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Keeping your cool to get the most out of an appraisal

Published 16 July 2018

There is a risk that an appraisal meeting can turn into the type of slanging match you see on a popular TV talk show, but done properly it can have huge benefits.

The Jeremey Kyle Show (1) usually features heated debates about performance of a different kind, while the workplace review should, hopefully, be a much calmer affair.

A successful appraisal meeting should see a full, frank - but friendly exchange of views.

The appraisal (2) will usually take place every six or 12 months annually and are designed to:

·         Identify if the employee is performing as expected and to such a level it is worthy of additional financial remuneration such as a pay rise or bonus.

·         Identify if the employee is not performing as expected and how best to address the issues or cause.

·         Pinpoint any areas for employee development.


The appraisal meeting process (3) will usually include a self-assessment section for the employee to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their own performance and a face-to-face meeting with a line manager.
The appraisal system has been tried and tested over many years but a number of companies have varied the way in which it is being done by using the ‘360 degree feedback appraisal’ model (4).
It is a method of performance assessment that sources feedback from a wide range of sources linked to the employee. This can include from colleagues at all levels, direct reports and even customers. This type of varied feedback is said to be beneficial as it helps to make the review much more objective and fair.

So what are some of the things both an employer and employee should consider when preparing for a typical appraisal meeting?

 

Employer

Some employees can find appraisals unnerving, so try and create a relaxed and informal environment.

Preparation is key, and objectives set at any previous appraisals should be reviewed. The meeting should be planned to allow a discussion of all of the points identified in the preparation. It is important to be flexible as often the best laid plans do not go as expected.

Allow reasonable time for the employee to express their views. Appreciate this may not always be as succinct as desired and they may sometimes need steering back on topic.

Provide encouragement and give positive, genuine and merited feedback as it will help to ease any tension the employee may have about the meeting.

Use open questions to elicit as much information as possible, which also allows the employee to be open and expansive.

The aim should be to reflect on the performance during the period under review and to look to the future.

 

Employee

It’s easy to say, but try not to worry too much. The better prepared you are for the appraisal meeting the less stressful it should be.

An appraisal form will usually be provided in advance of a meeting, giving you plenty of time to reflect on your performance and think about what you have done well.

As with an employer, preparation is key. Think about your job description, what you have done well and any evident examples to support it and areas where you may have struggled and made progress and can continue doing so.

Take advantage of the time given to prepare and do not leave it until the last minute to do so.

Be enthusiastic, positive and truthful about your achievements. It is an opportunity to talk positively about yourself and do not be afraid to do so, but ensure you can back it up.

Discuss your aims and objectives and use it as an opportunity to discover the skills you need to progress with an employer.

Conducted properly and following guidance provided by ACAS, the employee appraisal should be a two-way discussion (5). It is the ideal opportunity for employee to express themselves and speak up. If managers are receptive and listen to and address any concerns it can help to build a happy and positive workforce, which is important for any business.

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

 

References

1.Scott C. Jeremy Kyle laid bare. The Guardian [Internet]. 2007 Oct 8 [cited 2018 Jul 16]; Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2007/oct/08/mondaymediasection2

2.The Cube 123 Albion Street. How to get the best out of your staff - Be prepared: Know the basics for conducting effective staff appraisals [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2018 Jul 16]. Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4273

3.Appraisal | Terminating or suspending employment [Internet]. UNISON National. [cited 2018 Jul 16]. Available from: https://www.unison.org.uk/get-help/knowledge/terminating-suspending-job/appraisal/

4.Towner N. Turning appraisals 360 degrees [Internet]. Personnel Today. 2004 [cited 2018 Jul 16]. Available from: https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/turning-appraisals-360-degrees/

5.B07_1.pdf [Internet]. [cited 2018 Jul 16]. Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/s/b/B07_1.pdf

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