5 tips for carrying out effective appraisals

There is a good argument that appraisals are more important now, than they ever were.

Remote working, working in PPE, being tested for COVID on site, all demonstrate how we are working ‘differently’ to how we were before. It’s critical to understand how this difference is affecting the performance, mental health and productivity of your employees. 

1. Give constructive, regular feedback throughout the year

It is true that most of the preparation for carrying out an employee appraisal is done throughout the year. Remember, if the only time you provide your employees with feedback is during an annual or six monthly review, you could be wasting important time that your employees could use to improve. 

Providing constructive, regular feedback throughout the year will give a clear indication of what’s working and what isn’t, across your employees and whole organisation. There is a school of thought which says, ‘what an employee hears at their appraisal should not be new news’ – and we stand by it. 

2. Be open and honest about expectations

Throughout the year, and prior to the appraisal, make sure that you are open and honest  about what it is you expect from your employees or direct reports. They should always know to what level they are expected to perform, but it should also be clear exactly what they will be measured against.

3. Set goals

Employees should be able to leave the meeting with a set of goals that they personally want to accomplish for the benefit of the company. Setting goals can inspire employees to do better, but setting goals is an ongoing process and should move in the direction of travel of the organisation.

4. Address any poor performance immediately and respectfully

If an employee is displaying poor performance throughout the year, don’t wait until the appraisal time to tell them that they need to improve. Instead, take them aside at the time it occurs and talk to them about what they are struggling with. This can help secure a good working relationship where both parties are both happy to be open with each other.

5. Offer solutions and assistance

If there is an indication that employees are struggling, offer assistance or solutions in line with organisational policy. Remember that you aren’t just an evaluator and this exercise shouldn’t be viewed as a school report, you’re a leader, too. If you expect employees to improve, but don’t help them do so, they may feel unsupported and confused.

Lisa Trent is our HR guru

There really isn’t very much to do with people that she doesn’t know about! Whether it’s furloughing or people management, she’s on hand to help, but also listen.


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