Employee Appraisals

An employee appraisal, also known as a performance appraisal, is a method of discussing, evaluating and documenting an employee’s performance in their job role.

Appraisals allow you to enhance the communication between line managers and their employees, recognise achievements and strengths, as well as discuss weaknesses, training needs and any potential issues.

Appraisals are a great way of approaching delicate issues that could have resulted in grievances, disputes and a breakdown of relationships down the line if they hadn’t been addressed.

Employees need to understand how they are performing in order to:

  1. Learn and enhance their skills.
  2. Stay motivated and feel appreciated.
  3. Reach their maximum potential.
  4. Maximise your return on investment.

Appraisals are an opportunity to sit down and review performance over a period of time. The appraiser’s role is to help ensure that the employee’s past and current performance is jointly and fairly reviewed, and is based on evidence.

What should you do when conducting an appraisal? 

  • Agree with the employee the date, time and location of the appraisal
  • Give the employee a preparation form
  • Ensure both parties have details of the key targets and objectives agreed the previous year
  • Gather the information necessary for a meaningful discussion to take place, in particular, details of the employee’s actual performance
  • Manage the appraisal discussion so that both parties can effectively contribute
  • Be balanced, ensure that there are positives, as well as any negatives
  • Keep a record of positive and negative behaviour throughout the year
  • Jointly agree key targets and associated objectives
  • Complete the appraisal form after the interview and give it to the employee for confirmation of the content and to add any comments
  • Return the document to the employee for any final comments following review and signature

When conducting appraisals do not: 

  • Treat it as a disciplinary meeting
  • View appraisals in isolation
  • Use them instead of performance management or disciplinary processes
  • Rush them
  • Be completely negative
  • Skirt over or fail to deal with any conduct or capability issues

In order to be effective, appraisals need to be conducted honestly. The appraisal should reflect the employee’s true performance. If you fail to tackle performance issues this could cause you problems further down the line.