Appraisals; a process often feared by many employees. Instigated by the company HR with your line manager at the helm, it is easy to get the fear when the appraisal invitation appears in your inbox. However, an appraisal doesn’t have to been a source of stress and strain; it has the potential to boost you towards those key career jumps that you always wanted.

Often, two things stand between you and a successful appraisal: fear and/or inexperience.

Talking to employees and employers on a daily basis, Hayley Ives, HR & Talent Acquisition Manager at Randstad Technologies, sees the appraisal as a golden opportunity that is, all too often, squandered. She puts this down to fear – and a lack of planning.

“Appraisals are a great opportunity to get the progress and attention you really aspire to, by planning and using your initiative you can really make a difference to your working life,” Hayley notes.

Too few people do though – and that’s mainly because the problem runs deeper. Research from the management consultancy Hay Group reveals that half of public sector workers and a third of business leaders don't fully understand what appraisals are actually about.

As a result, many consider appraisals merely a box-ticking exercise. A YouGov survey goes further, saying a whopping 39 per cent of British workers have never even had a career conversation with their manager.

Why are we missing the opportunity of appraisals, when such conversations can be a career and potentially a life changing process?

See our five key tips to achieving that fantastic appraisal.