Appraisal season phrases that are super handy for workers to use

It’s that time of the year again – appraisal season! Bosses start ranking the performance of workers within the department and across departments, allocating bonuses according to the bell curve, and where you get one-on-one appraisal sessions with your boss. If you had a stellar year at work, it’s unlikely that you will dread sitting down with your boss. But most would have had ups and downs throughout the year and be a bit apprehensive about what your boss has to say. 

Fret not, we have a list of super useful phrases to use during your appraisal:

1. “I felt that this year I did well in xxx but acknowledge that I could do better in xxx.” 

This phrase shows that you took the time to reflect on your performance for the year and would put you in a good light as someone who is astute and thoughtful. The manner of phrasing also helps you highlight and reinforce areas that you did well in as a reminder to your boss of your contributions. The last portion signifies your commitment to doing even better next year and shows awareness of the areas you need to improve on. 

2. “I realised that xxx is an area I need to work on and because you have experience in xxx, I’m hoping for further guidance from you on this area.”

Building on the previous phrase, you can use this as a follow-up to put yourself in a position where you come across as eager to learn and having a positive attitude. It places the onus on the boss and helps set you up for mentorship and coaching from him/her. This sentence also helps you butter up your boss a bit by highlighting their experience in this area. For some bosses, this is also a reminder that the worker needs guidance in a particular area and they might not be so hard on them for mistakes made due to inexperience. 

3. “Could you share plans with me on how else you see me contributing in my role and growing in this company?” 

This phrase indicates to the boss that you are forward planning and that you are taking active steps to plot your career path in the company. The phrasing shows that you are mindful of your role as a contributor to the team as well as in the larger context of the company. This question will help tease out bigger plans that your boss might have for you. Conversely, if your boss shys away from answering and gives non-committal responses, it could hint also that you might want to look for greener pastures elsewhere. 

4. “May I share my discomfort on something that I feel compelled to surface to you” 

Beyond phrases to get feedback from your boss during appraisal season, you can use this sentence to give feedback to your boss about him/her, other colleagues or certain unpleasant situations you have encountered. Phrasing it as though you are asking permission to share helps get your boss’ consent so it does not come across as imposing your views and opinions. It also gives your boss some time to prepare themselves for what could be shared. 

Bonus tip: Remember that when sharing more unpleasant feedback, do not use unnecessarily emotive language. This helps you maintain an air of professionalism. Also bear in mind what is the objective of sharing this feedback and whether it will have a constructive impact once you share it. This will also help guide what you share with your boss.  

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5. “I know you value xxx a lot, are there other skills that you feel I can develop in the next year? Do you think that would also help my chances for a promotion or salary raise?” 

This phrase demonstrates your understanding of the type of skill sets and work ethic that your boss appreciates. Asking for their feedback on what other skills you can develop reflects a willingness to continue learning, an attitude that many bosses view positively. Your boss will also be able to pinpoint areas that you can upskill in which will in turn help your career. 

At this juncture, you can also use the following phrase to find out where you stand vis-a-vis other colleagues when it comes to a promotion or a pay raise. This question helps to open the discussion on your future in the company and helps you better understand what exactly is expected of you before you can get a promotion or pay raise. This will help you reach your career goals faster.

You can view appraisal season with trepidation but if you look at it from another angle, it’s your time to help your boss understand your achievements and goals and for your boss to offer guidance on how else you can do better. This open and honest two-way conversation, if done well, can set the stage for you to progress well in your career. We hope these questions will help you seize your opportunity!