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Appraisals and what to expect

Published 25 November 2019

The good work needed to get the most out of a performance appraisal

For some employees talking openly and comfortably about their achievements and what they are best at can be…well, slightly uncomfortable.

While some workers have no problem exalting their own perceived greatness, for others the prospect of a work appraisal can be a daunting one.

The performance appraisal is a review of your job performance and overall contribution to an organisation. (1)

The meeting provides an opportunity for you to tell management all about what you have done well. As a good performance review can sometimes lead to a pay rise or bonus, being able to talk confidently about your prowess is an advantage.

It is why it is worthwhile taking a look at what you can expect with a performance appraisal.

The appraisal meeting can help you and your manager to create a plan for development through additional training and increased responsibilities, as well as to identify any weaknesses you may have that need to be worked on.

Traditionally performance appraisals would take place annually or every six months. As covered in this space previously, many employers are now ditching the old-style approach in favour of more regular catch-up meetings. (2)

In whatever way your employer chooses to conduct its performance appraisal it is important that you are prepared, and plan for it. It is reported that it was Benjamin Franklin who once said: If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail. (3)

If you prepare correctly, for an appraisal meeting it provides the ideal opportunity for you to demonstrate your achievements and spell out exactly how you would like your role to evolve.

Poor performance appraisals, which raise legitimate questions about your capability to perform your duties can be catastrophic for your career. Lack of capability can be a fair reason for dismissal if an employer thinks you are not up to the job. (4)

Full appraisal reviews differ from casual catch-ups because they are structured, require preparation and can have far-reaching ramifications.

They are typically intended to assess your overall progress; areas of strength and weakness; examine your workload, career goals, objectives and overall comfort in the role.

In preparing for the meeting bear in mind that your manager is unlikely to remember everything that you have done in the period under review.

It is always a good idea to review any prior appraisals in advance of the meeting just to remind yourself of what was discussed last time. It will help you to measure and discuss any progress made.

For the meeting gather information and evidence of your achievements and development, which you can present at the meeting. It can include evidence of positive feedback from management, colleagues, customers or clients.

As with any presentation making sure you get your message across clearly is crucial. Any positive information that you present to support how well you have performed should be concise, clear and to the point.

The meeting also provides an opportunity for you to discuss and talk about any career goals that you have. It is also a chance to ask any questions that you may have about any aspect of your role.

The appraisal will usually be completed and signed off by your manager and you will also have to sign it. A record of the appraisal will be kept as evidence of your development and progress.

If you disagree with anything that is documented there is usually a section in which you can add comments. Any dispute with what is written down can be noted in the additional comments segment.

Appraisals should be an open forum that will enable you and your line manager to discuss your performance and any issues you have about your career.

Not all appraisals will be positive and agreeable. Most employers will have an appeals process or similar procedure in place to address any issues and record your concerns

ACAS has produced a comprehensive guide on performance management. (5) It explains for employers how to get performance management right, the steps to take and how to maintain effective performance management arrangements.



(1) Performance Appraisal - [Internet] [Cited 25.11.19]

(2) Catch up Meetings – [Internet] [Cited 25.11.19]

(3) Prepare and Plan – [Internet] [Cited 25.11.19]

(4) Fair Dismissals – [Internet] [Cited 25.11.19]

(5) Performance Management – [Internet] [Cited 25.11.19]


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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


A reputation built on success

For 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. 


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