The Importance of Getting Your Employee’s Appraisals Right

1st Oct 2019 | Emily Fletcher

The week before his appraisal was due, Mike started making more of an effort at work. He turned up ten minutes early and left ten minutes late. It did not go unnoticed that he was wearing smarter than usual clothes and that he had begun working through his lunch-break.

On the morning of the appraisal, Mike woke up and felt nervous. He was desperate to impress and was worried about getting a telling-off (although he could see no reason why this might be). His colleague, Sarah, had attended her meeting the week before, and she had come away feeling more than a little dejected.

At 10 am, Mike went to meet his boss, who was conducting his appraisal and at 10.30 am he left the room exactly like Sarah had done the week before; demoralised. It seemed to Mike that his boss did not like him. Maybe his face didn’t fit? He had not remembered the project that Mike led, six months ago, where he was directly responsible for a 20% increase in company turnover. He did not mention the positive feedback that Mike continually received from clients in his portfolio. The fact that Mike had ‘babysat’ two new team members in the spring and had been fielding questions from them ever since was not acknowledged.  When Mike asked his carefully rehearsed question about his self-development for future promotion, it was disregarded.

Appraisals based on gut feelings and subjective stereotyping do not work. They leave your team demoralised and under-valued rather than raring-to-go and recognised for their achievements.

Mike had been worrying for a week about his appraisal, rather than looking forward to discussing how he had made valuable contributions to the company over the previous twelve months. There was no personal development plan, no record of the training he had previously completed and certainly no data concerning his performance. Nothing was written down. The boss had talked to him about issues such as timekeeping and his appearance. In essence, it was not an appraisal. It was a dressing down.

A digital system which records employee performance is essential for providing excellent appraisals, which add value to the employee’s contribution and help drive forward organisational goals. Without such data, assessments can only be subjective, biased and unfair. A sound system will include:

  • Training Records
  • Professional/External Qualifications Tracking
  • Personal Development Plans
  • Competency Records
  • Data on additional contributions made to the business

Having clearly defined systems and record-keeping in place enables managers to compare and contrast the work of all team members as well as chart performance over time. An example would be documents showing that Mike had completed 75% of his training plan, whereas at the same point last year, he had achieved only 45%.  Likewise, if  Mike is overdue on 20 training objectives and failed to respond to 15 urgent messages, having objective data for this will make negative parts of the conversation clear and fair.

A good appraisal will share the positive performance of each member of the team as well as giving guidance on areas for improvement. In doing so, the company is assured that employees are left motivated rather than demoralised.

An excellent appraisal will have Mike and Sarah leaving the room feeling re-energised and appreciated and willing to arrive ten minutes early every day. They would be excited about their next year with the company, fuelled with the knowledge that they are on track to that much-coveted promotion, pay rise and more.



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