Employers guide to performance appraisals

Peninsula Team

January 05 2016

When it comes to appraisals and objectives, we’ve all heard of the SMART acronym: discussing an employee’s performance and agreeing targets that are ‘specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and time bound’ is commonplace. But how should you approach the meeting as a whole? Follow our 4 easy tips and you won’t go far wrong...
  1. Allow time to prepare – make a time plan for holding the appraisal and advise the employee in advance. Prepare your plan for the meeting: think about what you want to discuss, and remember that this may differ according to the employee’s specific role. Find a room where you won’t be interrupted and ensure that their normal duties are covered so you can make full use of the time.
  2. Don’t use the appraisal meeting as a disciplinary hearing – an appraisal is the opportunity to have a constructive conversation about the employee’s performance, not for allegations to be put to the employee about what they are doing wrong. Clearly, if they’re not pulling their weight, this needs to be addressed – but suggest ideas for improvement, rather than dishing out a disciplinary warning.
  3. Use a methodical approach comparing your assessment with the previous years’ assessments will make it easier to see consistencies, improvements or problems with their performance, and using a pro forma will help you to do this. Bring last year’s assessment to this year’s appraisal and see whether the employee has met the targets that were previously set. Pay increases are often awarded on the back of appraisals, so documentary evidence of improvement is invaluable. Build in a long-term plan of targets and objectives to give the employee overarching measures of improvement for their career path, rather than just short-term aspirations.
  4. Follow up decisions made during the meetingif decisions are agreed at the appraisal, such as extra training or secondments to other departments, make sure that you follow up on them. Employees who see that their employer supports their personal and career growth tend to be more loyal and more engaged with the organisation.

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