CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU, INDIA 22-01-2013 06:46 PM

Are you worried about your performance review?

For many Indian companies that follow the financial year through March, the appraisals are just a few weeks away.

These appraisals should ideally be based on an employee’s year-round performance, but let’s face it: managers, like the rest of us, will start by looking at what you did most recently. So your most recent work can have a big impact on your appraisal.

This means there’s still time to improve the outcome of your performance review. Here are some tips from human resources experts on how to do that:

1. Self-appraisal: In order to improve your performance, you need to figure out where you fell short in the previous nine months.

Employees should find out what was the gap between their performance and the company’s financial and strategic goals, says Sucheta Shetty, vice president of human resources at TAKE Solutions, a software services-provider in Chennai. “Don’t wait for the manager to come and tell you” where you have been lacking, says Mr. Shetty.

So, make a list of the company’s objectives in the year, what was expected from you, and what you didn’t do. Also, avoid the same mistakes when you work on new projects.

2. Damage control: The next step is to identify what can be done in a short period time to improve your standing.

For instance, if there are 10 things you failed to complete properly, pick a few to focus on.

When deciding your priorities, it might help to choose goals you can meet by March. What’s even better, is to take on projects which have a “visible result,” such as an immediate financial impact, says Simran Oberoi, a Bangalore-based advisor at trade association Strategic Human Resource Management.

These are easier for your manager to remember while evaluating your work, says Ms. Oberoi.

3. Think long-term: At this time of year, managers are not only thinking of the year gone by, but also about goals for the next financial year.

Keeping this in mind, you can even consider taking on new projects. Even if these may not produce results immediately, it’s good to show you are thinking of the company’s good for the year ahead.

Also, come up with ideas and new initiatives for the next year, which you can discuss at team meetings. Talk to the manager about what you aspire to learn in the next year or projects you have an interest in.

Thinking long-term also makes it clear to your manager that you plan to stay with the company for a while, and a good manager can use this knowledge to help you achieve your personal goals with the company.

4. Interactions: Many companies nowadays rely on 360-degree feedback, in which even your colleagues’ assessment of you counts.

It’s always good practice to engage your colleagues professionally, seeking advice from them and, in turn, volunteering to help them out.

You should also be meeting your manager regularly. If you don’t do that often enough, make sure to set up at least one meeting ahead of your performance review. Discuss what you’ve already achieved, inform the manager about your plans for the next few months, and ask him or her for what else you should be focusing on.

And keep your boss updated on your progress, says Ms. Oberoi of Strategic Human Resource Management.

5. Preparing for the talk: Even if your performance review is a few weeks away, it’s not too early to start preparing for it.

If you’ve identified mistakes or failures that can’t be set right in the next few weeks, prepare to explain those mistakes to your boss.

Understand “how and why” the projects you took up ended up failing, says Rajeshwar Tripathi, Mumbai-based chief people officer of the automotive & farm equipment sectors at Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

Be ready to admit your mistakes, but show that you determined to fix them.

Make sure to have facts and figures handy to challenge unfair accusations you did something wrong, says Mr. Tripathi.

It also helps to keep ready a list of all the things that you did right in the year gone by, so you have something positive to say when the manager doesn’t.

Readers, share your tips on how to improving a performance review in the Comments section.



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