Conducting Powerful Performance Appraisals

Mar 13 08:42 2008 Duncan Brodie Print This Article

Appraisals done well can be incredibly rewarding for a manager and employee.  So how can you start conducting powerful performance appraisals?

Most organisations have some form of performance appraisal system for staff.  These range from once a year meetings to rolling monthly appraisals with numerous variations in between.  Appraisals when done well are valued by employees whatever level they operate at.   On the other hand done badly they can be a huge de-motivator.  Conducting a powerful performance appraisal does not happen by chance.  So how can you make performance appraisals more powerful?

Be prepared

Preparation is key for both the manager who will be carrying out the appraisal and the employee who is being appraised.   Allow employees some time ahead of the appraisal session to reflect on what they have achieved,Guest Posting learned and want to develop.  Make this time available during the working day.  It gives a message that you care about the employee.  If you are the appraiser, collect a range of feedback on the employee from a number of sources rather than relying on what is fresh in your memory from recent dealings with the employee.  Even better start to keep a log of achievements and encourage employees to do the same.

Focus on the person not the process

Have you ever had an appraisal where the appraiser seemed to be more concerned about completing the paper work rather than you?  Sadly this is all too common.  Remember the paper work is a means to an end not an end in itself.  A simple but effective way of making sure you address all of the paper work requirements but really focuses on the person is to have a simple agenda.

Listen more talk less

The bulk of your time as an appraiser should be spent on listening.  If you have prepared well and use good open questions in the appraisal meeting, listening becomes easy.  For example, what do you believe you have done particularly well this year gives the employee the opportunity to talk and you to listen to their achievements.

No surprises

If there have been performance issues during the year, these should have been dealt with at the time and a way forward agreed.  The appraisal is not the place to start raising major performance issues.  Nor is it a time to surprise the employee.  Avoid surprises if you want to conduct powerful performance appraisals.

Allocate sufficient time

Most employees only get the opportunity a few times each year to sit down with their manager and talk about themselves, so make sure that you allocate sufficient time for the meeting.  There is no hard and fast rule on this but in my experience anything less than one hour is likely to be too short.  It is better to allow more time than you think you need and finish early rather than rushing against the clock.

Conducting powerful performance appraisals can be hugely rewarding for the employee and the manager.  So what’s the next step you to become a better appraiser?

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Duncan Brodie
Duncan Brodie

Duncan Brodie of Goals and Achievements works with individuals, teams and organisations to develop their management and leadership capability.  Sign up for his free e-course and newsletter at

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