By Farhan Shah
The end of the year in Singapore usually signals many things; it signals the start of the monsoon season, the introspective review of last year's completed resolutions (and the subtle amnesia of broken ones), and the arrival of the dreaded appraisal spectre that usually decides whether you'll be traipsing on the beaches of Barbados or wading through knee-deep muddy water in Bangkok for your holidays.
Consistent work throughout the year usually guarantees a decent appraisal score and a well-padded bonus that can buy that next big-ticket item. However, having a few screw-ups during the year also doesn't mean that you'll be getting bad reviews as December rolls around.
Scientists have proven that, in general, most people will remember the first and last items on a list, or the first and last people they meet at events. Similarly, your bosses will remember the first few and the last few mistakes or accomplishments that you made in a year. This phenomenon is called the Serial Position effect.
What are the implications of this? It means that if you've been performing consistently throughout the year but made a really big mistake rather recently, your boss will remember this when he or she is appraising you.
On the flipside, this also means that if your performance has been quite inconsistent throughout the year but pulled a rabbit out of the hat at the end of the year, this work miracle will be fresh in your boss' mind as he or she talks to you about your performance.
Hence, here are some sneaky and not-so-sneaky tips that you can try out to give yourself a slight advantage when you finally go through the appraisal process.
- Prepare a list of accomplishments
A week before you enter the cauldron's den and face the lion, start writing down what you've accomplished for the company. This can include implementing new procedures that help saved money for the company, doing work that was outside your job scope which you volunteered for, suggesting new measures that increased productivity, etc. The key here is to demonstrate how valuable you've been to the company. After all, an employee who adds value to the company is more valuable than one who just goes through the motions of switching on the computer and doing the bare minimum required.
- Dress better
According to Daniel Hamermesh, an economics professor at the University of Austin, attractive people are more likely to earn an average of 3% to 4% more than a person with below-average looks. Although you might not look like a spitting image of Takeshi Kaneshiro, dressing well does have the effect of making yourself more attractive as well. Start wearing colours that complement your skin tone and wear better-tailored items that suit your body shape. Also, start dressing up on dress-down Fridays so that you will stand out from your colleagues.
- Brainstorm for new ideas
Take advantage of the Serial Position effect by brainstorming for new ideas that benefit the company. This works especially well a few days before your appraisal as your ideas would be fresh in the mind of your boss as he considers the grade to give you. Also, what makes your boss look good to his boss would also mean that it makes you look good to your boss!
- Buy or make a thoughtful Christmas card
A Christmas card is a nice and thoughtful gesture that will put a smile on your boss' face. A store-bought card is easy to achieve and won't strain your pockets too much but if you possess a modicum of creativity and have a bit of time to spare, a handmade card will speak volumes of your admiration for your boss. Just make sure your boss celebrates Christmas. If he or she doesn't, then a Thank You card to tell him or her how much you appreciate the guidance given would do nicely as well.
- Come in to work slightly earlier than usual and stay a bit later
Your boss might raise a few eyebrows and start thinking that you're up to something if you suddenly come much earlier to work and stay in the office much later than usual in the weeks leading to your appraisal. The trick to pulling this off successfully is to choose certain days to work late in the office. Avoid staying in late in the office every single day. Another method to plant the idea that you're working hard after office hours to your boss is to send an email to your boss after work hours. This gesture will demonstrate that you are willing to work late when it comes to the crunch and that you have an incredible work ethic.
- Compliment your boss
Brightening up your boss' day by throwing in a few well-timed compliments will ensure that he or she will be delighted. It also has the knock-on effect of placing your boss in a forgiving mood, which is absolutely essential when you want him or her to forget a few of your mistakes. To avoid raising your boss' suspicions, indirectly compliment your boss by going to his close associates instead and gushing to them how good your boss. In this way, it makes it seem like your compliments are genuine since it's not coming from your mouth but someone else's instead!
Remember to carry out the above tips as discreetly as possible and we take no responsibility for any possible implications to your work relationships or career track. Likewise, we wish you all the best for your appraisal. Just make sure your boss doesn't read this article!
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