How to Ace Your Performance Evaluation


This is the last week of the Federal calendar. The end of the fiscal year can only man one thing—appraisals are nigh. Think they’re a waste of time? You’re wrong! According to OPM, “results-oriented performance appraisal plans are central to linking individual accountability to organizational outcomes to build a high performance organization.” In other words, the annual rendezvous with your supervisor is essential to fulfilling your agency’s operating plan. Is this how you think about your appraisal? If not, I’ve got just the thing. This week’s post shares 5 tips to ace your performance evaluation.

1. List major projects/accomplishments

In the next week or two, take time to reflect on the past year. Document quantifiable deliverables and detail your role. Include the accomplishments of the committees/teams in your portfolio. If you participated in a detail, be sure to highlight the positives of the experience, along with your contributions. Ideally, you should be logging major accomplishments throughout the year. Doing so can make a difference between a “meet” and “exceed” element rating.

2. Write out your results elements

I recently sat down with a senior executive who gave me this jewel: writing an “exceed” element is challenging. Make it easier on your supervisor by writing your elements without assigning a rating. This is where the accomplishments document comes in handy. Your supervisor will of course make the final determination, but handing them something to draw from can help your chances.

3. Prepare to share strengths and weaknesses

Self-awareness is key to growth. Take stock of your technical and interpersonal skills. Requesting feedback from trusted colleagues is good practice before sitting with your boss. What areas have you developed in the last year? More importantly, ask your supervisor what skills would he or she like you to hone in the upcoming year.

4. Offer honest feedback to your supervisor

Good leaders appreciate unvarnished candor from subordinates. Like any relationship, trust is a cornerstone. If you and your supervisor enjoy a genial dynamic, you owe them the truth. Do so in a respectful manner and generally only if they inquire. Whatever you share, your main aim should be to help.

5. Establish goals for the upcoming year

Always be strategic. Establishing short and long-term goals will keep you motivated and sharp. Sharing these with your supervisor at the appraisal demonstrates initiative and investment to your position.

A performance evaluation does not have to strike fear in your heart. You can set yourself up for success with a little effort beforehand. At times, your superiors will be unaware of your varying projects. The appraisal is the time to self-promote. Crush it!

Wander Cedeño is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Brenda Dennis

Nice article, Wander! The great thing about showing weaknesses/areas for improvement, is that in next year’s appraisal you can show the progress you made in addressing them!