As we kick off a new year, many employers will be assessing their systems and processes to find ways in which to improve.
In doing so, you may come across some business practices that you don’t currently provide which could have a positive impact on your employees; one of these being staff appraisals.
Staff appraisals, or performance appraisals, can vary from company to company, but the general consensus is that they are regular reviews conducted by employers to assess how individual employees have performed throughout the year.
The Business Dictionary defines it aptly as:
“The process by which a manager or consultant examines and evaluates an employee’s work behaviour by comparing it with preset standards…and uses the results to provide feedback to the employee to show where improvements are needed and why.”
If this is not something currently in place at your company, you should consider introducing it as soon as possible.
What are the purposes and benefits of staff appraisals?
Staff appraisals have many purposes and benefits for employees, employers and the overall business.
First, it creates a healthy dialogue between employers and their staff giving them both an opportunity to raise any concerns, put forward praise in areas that have gone well and set targets for the upcoming year. The time can also be used to establish clear goals and agree on methods of tracking and rewarding performance moving forward.
It is one of the most effective ways of providing individual feedback and planning for the year ahead to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal.
Staff appraisals also help to boost employee morale as one on one time with their employer will make them feel noticed and appreciated as their hard work is being recognised.
Furthermore, having this regularly scheduled time in your calendar reminds employees that their work is being monitored and will be assessed which can drive them to be more productive and engaged.
When should you conduct staff appraisals?
There is no strict rule on how often businesses should schedule staff appraisals; however, the most common practice is to conduct them annually, especially if you have a large team and would not have the time to conduct well-prepared staff appraisals on a more frequent basis, for example, every quarter.
It should also be noted that staff appraisals are not a legal requirement for any business but they are seen as good business practice and are encouraged if you want to find ways to effectively manage your employees and get the best out of your team.
What things should you include in a staff appraisal?
It is important that staff appraisals follow a clear structure but, again, there is no hard and fast rule.
Below is a good example of what you might want to discuss in a staff appraisal.
- Praise and positive feedback
It’s always encouraged that employers start with the positive.
You can highlight what has worked well this year and praise the employee for any targets they have hit or areas in which they have improved; giving specific examples and using data to back up these points.
- Areas of improvement
Follow this up by discussing the areas where work still needs to be done, for example, are they late to work on a regular basis? Do they struggle to communicate well with their team? Have they missed a few deadlines?
- Goals for the future
You should close the appraisal by rounding out your expectations for the next month, quarter or year – depending on when you are next due to meet – and setting clearly defined goals and S.M.A.R.T targets for the employee.
Throughout the appraisal your employee should be given the opportunity to provide their own feedback and you should engage them in the conversation by asking them several questions:
- What have you enjoyed about your role during this period?
- What have you struggled with during this period?
- What would you like to do more of?
- What would you like to do less of/delegate to others?
- How do you think we could improve as a business?
- Where do you see yourself within this company by our next appraisal?
- Is there anything else that you would like the opportunity to discuss?
Some businesses also choose to use this opportunity to talk about pay, promotions, training, flexible working and company benefits.
What steps should be taken when conducting a staff appraisal?
Once you have prepared your agenda, you should take the appropriate steps to conduct the staff appraisal for each employee.
You should start by agreeing on a date for the meeting with the employee and setting it in your calendar (allow for at least an hour in your diary). When doing this, you should ensure that you give your employee enough notice (at least a week) and provide them with a copy of the agenda in advance of the meeting.
You will then need to prepare for the meeting by working through the points of discussion in the agenda. This will involve you spending some time assessing the employees’ work and pulling together some figures and examples to strengthen any points that you want to make during the meeting.
At the end of the meeting, you may decide on a date for the next one which you should diarise immediately.
You should also write up any notes from the meeting, or ask to be provided with notes from the minute taker, and send it to your employee so you have written evidence of everything that has been discussed, including any expectations/targets or things that need revisiting in the next appraisal.
If you need further advice on how to conduct staff appraisals, our HR consultants are on the other end of the phone ready to help. Call us today on 0845 2626 260 or email [email protected]