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The performance review or appraisal is an essential part of any EA or PA job, providing an opportunity for both employee and employer to take stock, assess past performance and establish goals for the next quarter or six months. As an employee, it is your chance to take an active role in your career development, communicating what you’ve enjoyed, what you haven’t, where you’ve thrived and what challenges you’ve overcome. It’s also a chance to encourage a two-way dialogue, ensuring that you stay on track for progression.
For this reason, it’s vital to prepare accordingly. Here’s how.
1. Start preparing (very) early on
Preparation for your review shouldn’t start when you receive a calendar invite – it should start as soon as your last one finished. Each time you conquer a challenge, successfully complete a project, or find yourself struggling through a task, make a note in a Word document or on your phone. This way, when it comes to the actual review, you can look back at your peaks and troughs, providing a roadmap of where you’ve been and where you’d like to go.
Hopefully, you will have regular 1-2-1s with your line manager throughout the year, so you may have already covered achievements and challenges but keeping a consistent record will provide a useful overview come your annual review.
2. Collate resources
Your performance notes aren’t the only resources you should prepare. It’s worth digging up your job description and notes from your last appraisal, including goals, achievements and progression plans. These will provide a foundation for review and may even trigger discussions around additional responsibilities, new goals and potential for development.
If you are planning to ask for a pay rise, conduct research that will support your claim – what are the market salaries looking like at the moment? Is your salary on par with industry average or are you underpaid? Having this information in your back pocket will make negotiating that little easier.
3. Ask questions
Active engagement in your performance review means engaging in dialogue. Make sure you get the most out of it by preparing questions beforehand. This could range from broader, company-wide issues – where are the latest company goals? What is the expected growth of your team over the next 12 months? – to specific role queries, such as the timelines for discussed progression initiatives and potential for flexible working or other working arrangements.
4. Know what you want
No performance review should be completed without an end goal in mind – what do you actually want to get out of the process? Is it a chance to put your foot forward for a progression, or ask for help? Do you want a pay rise, or would you like to participate in external training? Entering into any discussion with an end goal in mind will make negotiations much easier and provide a guide should you end up off track.
5. Feed back to your manager
Performance reviews aren’t just for talking about your performance – it’s also an opportunity to deliver feedback to your manager about your partnership or the company as a whole. While it may seem trivial, especially in larger companies, you may not realise that a number of your colleagues are feeding back similar things, resulting in wider policy changes. This 360° feedback ensures that your relationship with your manager and larger team remains positive and that you have a voice in wider issues.
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