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Managing Performance and the Appraisal Process

A good company will use an appraisal system to focus on their employees and help them progress in their role. This will not only increase staff retention and productivity, is will...

A good company will use an appraisal system to focus on their employees and help them progress in their role. This will not only increase staff retention and productivity, is will also create a good working relationship between employee and manager. Some appraisals can have a direct link to bonuses or pay rises which can have a negative effect on the process. If the discussion is mostly related to the employees pay instead of performance this needs to be addressed. Appraisals are an opportunity for both the management and employee to voice any opinions and check their working progress on a regular basis, this could also lead to future training and development.

Why use an appraisal system?

Both the employee and the manager have a platform to address any issues they are facing and give feedback for any ideas they deem beneficial. The manager also has an opportunity to give well deserved recognition and make plans for the coming year. If an employee isn’t doing as well as expected, this is also a chance to address any problems or highlight any concerns made from co-workers and other managers. An appraisal setting rather than moving through a more formal process is an opportunity to put the employee at ease and be rest assured their manager is looking to solve any issues and work on a plan together to improve performance instead of looking to punish or set unrealistic targets.

How to use an appraisal system

Dependant on job role and status in the company it will vary how often you will need to meet with management. This could be monthly, quarterly or annually. It is recommended that full preparation is made by the manager before any appraisal meeting. A self-appraisal on the employees part is also a good tool to use to scope how they think they have been doing. We also suggest giving the meeting details in good time to allow for thought for any ideas they may have or concerns they wish to raise. Please also expect some challenges at the meeting and ensure you have a plan on how to handle these situations as it is more beneficial to be constructive rather than defensive. Reviewing job descriptions or work plans to ensure all necessary points are covered will also be beneficial for the meeting. Finally; it is also really important to review any notes from previous meetings, especially if any kind of performance management had been used in the past.
It is important to discuss your expectations (on both sides) to ensure the appraisal is successful and progress is evident. Action points will need to be decided and a time scale agreed, if this is an annual meeting it may be necessary to have a small interim meeting to check progress. Training and development schemes can also be discussed at the meeting which can be an exciting notion for staff personal growth and a step closer to their career aspirations.


Setting Objectives

To ensure both parties are clear on how to proceed; objectives can be set to be achieved by the next appraisal meeting. This gives the employee a clear focus and understanding of what is expected of them and also gives the employer peace of mind that the employee is happy and driven. Objectives can be a selection of targets, future career aspects or skills related, the best objectives are where these are linked in with the overall company objectives. And I am sure most people know by now that ideally objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound).

How to give constructive criticism

Criticism should only be used where constructive. Nobody likes to receive criticism and it can cause upset and worry. If you do have points you wish to make to your employee, consider the following points;
• Use specific examples, this gives strength to your case instead of generalisation
• Ensure you do not show annoyance or give names of those who provided the information if it will cause an argument. Unless a formal complaint, no names need to be given
• Explain the effects the situation has had on the team and the company. However small – prevention is better than cure
• Encourage the employee to take responsibility for their actions and ensure they understand what they have done wrong
Appraisals can provide good stead for the company and continuous employee support shows care and attention is given. Remember, all levels of employee will need an appraisal as there are always ways to improve.

If you need any assistance in creating an appraisal tool kit or advice on delivering appraisals, please contact us on 01206 700 690. Our consultants are experts in this field and are always willing to help.
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