5 Tips for Managers Conducting Employee Appraisals

   General Article

Employee appraisals are no longer just an optional HR and management tool. They are integral in modern business.

Every employee has a right to know how well they are achieving goals generally and in relation to sales targets or service level agreements. If they don’t know where any weaknesses lie, how can they improve and meet objectives successfully?

Employee appraisals advisor Robin Rhodes who works with Thames Valley Business Advisors and primarily focuses on helping SME’s across the Thames Valley can work with management to make appraisals optimally productive for everyone involved.

Robin has over 30 years of experience in HR and 20 years overseeing employment tribunals so his advice really makes a difference.

Below are Robin’s 5 top tips for managers conducting employee appraisals:

  • Prepare with knowledge.
  • Establish a rapport.
  • Focus on facts only.
  • Avoid peripheral issues.
  • Offer actionable recommendations.

Many managers make the mistake of not preparing correctly for appraisals. They must know what the purpose of the appraisal is, the job description, special circumstances and contract information related to the employee.

As appraisals are for the employee’s benefit too, allow them time to prepare fully. Advising a team member that their appraisal takes place in two hours is not good business practice.

Confidence results from preparation, chaos ensues from a lack of it. Show that you care enough to learn all that you need to ahead of the appraisal, the employee deserves the attention.

Establishing a rapport is essential. Taking a few minutes for informal discussion eases tension. Leaping straight in to the appraisal itself has a counterproductive effect. Information won’t be readily volunteered and the employee will be reluctant to involve themselves. How do you feel when you enter a situation and no effort is made to put you at your ease?

Don’t fall in to the trap of using assumptions, hearsay, misunderstandings or accusations as a basis for an appraisal. Facts alone should be utilised. The job description states certain tasks, therefore the performance of these should be assessed and discussed.

It may be that there is a personality clash between the employee and a colleague about where to park their car, they both like the same bay. This isn’t the time to discuss the matter.

Another pitfall is to focus on peripheral issues which don’t have a direct relevance to the employee appraisal. Perhaps there is a new company rule about dress code which isn’t popular but this cannot be resolved by the manager or subject of the appraisal. Getting stuck on these kinds of areas jeopardises the success of the appraisal.

It’s not sufficient to tell an employee that they aren’t doing something well enough. The manager should make reasonable and achievable suggestions to help the employee improve.  The development can be a shared project in many instances. The employee should never feel lost about the next step. An actionable positive plan is the basis from which they may grow.

You need to assess performance for the company and employee’s benefit. Do it well.