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How to conduct effective appraisals

Posted in Employers on Jan 02, 2018 by Keeley Edge

Without the right people in place, it can be very difficult to achieve your company goals. Once you have the right people, you’ll want to retain them and help them reach their full potential.

A crucial part of performance management is conducting regular appraisals or performance reviews.

Why conduct appraisals

You may talk to your employees regularly about their performance, but some employees feel more comfortable expressing concerns and ideas in a formal appraisal setting.

Appraisals are a chance to give and receive feedback about an employee’s contribution towards the business and the company objectives. Through regular reviews you can:

  • Identify an employee’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Determine how to utilise their strengths
  • Work out how to manage their weaknesses
  • Reveal any issues that are restricting an employee’s ability to perform
  • Identify areas for training and development
  • Discuss opportunities for progression
  • Expose inefficiencies within the company
  • Communicate new ideas and expectations

Conducting consistent appraisals across your company ensures all employees have an opportunity to discuss their performance. This leads to greater engagement and increased productivity.

How to conduct appraisals

A performance review should be beneficial to both you and your employee. Here are the things you need to consider if you want to conduct effective appraisals.

Have a clear purpose and set a process

First you need to decide what the process will be for employee appraisals. You may choose to adopt a grading system whereby the employee and their line managers grade various areas of their performance to be discussed at the review. Alternatively, you may have set questions that you wish to go through during the appraisal meeting. It is important that the process is consistent across the company.

Communicate with the employee

Let employees know when their appraisal will take place and what the objectives are. Make sure they understand the process so they can prepare themselves and make notes on anything they want to discuss. If they have to grade themselves, then make sure they have plenty of time in advance.

Be prepared

Make sure that whoever is conducting the appraisal has the necessary information, which could include:

  • Previous appraisal reports
  • Punctuation and attendance records
  • Employee job description
  • Previously agreed action plans
  • Training and development records
  • Feedback from line manager or other managers
  • Measurable data (sales figures, client retention figures, orders processed etc.)

Keep it positive and constructive

The appraisal should be a genuine two-way conversation that covers the entire period between reviews, not just a specific incident. It is vital that the person conducting the review can listen to the employee and be constructive. You want to motivate employees and get them excited about their abilities and development

Although poor performance issues can be discussed in an appraisal, they should not be brought up for the first time. It is easier to manage poor performance effectively by addressing issues immediately with employees. If there is an ongoing performance issue, then work with the employee to resolve it and find out how the company can support them.

Let employees do the talking

Don’t just talk at the employee and tell them how they are performing and what they should be doing. The feedback should be two-way. Use open questions to ensure that the employee does most of the talking. Try questions such as:

  • What have been your biggest challenges this year?
  • Which areas do you feel you have performed well in and why?
  • What are your hopes for your future with the company?

Record and report 

During the appraisal, make notes and record all key points that have been discussed. Agree on an action plan with the employee and set objectives for the next period.

After the appraisal, collate the notes into a report and get the employee to sign it. Give them a copy and retain a copy for your records.

Need some help?

At Key Appointments, we are dedicated to helping our clients attract and retain the best talent. We have built a network of trusted partners who can assist with all your HR and performance management requirements.

If you would like advice on putting together structured appraisals for your company or would like help conducting appraisals, then we can connect you with a HR specialist.

Contact us today to find out more about recruiting and retaining talent for your business.

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