Getting the most out of appraisals

Peninsula Team

February 23 2015

The purpose of carrying out appraisals is to assess workplace performance, help to promote a company culture and to allow management to assess strengths, weaknesses, improvements and training needs. Many companies carry out an appraisal in two parts, usually a written-part and a spoken meeting. Appraisals should be carried out in line with business targets, i.e. if the company has quarterly KPIs, appraisals should be carried out quarterly. However, they should be held often enough that they are effective.

The written part should be given to an employee in advance of the appraisal, giving them plenty of time to respond to any of the sections in the document. To get the most out of the written document it should cover the areas that the business wishes to assess, for example, the employee’s achievements, how they rate their own performance, what objectives they would set for themselves, any areas or skills they wish to strengthen and other assessable areas in line with the company’s aims or mission statement.

The spoken part should take the form of a meeting between employee and employer, or superior, and will be the chance to give feedback and set future objectives and plans. This should be a two-way process allowing the employee the opportunity to discuss any issues. Managers should be given training on how to carry out appraisals because they may need to give constructive criticism or discuss negative performance with the employee.

Some tips for getting the most out of appraisals are:

  • Be prepared and give plenty of time for the appraisee to prepare themselves;
  • Create the right atmosphere and give plenty of time for the appraisal to take place – you don’t want the employee to feel rushed so their feedback is not given;
  • Think about the employee’s development before, and after, the appraisal – can their performance be improved and, if so, by what method?
  • Use positive feedback and constructive criticism – carrying out a negative appraisal can have a negative impact on the future working relationship;
  • Agree a plan of action together.

Appraisals should not contain any discriminatory elements and, if it contains an element of employee scoring, this should be carried out objectively. Good practice would be to send appraisal documents to employees once the appraisal is complete and have them sign their agreement to what was discussed and the future objectives or plan that was agreed to.

If you need any clarification on this issue then contact the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.

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