Many annual meetings are stiffly structured and often employees are afraid of the mandatory annual meeting with their boss. Take the opportunity to set the course for your professional development. What you should prepare for your annual interview and how you can become an equal talk host in a conversation at eye level.
Annual interview: Annoying compulsory program or good exchange?
In most companies, they take place in the last few weeks of the year, sometimes even in January. A must for every employee, picked up by the boss – on behalf of the HR department.
Often, bonus payments or variable salary components depend on the assessment of an employee’s performance. A specified process for carrying out and logging the conversations, which is the same for all employees, is therefore very useful for both parties. But the downside: These conversations are usually stiff and are often characterized by fear and uncertainty on the employee side.
But how about if the annual meeting is a meeting at eye level? If you, as an employee, look forward to this interview because you have the chance to discuss topics that are important to you personally with your manager. How about if you consciously use this appointment to steer your next career steps in the right direction for you?
Guest or talk show host – what role will you play?
Even if your boss formally invites you to this interview, it is up to you to decide what attitude you should take. Are you the guest in the boss’s office who dutifully answers questions, or are you the equal and valued conversation partner who also brings in your own opinions and topics?
It is a question of perspective in which light you put your annual interview. In which role do you feel comfortable, and what do you think the conversation will be most useful for you? If you decide in favor of the talk show host and thus co-organizer of the annual interview, then you should consider these things in your preparation:
Your interlocutor: How well do you know your boss?
An experienced talk show host knows his conversation partner. How well do you know your boss?
- Do you know what is particularly important to him or her in this job and this position?
- Do you know his personal goals and those set by the company?
- What do you particularly like about him and what bothers you?
- What are his professional strengths, and what would you like to learn from him?
- Which positive shared experiences do you remember?
- What works well when working together, and where are the still problems from your point of view?
My tip: Write down what you can use for your “talk”. You will certainly be asked for your feedback too. In this way, you can answer calmly and specify your feedback for the boss on situations from the last few months.
The top topics: What are you really interested in?
Suppose the conversation goes according to your ideas, and you leave your boss’s office. What did you both talk about, and what results will you get back to work with? For many employees, these are the three top issues:
Your own career development
How does your supervisor assess your development over the last year, and what next career steps can he offer you? What is important to you for your next career step? Would you like to embark on or continue the path towards a management career, or are you interested in an expert or project career? Which career development fits your current life situation?
Careers today are more diverse than the stubborn climbing up the corporate ladder. Where should the next professional step lead you, and what do you expect from it?
My tip: Before the interview, update your awareness of your own values and goals and focus on what is really important to you personally today and in the coming months in your job and life.
Promotion of personal and professional development
Learning new things is at the top of the agenda for most employees today. Many bosses only focus on the professional development of their employees, but personal development should also be promoted, especially for managers.
My tip: In the run-up to the interview, think about which training courses you are interested in. Research providers and present your boss with specific suggestions. You should explain why you consider this further development to make sense for you in your position and what benefits the company can also have from it.
The salary development
Even if the job is more and more about meaning and recognition, especially for younger generations, salary development still plays a central role in employee satisfaction. The annual appraisal is also a good opportunity to discuss salary development.
My tip: Find out about current salary levels in your position and industry. The VDI salary test is a good option. When it comes to salary, avoid direct comparisons with colleagues. Focus on your performance and the benefits you will bring to the company in the future, for example, by expanding your area of responsibility or working on projects. Before the interview, make it clear for yourself which salary development is realistic and desirable from your point of view.
On the air: this is how you can start your annual interview safely and calmly
With the right attitude and good preparation, you can look forward to your next annual interview. Even if there is criticism from the boss about mistakes or goals not achieved in the last year, the conversation is also your chance to take an objective position on this and to grow from it in the end.
You are the boss of your life, and it is also up to you as a talk show host to provide impetus in the annual interview and to make decisions to actively shape your professional path for the next few months.