Achieving an effective appraisal or performance review can be challenging, for all involved. Preparation is key. In order to get the most out of the whole performance review process it is extremely important to ensure that appraisals are carried out effectively. Done properly and they can lead to increased performance, career progression, job satisfaction and a more content and focused workforce.
The ingredients of a poorly led appraisal process are haste, as well as a mechanical approach to the process; they can have such a negative effect on the employee.
So here are some tips for those whose duties include conducting an appraisal of their team members:
1. Be prepared: The whole ethos of the appraisal is to have a productive discussion with an employee – so it is therefore useful to prepare information beforehand. Refer to emails and other forms of communication and make notes before the discussion takes place. Providing examples and offering evidence to the employee during the meeting makes it far easier to have discussions regarding performance. Being prepared also helps to save precious time during the appraisal.
2. Two-way. Remember that it is always a two-way procedure. The employee should be asked to prior complete a self-appraisal against the previously set goals, and be allowed lots of opportunity during the discussion to elaborate on their information and feed back. Let them talk, take ownership and have the chance to chat and answer anything through in full.
3. Be positive. Some employees feel apprehensive about their appraisal – because within many company’s factors such as promotion, salary increases and bonuses are affected by it. It can therefore be beneficial to start the discussion by highlighting all their positive skills, their contribution to their goals and where they have worked well/gone above and beyond. If any discussions regarding areas for improvement need to be made then this should be done with a tone of support rather than negativity; i.e. the aim is to focus on how and when these developments will be made. By working together more progress will be made.
4. Action plan. The action plan should be completed jointly, but mostly allowing the employee to own the plan and take responsibility for it. The plan should not be too long and yet focused on how and when they will achieve their goals. Any training or development should be mutually agreed and relevant to the set goals and objectives.
5. Set new goals. The appraisal discussion should then lead towards the establishment of new goals, or amendments to the previous goals. This, (once more) needs to be a two-way process, which should take into account the employee’s job role, skills and capabilities and the business/operational needs. It is also good to explain where the business currently stands financially and operationally and how the employee can help work towards any advancement in the short and long term.
6. Agree a date for goal review. Good practice is to formally set time aside each month – in a one-2-one meeting with the employee – to review progress against their goals. Otherwise goals and targets can easy slip. Regular communication and support helps towards ensuring that the appraisal process is a constant process and embedded into the ethos of the organisation.