Gantt chart.

3. Keep track of figures

You will need quantifiable results and examples that demonstrate your impact within your company to your boss and show how you are a valuable member of staff. You will need this information later when you are preparing for the meeting.


circle-1WEEK-011 week out

This is the moment to reap what you have sowed. Where are you in relation to your objectives? It is not always easy to have a clear idea of your own talents and abilities, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from someone else, who will see you in a more objective way.

4. Tally up your results

Look at the records of your everyday work to see what and where your wins are. You may need to look at different places depending on how well your team is structured and the precise content of your job. It may be SalesForce if you’re in Sales, HubSpot if you’re in Marketing, etc.

If you don’t have a dashboard to consult, check the products/services that you deliver. Is there a way to quantify them? For example, a graphic designer might list the number of communication materials they have produced. Wherever possible, track the influence of your work on the sales figures of the company and be clear about the impact it has had.

5. Ask your colleagues for feedback

Chances are, your view of your performance is not the same as your boss’s. We’ve seen it all – from very modest people who underestimate their impact on their company to those with an inflated ego and unshakable belief that their performance is extraordinary.

If you want to know what your performance looks like from an external perspective, why not create a quick survey and send it to your colleagues? Be as funny and creative as you’d like, as long as the communication of your workplace allows it. Ask them to reply anonymously so you can be sure that the feedback is honest and constructive.

circle-1DAY-011 day out

The big day is just around the corner. This is the time to focus on your presentation and make sure you know what you want and need to say. Good preparation is key: the more confident you feel about what you are going to say, the less likely you are to get intimidated when sitting opposite your boss.

6. Know what your expectations are

What is it that you are after? Are you hoping for a promotion and a new job title? Do you want a pay rise? Or would you be perfectly happy with some other form of recognition? Whatever the answer, when your goals are clear to you, this will make your communication during the appraisal clearer too.

7. Know how you rank on the market

A good idea if you are looking for a pay rise is to check how you rank among those in the same or a similar role to you. There are a wide variety of sites where you can check the pay received by others in your area of work, such as and Use the knowledge you gain and the figures you note down to emphasise the idea that a pay rise will bring you closer in line with the industry average.

8. Practise your presentation

Rehearse what you plan to say by conducting a mock interview beforehand. This could be with a family member or friend, or simply by practising in front of the mirror, although it is best and indeed most effective to talk to someone else. This will give you a different perspective which you may not have otherwise considered, and will prepare you for the various questions your boss might ask.

"Brainstorm concrete examples that illustrate outstanding performance, and practise communicating them so they're on the tip of your tongue," says Alexandra Levit, author of They Don't Teach Corporate in College.

If you follow these guidelines, you will sail through your annual evaluation. Having quantifiable achievements and a polished pitch will put you in an extremely strong position to ask for recompense for your hard work.

What’s next?

Make sure you follow up on your meeting with your boss as soon as possible. Perhaps try to set a date by when your boss should respond to your request. Your written document containing facts and figures as proof of your performance will also come in useful here: your boss can use it to present your case to their superiors and the HR department, and there is no risk of these figures being forgotten.

However, be prepared to wait for a while before receiving a response, even if you do set a date. It is possible that your boss does not have the authority to sanction your raise outright, so it may be necessary for them to discuss with senior management first to get your request approved.

After this, once you land the promotion you’ve been aiming for, make sure you start planning your next work year immediately, to show that you are not taking anything for granted now you have received what you wanted. You will be thankful for this when next year’s review comes around - it won’t be long!

Time for change?

You have done all you can in order to communicate your expectations to the management and to keep your end of the bargain, and still feel like your needs are no longer being met in this organisation? Then it may be time to reassess your career and see what improvements you can make. 

MyNextCompany is one of the few organizations, if not the only one on the Belgian market, to offer free career coaching services. Our coaches have successfully helped thousands of candidates to surge ahead in their professional life. Grab your chance for find a company that truly appreciates you!


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Maja Fiołek

Written by Maja Fiołek

Maja is a Communication Ambassador at MyNextCompany and a passionate advocate of translating the inbound tools into the world of recruitment. Outside of work, you will find her training for the next triathlon or nose-deep in house renovation.