Preparing For Staff Appraisals

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It may seem a task that you just don’t have time for, but regular staff appraisals are important and a crucial part of a performance management system.

If you aren’t already conducting these then we recommend that you get started right away.

Appraisals are an opportunity for employers to review staff performance and set objectives whilst employees can use it as a chance to give feedback in a confidential setting. It’s a great way to encourage an open dialogue and share ideas and information.

It can also help employees feel engaged, motivated and give them an understanding of what is expected of them so that they can work more productively.

It’s important that you make the best use of the time you set aside for each employee, so here are some tips on how to prepare for staff appraisals.

Prepare Notes

It is never good practice to walk into any sort of meeting without some notes written up because it’s easy to forget everything you need to cover by the time you have sat down.

A day or two before the scheduled appraisal, we would advise that you spend just 30 minutes putting together an action plan document for the meeting.

This should cover the meeting format and any points that you want to discuss so that you are sure not to miss anything important.

Give Staff Ample Notice

The employee will need to prepare their own notes for the appraisal too so it is only fair that you let them know about it well in advance.

At least a week’s notice is enough time for them to pull something together and ensure that they can make time in their schedule for the meeting.

Provide Employees with a Self-Assessment Form

One of the most constructive methods of employee preparation is to complete a self-assessment form as written up by you, the employer.

This enables you to ensure that the employee is aware of what is likely to be discussed in the meeting so that they have the appropriate notes ready. It will save a lot of time in the meeting as the employee will have prepared answers and time prior to the appraisal to think of everything they would like to bring up.

Set Aside Enough Time

It is probably best practice to set aside an hour for staff appraisals even if you feel like some will not take that long at all.

The last thing you want to do is find yourself rushing through an appraisal because you only scheduled half an hour and have another meeting immediately afterwards. This will make the employee feel undervalued and demotivated, especially if they feel as though there was not enough time to discuss everything they had spent time preparing.

Have A Meeting Agenda in Place

Before you even get into the appraisal, you should ask yourself ‘what do you want to get out of this meeting‘. This may differ from employee to employee as in some cases you may find that an employee needs clearer targets to help them with productivity; whereas, another may need a sign of appreciation for their hard work over the last few months.

You should set out a clear schedule for the meeting to achieve this i.e. open the meeting by looking at the positives and achievements over the last few weeks/months, then discuss areas of improvement, then set the targets.

We would always advocate to try and finish on a positive note too!

Ask A Lot of Questions

A staff appraisal should not be a one-way system. It is just as much an opportunity for employees to feedback to you on their concerns, struggles, achievements, objectives and ideas.

Though much of this can be included on the self-assessment form, you should also have some questions prepared for the meeting too, such as how are you managing your workload, are there any areas of your role that you don’t enjoy, what goals would you set yourself for the next 12 months etc.

Set S.M.A.R.T Objectives

Use the S.M.A.R.T system to set objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based.

The purpose of this method is to ensure that employees clearly understand what is expected of them and within what time-frame so that they can track their progress over time.

Provide Follow-Up Notes

Within a day or two of conducting the staff appraisal, it is important that the employee receives follow-up notes via email.

This could simply be a bullet-point list of everything that was discussed and the actions that were agreed on along with a date in the diary for the next meeting.

These notes are a helpful reminder for the employee and something to refer to in the next meeting.

If you need further advice on how to prepare for and conduct regular staff appraisals then call us on 0845 2626 260.

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