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How to Conduct an Effective Performance Appraisal

How to Conduct an Effective Performance Appraisal

It’s that time of the year again. The dreaded performance appraisals. The truth is, employers often feel just as, if not more nervous, when the time for performance appraisals comes around.

Many employers, and particularly new managers, can find themselves wondering what to bring up in conversation during a performance appraisal and end up missing the opportunity for a productive and meaningful performance update with an employee.

That said, there are some steps to keep in mind for any performance appraisal to be an effective experience for both employer and employee.

Here’s a performance appraisal guide for new managers:


Document successes or failures of employee

It’s difficult to conduct a performance appraisal when you don’t remember your employee’s achievements or shortcomings throughout the year.

Most employers won’t be able to recall these off the top of their heads, which is why it is essential to document examples of when employees have excelled as well as a few issues they may need to work on to improve.

Gather feedback from others

With one employee’s performance review, it can sometimes take valuable input from colleagues and other managers who work directly with this person. Make sure to consult others at the office for their impression of this employee and how they have contributed or haven’t.

This helps to eliminate bias in terms of the employee’s performance. While you may think the employee has done an excellent job and has very few weaknesses, a colleague from another department who works closely with him or her might feel differently.

Every employee will have different types of interactions with different personalities and roles in the office, which means it’s so important to get a more holistic understanding of the employee’s overall performance.


Honest two-way feedback

While a performance review is a good time to communicate your concerns to an employee, don’t forget that it should ideally also be a place for a two-way conversation.

Instead of steering the conversation too much during the performance review, allow your employee to raise any concerns he or she might have about their work or whether there is room for improvement in terms of management.

Be kind, respectful and tactful

While negative criticism during a performance review is sometimes necessary for growth of an employee, there’s no reason to be cruel. Be tactful and respectful whenever approaching the subject with your employee on the ways they can improve at the office. They will be much more receptive when criticism is constructive rather than when it seems more like a personal attack.

Set clear performance expectations

When discussing appraisal comments and room for growth for your employee, it’s good to set clear milestones in terms of performance expectations for him or her. This allows the employee to understand a clear set of KPIs to achieve by the next performance appraisal.

Follow up

Track progress of employee thereafter

Based on performance expectations decided on during the performance appraisal, be sure to continuously check in briefly with the employee or their work to see if those goals are being reached. This will help you decide whether or not to consider them for a promotion or salary raise the next time a performance appraisal takes place.

Schedule a follow up meeting

Once a considerable amount of time has passed, be sure to schedule another meeting with the same employee to go over the KPIs and track how they are coping with the goals set during the performance appraisal.

Should there be any issues or challenges your employee is facing in meeting those performance expectations, find a way to advise them or modify the expectations so that they can more effectively reach their goals.

While the performance appraisal may not be the most exciting exercise for employers and employees, it’s an essential meeting which can set the course of the next year with the employee. Progress can only be tracked effectively by setting clear goals and the performance review is so important for setting those goals.

For more information on human resource-related articles, be sure to visit Jobstreet by SEEK Insights page for more articles on recruitment, HR and employee experience.

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