Saturday, 23 August 2014

Why staff appraisals matter

I strongly believe that a well-run appraisal system can transform staff effectiveness. 

One manager complained that his staff were not following set procedures. “If I’ve told them once, I’ve told them a thousand times...” he said. And that’s how this manager ran his appraisals: he talked at the staff, without listening to what they had to say. 


Performance appraisals are intended to be an opportunity for manager and employee to work together with the aim of improving results. 

A crucial aspect of the manager’s role is to ensure that his staff are fully aware of what is expected of them, how they are doing and how they can improve and develop.

(See my article Have a Clear Business Strategy for more on this.)


To ensure the appraisal process works, each person involved should write their views of the past year, and their thoughts for the future year. 

(And the manager should talk to additional people who have dealt with the person being appraised. This might mean other managers, people in other departments, or even colleagues of the appraisee.) 


The performance appraisal interview should be structured to encourage the member of staff to give feedback on both the procedure and their manager’s own performance. Both people need to have sufficient confidence and belief in the appraisal process that they are able to speak openly about awkward matters. 

Ideally none of the issues raised at the meeting should be news to either person, but the manager has to listen to make sure he hears what the member of staff is saying, otherwise he will not benefit. (And of course the meeting needs to take place with enough openness that the employee is able to listen too.) 

The appraisal meeting should look back at the year gone, and also look ahead, positively, to the year ahead. 

(Usually the looking forward part should take longer than the looking back part, but all the key issues need to be covered or the participants won’t feel better for the meeting.) 


By the end of the meeting the member of staff should be clear about their aims for the next year, and how their role fits in to the greater scheme of things. 

After this, when they are in doubt about what to do they should be able to apply an understanding of their objectives to determine how to proceed. They should appreciate why they are operating in a particular way; understand the systems and procedures in place; and be able to use them appropriately. 

They should also feel able to comment constructively on what they are doing, and so help the organisation to perform better. 

The end result should thus be more productive and also more satisfied staff.

© Copyright 2013, 2014 Cameron Somerville Web Designers Toolkit Websites