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Appraisal what to expect


Mon 1 April, 2019

Under review writing

Appraisal what to expect

Being prepared to perform at your best when your work is under review

Whether you like the idea or not it’s likely that at some stage you may be asked to explain your job performance.

The performance appraisal (1) – designed to review an employee’s performance, identify achievements and to set objectives for the future - can fill even the most confident member of staff with dread.

Traditionally carried out a yearly or twice-yearly, the review process is now viewed by many as outdated and it is increasingly being replaced with more regular informal review meetings (2)

Previous research by YouGov commissioned by MHR revealed that more than half of the employees who took part in the study were critical of the appraisal process (3) It was described variously as ‘pointless’ and ‘time consuming’ by 54 per cent of employees who had a negative view of the process.

The appraisal should be a two-way meeting in which a manager and employee can speak honestly and openly.

Whether you like or loath the performance review meeting, it is important that an employee knows what to expect and how to deal with the process. Here are a few tips.


You should be aware of what is expected of you in your role and how that performance will be assessed over a period of time.

In preparing for an appraisal meeting you should gather any evidence or information that can be used to demonstrate how well you have carried out your work.

The manager conducting the appraisal may have information that you dispute or feel is unfair, so be prepared to be able to counteract that.


It may be difficult for you to ‘blow your own trumpet’ (4) and highlight what you have achieved.

But be prepared, comfortable and confident talking about what you have done well in the period under consideration.

Do not go off track, for example by discussing rumours, other individuals in a team or why others are being treated differently, as it is important to concentrate on the matter at hand, which is your performance.

Try to agree on things

While you will mainly focus on the positives of your performance, it’s a manager’s job to highlight things that you may not have not done so well.

This can be uncomfortable and disagreeable, and there is nothing wrong in you taking an opposing view if you dispute what is said.

Being prepared for the meeting will enable you to justify your performance. But as with any difference of opinion it is important to stay calm, be flexible and to try and find common ground or a compromise. 

Accept responsibility

It may be a case that your performance meets or even exceeds expectations, but overall your team has not performed well.

Being able to acknowledge this and reflect on what more you could have done to help the team perform better, will show character and the potential to be a future leader.

The aim of the appraisal is individual evaluation, but it is worth remembering that it is also about your role in the context of a wider organisation.

Think ahead

While the focus of the appraisal will undoubtedly be on the period under review, it can also be an opportunity to look to the future.

The meeting can be used to identify any additional training needs or areas for personal development.

It can also be an opportunity to set goals and targets that will keep you enthused.

Appraisals should be an open forum to allow you and your manager to discuss your performance at work and any issues you may have about your career.

ACAS describe the main objective of the appraisal as to review performance, potential and identify training and career planning needs (5)

In addition ACAS say the appraisal system may be used to determine whether employees should receive an element of financial reward for their performance. It has produced detailed guidance on the appraisal process.

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For free employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call. 0333 772 0611


1) The performance appraisal [Internet] [Cited 1.4.19]

2) The review process [Internet] [Cited 1.4.19]

3)  Research by YouGov [Internet] [Cited 1.4.19]

4)  Blow your own trumpet [Internet] [Cited 1.4.19]

5)  Acas [Internet] [Cited on 1.4.19]

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