The idea of staff appraisals is that they are an on-going process which means that there shouldn’t be any surprises at the end of year appraisal. If there’s a problem with a member of staff or something has gone particularly badly then they should be approached at the time and resolution shouldn’t wait until their end of year appraisal.
Appraisals can happen throughout the year – some companies have them every three or six months – but generally they’re an annual occurrence where you and your manager will have the chance to sit down and discuss successes and improvements. Appraisals should be a two way thing so although your manager will bring up any achievements as well as areas that you can improve you will have the opportunity to bring up any problems that you have too.
Remember that appraisals should be informal meetings that not only assess progress but also set out new, achievable goals. If you’re a manager and will be conducting an appraisal then make sure you have the entire team and company in mind when setting out new goals for the future as although all employees are individual and should be treated as such, they all work together in order to make the company a success.
As a team manager there are certain things you need to do prior to conducting an appraisal and if you’re an employee there are things that you need to prepare for.
1. Preparation: Preparation is key for both parties; as a manager you need to take a look back at the employee’s previous goals and objectives and assess whether or not they have been met. Employees need to make sure they’re familiar with their objectives so that they’re in a position to discuss them with their manager.
2. Atmosphere: The tone of an annual appraisal should always be informal but the conversation should be honest and frank. Before entering into too much detail make sure you start with a general discussion so that you both feel comfortable.
3. Positivity: You need to be careful with how you approach feedback, one thing to make sure is that you always begin positively even if you have a negative point to make. Everyone needs encouragement and praise so if you start with this it will make the criticism easier to handle.
4. About the employee: As a manger you will naturally want to take the lead in the conversation but it’s essential to let your employees talk. Allowing them to take the lead will allow them to bring up problems that the conversation might not have permitted otherwise.
5. Self-appraisal: A lot of people will underestimate their abilities and don’t understand the assets that they bring to the company. Ask the employee to evaluate their performance and use this as a basis for discussion because quite often your will open their eyes to how much they’re really worth to the company.
6. Assess performance: You should only ever refer to things that have actually happened. You need to forget about personal relationships and friendships between you and your team members and eliminate their personality from your judgements because you can only assess their performance on actual events and behaviour.
7. Objectives: You should always end an appraisal in the same way that you began – on a positive note – by deciding on manageable some manageable objective that the employee should work at for the period until their next appraisal.