How To Make The Most Of Appraisals

How To Make The Most Of Appraisals

For many managers and employees, appraisals can be treated as a tick-box exercise. They’re an annual meeting to work through and then forget about.

But when they’re done correctly and actions are taken as a result of what’s said in an appraisal, they can be very valuable. A recent article for Real Business highlighted what you should be doing to make sure your appraisals go well and are productive for managers and employees alike.

The news provider explained that, when carried out constructively, an appraisal is a valuable opportunity for open dialogue between a manager and one of their team members. This should be a process that’s encouraged throughout the year, but the annual appraisal helps to focus attention.

Before you sit down for the actual appraisal though, you should fill in a staff appraisal form. This is a chance for you to collect feedback from any direct reports, as well as colleagues and managers, if appropriate, and to record your own thoughts.

It can also be useful to have each staff member fill in their own self appraisal forms before your meeting.

When you sit down for the meeting it’s advisable to begin with a general discussion. You can then use the appraisal form to guide the discussions and make sure you cover everything.

It’s also important to make sure you both understand the period of time that you’re discussing in the appraisal. If you’re only talking about performance over the past six months, for instance, make sure that’s clear from the beginning.

A vital part of the appraisal should be discussing development opportunities. People are often happiest when they know they have the chance to progress in their role, so talk about what courses are available to them. If they express an interest in developing a particular skill, it’s important to do your best to facilitate this.

One of the key elements of the appraisal process is setting objectives for each employee to follow over the coming six or 12 months. Make sure you’re creating smarter objectives for each person that will aid their development and enhance your team.

It’s also important that any objectives you set are measurable, otherwise it’s difficult to judge someone’s progress over the agreed timeframe.

Research published at the end of last year by OfficeTeam and shared by HR Dive revealed that appraisals appear to be getting shorter and happening more frequently.

The survey found that 39 per cent of the HR professionals surveyed had made their appraisals shorter in 2018, with 36 per cent also increasing their frequency. The main advantage to conducting regular appraisals is to help employees focus on their goals and achievements, and therefore to help them and the company remain forward-looking.

According to the news provider, more and more businesses are transitioning to a different appraisal process, one that retains an annual review but that includes shorter, more regular appraisals. The main criticism of a single annual review of someone’s performance is that it focuses too much on past behaviour, rather than on how they can improve in the future.