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The Appraisal System

For a number of our clients, April sees the start of annual appraisal schemes as it can tie in nicely with the start of the financial year, new budgets and potential pay rises (where applicable).

Appraisals are an effective tool to help maintain the employment relationship, engage, develop and motivate your employees – if they are used correctly.

Very often it is perceived by managers that carrying out an appraisal system is very complex and time consuming, however, as long as you have a fair and correct procedure in place, appraisals can be simple. There is also a fear amongst management that appraisals can cause unrest in the team, if the message that needs to be delivered is not entirely positive.

So how can we help, well let’s take it back to basics. What is an appraisal? Putting it simply, it is a two way discussion with your employee to review past performance and then focus on the future.

What should you cover; the employees overall performance which may include conduct, attitude, attendance….remember communication is key and ensure the appraisal is a positive experience.

Below are some helpful steps to guide you through a productive and fair appraisal.

  1. Make certain that the employee knows when the formal reviews will be held, this ensures that they have plenty of notice to prepare. It is their appraisal and therefore their responsibility to ensure they have all the evidence that they require to support their performance to date.  It also allows them time to think about their own development and how this could be supported by the business.
  2. Preparation is key. You should go into the meeting with clear points of feedback. This may include feedback from other colleagues, managers or customers. Remember you may need to provide evidence that supports your feedback/views. Always have the notes from the last appraisal, this way you are able to assess whether the previous goals have been met. This will also help you review what improvements are still required.
  3. Always begin and end the appraisal on a positive point. Even if overall the employee isn’t performing well it is important to open discussions positively as this will help them relax. You want the employee to feel motivated when they leave the appraisal so ensure your parting comment leaves them feeling they are ready for a new challenge.
  4. Keep the appraisal friendly and relaxed, remember this isn’t a formal meeting and you don’t want the employee to feel nervous around you in the following weeks. You will want to continue to work with this person so you want to continue to build a stronger working relationship.
  5. In the appraisal, agree with the employee next steps and goals. Try to include the employee in any decisions you make. Suggest training programmes and any other methods that could support development.

Obviously the appraisal does not end there, you always need to follow up and ensure that both you and the employee are working towards the agreed targets.

If you would like more information about how you decide what appraisal system is right for your business, please book an appointment with our HR Consultants today.

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