With meetings to attend, phone calls to make and deadlines to hit employees will often struggle to find the time to self-assess and consider their performance.

Employees in positions with more predictable schedules may fall into a routine and similarly neglect to consider how their job is going.

This is why it is important to make time to monitor individual job performance. Improvements in individual performance will translate into the overall success of your organisation.

A system of performance appraisals is a proven way to manage employee performance.     

What is an employee performance appraisal?

Employee performance appraisals or reviews provide employers with an opportunity to meet with employees to discuss their performance and development. Employees will typically meet with their line manager to review recent accomplishments and set future goals. This exercise helps employees in any position to reach their potential.

From the employee perspective, performance reviews provide a perfect platform to discuss career development initiatives such as relevant training or to seek other in-house work supports. Supporting employees with their career path goals will foster greater job satisfaction and greater levels of trust between employer and employee.

No matter the role, be it office-based or outdoor, client-facing or managerial, part-time or full-time, all types of employee will profit from taking this dedicated time to reflect.

How to conduct the employee performance reviews?

Formal staff appraisals are typically scheduled on an annual basis. As the annual performance appraisal will involve the assessment of a good deal of information, it is important that the employer and line manager are well prepared and familiar with the relevant data in advance of the meeting.      

All parties should take time to consider their own objectives prior to the meeting. It is helpful to provide the employee with a staff appraisal form (Bright HR link?) which will facilitate discussion. Line managers will also speak to colleagues to gain further insights which will inform the conversation. By seeking information from as many sources as possible, line managers are in a position to conduct what is known as a ‘360 review’.

Line managers should focus on the following during the appraisal meeting:

  • assessment of performance against KPI’s and softer employer targets like behavioural and ethical values
  • provision of feedback in relation to the employee’s progress and development including praise for jobs well done
  • identification of room to improve, line managers should suggest resources, training or any other relevant mentoring schemes that would help the employee improve on areas of weakness
  • seek useful feedback, the appraisal represents an opportunity for the employee to provide feedback on areas in which the employer could provide better support or training.

Following the employee performance review

Employees should receive a copy of the appraisal report as soon as possible following the review meeting. By providing the report directly after the meeting the employee will be in a position to take positive action on their areas of improvement early in the following year.

Alternative communication approach to go hand in hand with staff appraisals

Although periodic review meetings are favoured by many organisations, other employers will encourage regular dialogue throughout the year. This approach has the benefit of addressing issues at an early stage denying them the chance to fester and deteriorate into deeper rooted problems.

Getting performance appraisals right

Time should be taken to ensure that staff appraisals are carried out with due care. A significant upside of an effective employee performance appraisal system is improved output and performance. To maximise the benefits to be gained from employee performance reviews your organisation should focus on the following:

  • ensure senior management are committed to employee appraisals, reviewers should receive proper training in how to conduct employee reviews and be provided with enough time and support to carry out the reviews as comprehensively as necessary.
  • don’t overcomplicate, make appraisal forms easy to complete, make targets straightforward and keep paperwork to a minimum.
  • review the reviews, ensure that employee reviews are carried out regularly and that constructive feedback is sought to ensure that employee performance reviews remain relevant.

An effective employee appraisal process is not required by law but if deployed correctly the appraisal process will help you get the most out of your most important resource, your people.

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