HR Expert: Performance Appraisals

My client wants to start holding performance appraisals with their employees on a regular basis to encourage their development. What sort of things do they need to consider?

Performance appraisals are often seen as an important aspect of the modern workplace and holding these on a regular basis will afford your client an opportunity to provide employees with valuable feedback designed to aid in their professional development.

Prior to holding a performance appraisal, it is advisable that your client first develops a performance appraisal policy. Well-constructed policies will enable your client to outline their approach to conducting appraisals by confirming the purpose and process of an appraisal meeting, as well as how often they will take place.

Preparation is key if your client is to get the most out of a performance appraisal and they must avoid the temptation to treat this as a box-ticking exercise. Therefore, in advance of the meeting, your client will need to devote sufficient time to assess their employees’ performance by weighing this up against the duties of their role, referring to key performance indicators where possible. Your client should outline areas of strength, as well as any necessary improvements, and ensure they have the correct documentation ready ahead of time for note keeping purposes.

When it comes to arranging the appraisal your client should select a date and time that is suitable for both parties and send the employee an invitation in advance. Although certain circumstances may require the meeting to be rescheduled on occasion, your client should try to avoid this wherever possible to prevent any unrest.  

During the appraisal meeting itself, your client should remain professional, calm and considered. Although the meeting is formal in nature, it may help allay any nerves on the employee’s behalf if your client incorporates a more relaxed tone. When explaining their findings to the employee, your client is advised to give a balanced view of their performance using real-life examples where possible.

As this will be their first round of appraisals, your client won’t be able to compare an individual’s performance to any previous objectives. However, individuals should be made aware of the methods your client used to evaluate their performance on this occasion. It is also important that employees are given the opportunity to express their own views on their performance. Your client should pay close attention here, especially if individuals highlight any ongoing issues or areas where there may be a need for further training.  

Finally, it is important to agree on several action points that need to be addressed, or improved, ahead of the next performance appraisal. This will not always be solely for the employee and could include areas that your client needs to address in their organisation. Your client is also encouraged to email a full copy of any action plan and other agreed points to the employee for their own records and keep these on file themselves as a way of tracking an employee’s development.

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