How To Get The Best Out Of Your Appraisals


It’s that time of year for companies to complete the process of staff appraisals. Are your senior staff aware of best ways to appraise staff?

What is the purpose of an appraisal?

The aim of an appraisal is to give the opportunity to the appraisee to reflect on their work and learning needs so that they can then improve their performance. By discussing in a constructive yet positive way your employees development and performance producing an effective personal development plan becomes inevitable. This outcome benefits both your organisation and your staff.

What should an appraisal be?

  • a process rather than an event
  • a ‘two-way’ rather than ‘one-way’ conversation between appraisee and appraiser
  • a tool for development as well as for assessing personal performance within the business

Why are they good practice?

Appraisals help your senior staff track your employees’ strengths and weaknesses, identify the best people for promotion, offer necessary feedback for improvements and promote the needed training programs for your staff.

The dreaded appraisal…

In most organisations, appraisals are dreaded, by both employees and employers.  Why? Some Managers dislike conducting them because they see appraisal interviews as a waste of time and a potentially awkward situation. Staff on the other hand find them daunting and even sometimes demotivating. If an appraisal isn’t carried out correctly, the process can indeed be all those things.

However, if an appraisal is done well it can be a very productive and even an enjoyable use of time for both the manager and their staff. It is true, were all very busy, but all too often we hear of organisations where their staff are complaining because their appraisals have not been carried out by their busy managers on time or have not happened at all.

Concerns about appraisals

Although it’s true that having a great appraisal system in place can help the success of an organisation. Many still have concerns about the process, why?

Sometimes if appraisals are conducted by your managers and their staff alone, they can lack objectivity, and can even cause upset. What are some of the reasons for this?

  • If the appraiser and the appraised don’t work well together or if there is a biased relationship, they may not feel like they can speak freely.
  • Or if either side do not feel like they can tell the truth because the outcome is clearly linked to financial reward or job security.

In order to make sure there is no lack of objectivity and impartiality, having an influence from another party is usually essential in the appraisal procedure, at least in the form of an appeal procedure. However, there are a few thoughts and rules to ensure the appraisal is more likely to be effective

  • Make sure your appraisals are conducted not solely out of routine
  • Appraisal are often linked to discussions on pay, bonus or continuation of contract
  • Do not carry them out in the absence of any clear and agreed statements of what is expected of the individual being appraised
  • Always:
    – carry out proper preparation and reference appropriate records;
    – retain impartiality;
    – reserving adequate time for the process;
  • – retain confidentiality;
    – use the appropriate listening skills during two-way participation;
    – implement appropriate follow-up action which is properly recorded and monitored.
  • – remember that the process involves the future for the employee not just the past

Therefore, appraisals need to look both into the future as well as in past performance. Yes, appraisals are often used as a tool to ensure that your staff meet agreed targets. However, it can also be a much broader organisational tool to ensure that the organisation meets its objectives also.

So, what are the benefits?

Employee benefits

  • The employee receives valuable feedback
  • The employee learns what is expected of them
  • The employee gains recognition for their efforts
  • Any issues/problems are recognised and addressed
  • The employee can contribute to discussions about their learning and development needs

Managers benefits

  • Strengthens the relationship between the manager and their staff
  • The employee receives valuable feedback
  • Contributes to improvements in job design
  • Contributes to better overall performance in the manager’s area of responsibility

Organisational benefits

  • Suitability for promotion can be determined
  • Organisations training needs can be analysed
  • Opportunity to make succession plans
  • Enhances communication within the organisation

7 Steps on how to conduct the appraisal interview…

  1. Build a rapport
  2. Before providing feedback, encourage employee to give his/her views about performance
  3. Discuss good performance first
  4. Give sincere praise for good performance
  5. Discuss extent to which targets met
  6. Discuss any poor performance
  7. Explore any constraints to performance, and their causes

 Benefits to setting effective objectives after the appraisal

  • Enables your employee to identify and perform to their best ability
  • As the manager you can identify and agree clear and specific goals, which contribute to the overall success of the department.
  • The organisation can communicate its aims clearly and employees can be part of the success

Would you like to get the best out of your organisation’s appraisals? Face to face training is one of the best ways you can get your senior staff and staff to have the same positive view to appraisals. Ensure you have the best outcome you can for your organisation.

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