With the end of the year approaching fast, now is a really good time for you to be thinking about annual appraisals. It is ideal if you can complete them all by the end of the year, as they give you a good opportunity to review the performance of your staff this year; and to plan what you want them to achieve next year.
Many managers approach appraisals with fear and trepidation. However, if you put some time into preparing for them, they can be a very useful tool for developing your people and improving performance across your business. Read on to find out how to this simply and efficiently!
It seems that many managers, whether relatively new to the job, or with many years of experience, would rather not spend more time than is absolutely necessary on annual appraisals. They have bad press as being a waste of everyone’s time. This is quite possible, if you approach them at the last minute, with no preparation. Here are three steps that will help you and your employees to find them much easier to get through and actually get the best from your time.
This is one of the most important stages of the appraisal process and is often missed or skipped over too quickly. You need to have facts about each employee’s performance and evidence of instances in which they have performed well or badly. This will make the appraisal constructive and meaningful.
Throughout the year, track each employee’s performance and keep a log of memorable incidents or projects they’re involved in. Look back at previous appraisal information and job descriptions to make sure they are meeting their agreed objectives.
Make sure that your employees are prepared too. Agree the date, time and place for the meeting at least two weeks in advance; brief them on the importance and scope of the meeting and what you expect from them. Ask them to spend some time thinking about what they’d like to discuss at the meeting too. Click here for an example of a form that you can ask each employee to complete before the appraisal.. If an employee also works for someone else in the business, ask them to be involved too.
- The Meeting
Once the preparation is done, here’s how to carry out the meeting:
- Ask open and probing questions, giving your employees the opportunity to decide how to answer; encourage them to talk freely
- Listen to what they say without interrupting. Also watch their body language for messages
- Evaluate performance, not personality. Focus on how well the employee does their job rather than personal characteristics
- Give feedback based on facts not subjective opinion. Use feedback to positively reinforce the good. In the case of underperformance, use it to help the employee understand the impact of their actions or behaviour and the corrective action required
- Set SMART objectives for the future and set a timeline for improvement if an employee is underperforming. Look also for development opportunities to help your employees reach their potential.
Document each appraisal. Write a summary of the discussion, what was agreed and any action to be taken while it’s fresh in your mind.
- Follow Up
Don’t just walk away at the end of the meeting, breathing a sigh of relief and forgetting about it all until next year!
Do what you say you will do. Fulfilling your promises reflects well on you and your business. If you’ve set deadlines for performance reviews, follow up on them. Check on progress that you discussed in the meeting.
Not following up with appraisals means that the whole process will be a waste of time and something that neither you nor your employees look forward to or find useful. Spend some time planning and preparing and you’ll find them really useful and productive.
If you need help with appraisals, why not use our Appraisal Service? We will help you to hold meetings that actually work for you, your staff and your business. Click here to find out more.