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Top tips on how to conduct staff appraisals

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Although a good manager will meet with their staff far more regularly than once a year, the formal staff appraisal is an important part of how best to manage team members.

To help you make sure that you get the most out of your appraisal meetings, here’s our Top Tips:

The Golden Rule

There should be no surprises – problems with performance or behaviour should be dealt with at the time, not be saved up for the annual appraisal meeting.

Tip 1 – Be prepared

Put thought to the appraisal meeting that you are going to hold. Although it might be one of a number that you are involved in, it will be the only one that your team member cares about – it’s about them. So be prepared – go into the meeting knowing what areas you’re going to cover and know what you want to achieve.

Tip 2 – Create the right environment

Think through where you’re going to hold the meeting, and things like how likely you are to be disturbed. Make sure the environment is suitable for friendly but honest conversation.

Tip 3 – Encourage self-assessment

Ask your team member how they view their performance and behaviour. What do they think their strengths and weaknesses are?

Tip 4 – Don’t deliver surprises

Yes, I know this is the same as the Golden Rule, but it’s important – any feedback about poor behaviour or under-par performance should be addressed at the time that it happens. Of course, issues may need to be discussed again, but the annual appraisal meeting is not where something should be raised for the first time.

Tip 5 – Deliver developmental feedback – or criticism – objectively

If you assess that your team member has areas that they need to improve, be objective. Try and avoid phrases like “I feel” or “I think”, use objective terms – tell them what you see and hear them doing. Be clear as to how they need to improve and what they need to do differently.

Tip 6 – Summarise the meeting and agree what happens next.

At the end of the meeting, summarise what you have discussed and make sure that your team member knows that you value their positives and strengths. Agree what happens next, whether it’s work needed to develop specific areas, or whether another meeting is required to check on how they’re doing.

Tip 7 – And finally……

It doesn’t have to be detailed, but make sure that you share a record of the meeting – things like what was discussed, what you agreed, and when the next appraisal meeting is due to be held.

Jonathan BACK

Head of HR and Personnel – The Delforge Group

Here at the Delforge Group you will find a subject matter expert to help you, no matter what your query. If you’d like to speak further about any of the issues raised in today’s blog, or indeed anything else, you can find our contact details here.

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