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What are the most effective approaches to employee appraisals?

The process of employee appraisals differs from one organisation to another and will depend, to a certain extent, on the culture of the business. However, there are some key tactics that provide a solid foundation for any enterprise looking to get this essential element of employee engagement right.

Goal setting is key

Providing an employee with goals lays the foundation for performance by clearly setting out exactly what is required between now and the next appraisal. Such a transparent approach to progress gives employees the best possible chance of meeting the objectives that have been set for them and progressing in their careers. It also offers a method for measuring what has been achieved with more objectivity.

Employee evaluation needs to be unambiguous

Issues can arise with an appraisals process that is opaque and difficult for employees to understand. How does your organisation carry out appraisal and performance review – is there an element of self-appraisal, are employees also expected to review other staff on a 360-degree basis? Managing employee expectations over appraisals means providing full information so that there are no issues that arise over how the process is managed and what employees need to do in order to do well.

Setting standards requires clarity

What does it take to be an “outstanding” employee within your organisation? What kind of behaviour would put an employee in a difficult position at the other end of the scale? As well as individual goal setting and clarity on the appraisals process it’s also important that every employee understands what steps will take them to a very positive place, as well as the types of behaviour or performance that could be problematic. This kind of clarity not only ensures employees are well informed but provides considerable motivation too.

Feedback should be gathered broadly

Appraisals have more impact when a wider number of individuals have had input into them. Broad feedback also helps to avoid accusations of bias or a lack of objectivity – and is essential if you want to get a really clear picture of achievement, performance and personal engagement with the business culture. So, the best appraisal processes tend to be set up to draw feedback from multiple sources, as opposed to a single manager.

The positive and the negative require balance

In most situations there will always be something positive to say about an employee in an appraisal – very few are likely to be entirely negative. Focusing the appraisal on the positive and spending more time discussing these aspects of performance and behaviour can be more constructive than an appraisal designed purely to highlight problems or issues.

Appraisals should be a conversation

Gone are the days when appraisals were a tick box exercise during which the employee remained largely silent. Today, the most constructive appraisals are more of a conversation that includes discussion of the employee’s goals, career hopes, what more they feel they need from the business and how they can better develop at the company. For organisations looking to improve their approach to Managing Appraisals we offer a course designed to help businesses see the benefits of refining this process. Contact PTP today to find out more.