The Greater Los Angeles Area YGL will maintain an environment that educates, inspires & transforms federal employees into prized promotable assets & be models for organization management that will be admired & emulated by agencies.
YGL-LA Let’s Talk Tuesdays: Bragging Rights – Appraisal Inputs To Your Boss
April 3, 2012 at 3:21 pm #157850
Now that YGL-LA is 1-year old, I decided to reflect on the best year the LA chapter has ever had. Mud-runs, happy hours, twitter, beach clean-ups, facebook, high-fives, PMFs, scholarships, Let’s Talk Tuesday… and so on and so on. In the middle of my glorious daydreaming I realized yearly appraisals are coming up at my work and it’s time to reflect on my day job and what I’ve accomplished over the last year.
This is where it gets tough; I hate talking about myself. Working on a project for an entire year and summarizing it into succint bullets is the not easy! However, I do realize the importance of being able to write about your accomplishments so I talked to a mentor who gave me great advice. He told me to write it out as if you were writing a story. Talk about your work however you want and fill up a few pages. From that point, it’s much easier to reduce a few pages into a few lines of meaningful inputs.
I haven’t tried this yet but will very soon. How do you write about yourself? Do you keep tabs on your accomplishments all year long or do you put it off until the last minute like me? What tips do you have for writing appraisals?
April 3, 2012 at 3:30 pm #157868
Tabs all year long with the notes app on my iPhone… Then I just throw them into bullet points on my appraisal.
With appraisals in October and April, there is no way I would remember everything. Funnny though, I work for OPM and will be sitting on a teleconference today learning about our new quarterly appraisal system starting now. So get ready to write about yourself four times per year!
One thing I recommend is to include things you will do before your next appraisal to better yourself. Especially training requests or conferences (NextGen anyone?). This way, when you actually submit the training request, it’s in your previous appraisal with supervisor signature. 🙂
Good luck dude!
April 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm #157866
Whenever I get an email that is complimentary or highlights an accomplishment, I throw it in a “Kudos” folder. I use that to review my year and pull fodder from concrete things people have said…so that I don’t need to toot my own horn. Just share some quotes 😉
April 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm #157864
Matthew Wayne GonzalesParticipant
This is a challenging part for me too Scott. I feel caught in between two competing ideas: Be objective and fulfill the requirement, or be descriptive and make your appraisal dinstinguishable from others. It sounds like both pieces of advice from Mike and Andrew allow for you to do a nice balance of both, and in Andrew’s piece you make it easy by using what other people have already said about you. Chances are, those comments will be descriptive and truthful!
The only useful tip I have Scott, is always link what you have accomplished to a skill or skillset that you believe you possess. If you completed something, how did you do it, and with what? That is the question I always ask myself. If I can answer it, I am showing off my talents and explaining how effective/efficient I have been when I have figures or tangibles to go with it. Other than that, I guess you are left with your notes, and varying degress of story telling! Good luck.
April 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm #157862
Yeah I find this incredibly hard too. When I set myself to doing something I expect success so I don’t necessarily pay much attention to pats on the back or work accomplished. I very much look at things accomplished as things I was expected to achieve and get done which in my own mind diminishes them and doesn’t make them horn toot worthy.
April 3, 2012 at 8:07 pm #157860
I’ve definitely struggled with this, especially at performance appraisal time. I always felt that it was arrogant for me to talk about my accomplishments, but in reality, your boss doesn’t necessarily see everything you do unless you tell him or her. Sharing how you’ve contributed doesn’t make you a boastful person, and if you don’t share you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage in advancing your career. It’s uncomfortable but necessary.
Once you’re ready to talk about yourself, I received some great advice on resume writing that is also helpful when preparing for performance appraisals — when listing your accomplishments start with the impact of your efforts. Make sure you communicate what your work means to the success of your organization, not just the activities you did. In other words, focus on the results of your efforts. It will be more compelling to your boss, and easier for you to talk about because it will be exciting to you. Best of luck!
April 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm #157858
One thing I would suggest is look through your boss’s viewpoint.
He/she has a lot going on and doesn’t keep track of all you do for the whole year. It’s the end of the year and your boss says I’d love to put Bob up for a bonus, salary increase, etc….but it’s going to take a lot of time for them to write that up and honestly they don’t have the best info for the write-up.
So by providing a list of quotes/kudos/etc, you help your boss do their job better and easier. So it’s less about being braggy but more about helping your boss and making their job easier. Which honestly is a big part of work.
My wife is a professor and it’s the same way. When a person just says write a letter of recommendation, that’s almost too vague and hard to write. But if they give her a resume, list of accomplishment, why they want to go to this school and what are the top focus areas of that school…she’s good to go and can write a better letter in 1/2 the time. And you bet that student is getting a better letter of recommendation in the end..which is the goal
April 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm #157856
About 3000 of the non-bargaining unit employees at my agency are under pay for performance, so performance appraisals are especially critical for us. We have been using the Situation-Action-Results or SAR model for submitting inputs. What was the situation (paint the scene), what actions did you take to address the situation (actions not activities), and what were the results (increased customer satisfaction, reduced costs, improved efficiency, etc.). Kudos come into play in the results section. We submit 1 or more SARs for each element.
Ideally, keep track of accomplishments all year long. You should also have a mid-year review with your supervisor — submit an accomplishments report for that as well. Then you’re keeping track of things throughout the year and you have a chance to make sure you’re on target to reach or exceed the year’s goals — or address with your manager barriers to reaching those goals, such as needed training, additional resources, assigning project priorities, etc.
Each person in our office prepares work logs each pay period to keep the manager and other staff informed of projects in progress. That’s also a good way to refresh your memory on what you’ve accomplished and the problems you may have overcome to do so.
April 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm #157854
The SAR model sounds great! Thanks!
April 5, 2012 at 5:45 pm #157852
As someone already suggested, I keep an “Attagirl” folder for complimentary emails, both for me personally and for the staff I supervise. I’ve quoted from these not only in annual reviews but in nominating them for awards, and one of my staff won both our campus employee excellence award and the same award for the whole university just this year.
I mean to keep track of things during the year so generally start a list and then forget. I keep a notebook in which I have my calendar, notes from meetings, phone messages and the like all captured so I spend time flipping back through those to remind me of what happened over the course of the year.
While it would certainly be more efficient to do that in quarter chunks (maybe I’ll try–wait, no, it’s already April so I’m behind), I actually kind of like taking an afternoon for the “year in review” contemplation that goes into writing my annual review. It wouldn’t hurt to try doing it more frequently though.
I think the hardest thing about my annual review is the hardest thing about my job (in higher ed communications): developing measurable outcomes that I can then report.
I don’t have (or don’t make) the time to develop those for some of the work that could be measured and I really should. A great deal of my work, however, is not going to end up being measured/measurable, yet still needs to be summarized. The results may be squishy.
As a supervisor, I ask my staff to give me a summary of their accomplishments for the year and goals for professional growth. This discussion prompts me to ask them if they’d like to get a reminder every so often to send me a similar list for a shorter time frame in order to help them keep on top of it too, and it would lead to more formative (vs. summative) discussions over the course of the year.
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