Reviews and Appraisals

Once a year you should sit down with your employer to discuss how things are going, how they feel about the job you're doing and any changes that they can forsee.  This is often also the moment to discuss your pay, how it reflects the job you are doing, any additional training or experience you've gained over the past year and the rise in cost of living. Usually reviews are a chance to have a more thorough discussions than your typical, informal handover and for you to bring up any concerns or issues that you have looking back over the year in a dedicated time slot. Reviews, however, don't replace regular communication so don't save all your grievances up for this one meeting.

It's also common to have a review at the end of your probationary period just to check that everything is running smoothly and that everyone's expectations are in line.

Preparing for a review

When review time comes around take an hour or so to prepare for the meeting. First think about any changes in your job over the last year, and any changes that may happen in the near future. How have these changes been dealt with? Has your job description changed? Has your contract been updated to reflect this? Second think about how well you've been able to fulfill your job description. Are there any areas that you've not been paying attention to? Why is this? Are your employer's requests now unrealistic because of your charge's needs and you no longer have time to do the tasks you were previously able to accomplish? Thirdly think of anything you're unhappy with in your role. It's great if you can't think of anything but common sticking points include being paid on time, kitty money/expenses, payment for mileage, holiday, household chores that aren't in your contract (e.g. washing up left on the side from the previous evening/weekend) and irregular time-keeping. The review is a chance for you to address these issues too.

Dealing with negative feedback in reviews

Occasionally your employers will have points that they want to see improved, or things they would like to see done differently. As a nanny it can be difficult to accept criticism because you have a much close relationship with your 'manager' than you would in an office, and your job description is a lot more fluid. You can anticipate negative feedback by preparing for the review, but sometimes it comes out of the blue. Often unexpected negative feedback is a result of poor communication. Don't be afraid to say that you weren't aware that your employers wanted you to do something or do something differently, and make an effort to change. Ask them how they would like you do things in the future and make a special effort to remember until it becomes second nature.

Appraisals

Appraisals differ slightly from general reviews because they are focused solely on your performance and how wel l you are meeting various criteria (or key perfomance indicators). Your employer may also put appraisals in place following any kind of disciplinary action, for example to assess your punctuality or if you were not fulfilling your whole job description. Typically the criteria in an appraisal are related to goals that the parents have set for their children's educational achievement and/or behaviour. For example at the start of the year they may have given you targets such as potty training, using cutlery properly at mealtimes, being able to count to 20 and being able to recite the ABC. Although this very corporate style of management may see off-putting the advantage is you are clear on what your employer's expectations are. On the other hand it is important to moderate their expectations and reassure them that although you will make these areas a priority they need to recognise that each child develops at their own, individual pace.