7 November 2019
How to conduct an appraisal

Everyone hates appraisals – even the people who have to conduct them. This is the opportunity for both employee and employer whether that be in the form of a Manager or HR representative, can sit down to discuss the previous year and any issues or problems that may need addressing.

Performance appraisals can be extremely damaging to the person sat on the other side of the desk if not planned and executed correctly. If negative feedback is given, but not supported with a positive outcome, then the member of staff can feel demotivated or in some situations, pushed out of the door. This is the time to listen to the employee’s opinions as it provides you with a clear insight into company life outside of your office door. If one employee is unhappy about a certain something, then most likely the whole office feels the same.

As a result, there have been reports of companies excluding the formal appraisal process and replacing it with ongoing performance conversations and feedback. The point shows that a good appraisal would have solved this issue, rather than having to change the process.

First of all, consider the following four steps when planning the appraisal:

  1. Schedule the meeting time at least a few days in advance allowing the employee time to prepare, but not too long that they begin to dread and worry about it.
  2. Choose a meeting place that is comfortable and private. (Not in front of a glass wall that overlooks the office for people to see)
  3. Avoid discussing motivation or personal issues.
  4. Be sure to give the employee an opportunity and plenty of time to discuss his/her feelings and reactions to your feedback. They should at ease and comfortable, not on a timer.


  • talk too much or dominate the meeting
  • make personal criticisms – criticise performance related to their job role and responsibilities instead
  • impose objectives which the employee has not agreed
  • rely on scheduled reviews alone to manage employee performance – this isn’t a one hit wonder

During the appraisal your main objectives are to evaluate the previous year’s performance and establish objectives for the coming year.

Here’s a few things to tick off during the appraisal:

  • Review and discuss your performance ratings on competencies.
  • Review and discuss your performance ratings on goals.
  • Review and discuss overall performance.
  • Set goals for the coming year.
  • Set development plans to address skill gaps.
  • Discuss your employee’s career aspirations and set appropriate development plans.
  • Complete the administrative paperwork for the appraisal – take notes for you to look back on after and any actions you need to take.

Remember that appraisals are once a year, but staff development is ongoing. Provide feedback and support regularly for the employee to improve on. Consider the points raised in the meeting to know whether the employee is motivated by career progression or gratitude.

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