By Gareth Westhead – 26th June 2018
By Gareth Westhead – 26th June 2018
Performance appraisals are a fairly polarising subject. Some question their effectiveness, whilst others consider them to be more important than ever. The CIPD suggest that criticism of performance appraisals, whilst often justified, can stem from a misunderstanding of what makes an appraisal effective.
A performance appraisal is a review of an employee’s performance, skills and overall contribution to the progress of a company. It is a chance for an employee and their manager to discuss achievements, identify areas for improvement (and any associated training opportunities) and plan future objectives.
Appraisals are still seen by many as an annual event; one in which an employee’s performance over the last 12 months is reviewed and new ‘objectives’ set for review in 12 months time, with few other reviews in between. The annual review still has its place, but in modern businesses its impact will be fairly limited.
Performance is an ever evolving area within a business, and employees should be given measurable targets, aligned with business objectives that are reviewed regularly. Ongoing, open conversations about performance against clear and measurable targets are far more valuable to you as an employer, and to your employees, than a once a year meeting.
Whether conducted annually or more regularly, an appraisal is an important meeting for you as an employer, so it is vital that you should be prepared.
Before an appraisal meeting, both you and your employee’s should think about objectives and write them down so that there are clearly defined areas for discussion.
If you are making use of 360 degree feedback, collect this ahead of the meeting to allow time to digest any feedback. This will allow you to attend the appraisal meeting with defined topics for discussion and reflection.
During the appraisal the manager should:
Assess an employee’s performance against measurable targets, e.g. revenue, and softer targets associated with professionalism and conduct
Provide clear and honest feedback tied to previously set objectives. What went particularly well and what could have gone better?
Make recommendations as to how an employee can improve. When doing this, make sure you offer clear suggestions and back them up with access to relevant training and resources that could help.
Encourage open and honest feedback from your employees. Employees can be distrustful of the appraisal process, but actively encouraging and listening to their feedback could help to engage them and make appraisals more constructive.
Discuss and agree objectives moving forward. These should again be clear, measurable and linked with the business goals.
After the appraisal, you should write up an appraisal report and send this to your employee and keep a record yourself.
The report should detail your assessment, your feedback along with your employee’s feedback and your suggestions for improvement, including any agreed training. Finally, you should include agreed objectives so that your employees can work on their actions and you can both track progress simultaneously.
Performance appraisals should be a productive use of time, dedicated to helping employees improve their performance with the aim that this helps improve business performance. Our top tips are:
Whether you believe that appraisals are a process-driven, form-filling activity that takes away creativity and adds more administrative pressure to managers and HR managers, or you think a standardised appraisal system is key to company performance – the importance to get it right, whatever approach you take is fundamental to success.
You might have a brilliant employer branding strategy, excellent onboarding processes and a strong organisational culture, but does every employee understand their role, their objectives and how they align with the overall strategy and what they need to do to support it?
Contact us a for a demo and see what Cascade can do for your business.