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Staff appraisals are an important tool; they can be used to monitor, assess, and ultimately improve an employee’s performance. The data collected at these appraisals can be used when contemplating a pay rise or looking for candidates to promote. It also allows employees an opportunity to provide feedback too. When it comes to conducting an appraisal, it can be a little difficult, especially for people who are new to the role. Let’s get into it.
Guide to Conducting Staff Appraisals
The Purpose of Appraisals
The main purpose of appraisals is obviously to manage and assess the performance of your staff. The performance of your employees can directly impact whether or not your company reaches its goals. You can also gain more information on their skills, productivity, and competencies as a whole. Throughout the years, you should be able to see a clear progression in the capabilities of your staff and how they approach their jobs.
Appraisals are also used to create and set goals for your staff. It allows you to communicate your expectations to them and assess whether they are living up to those expectations. Appraisals can also be used to identify areas that need work. For example, there might be some tasks that they struggle with; before reprimanding them, you should offer them a solution. How can you help them to improve?
After the appraisal has taken place, you will likely find that the feedback buoys your employees if it is delivered effectively. It can help to feel more motivated and keep your employees happy. You have praised them for what they do well and helped them to come up with solutions for areas where they can improve. As a manager, the way that you approach staff appraisals can directly impact the efficacy and productivity of your staff. It is a reflection of your own performance.
Conducting the Appraisal
The first step to conducting an employee performance appraisal is preparing. You need a system in place; otherwise, it can be easy to miss out on an employee and overlook aspects of the process. This is where HR Software comes in. For example, myhrtoolkit has some great features that make managing a team easier. Holidays and absences can be planned and executed. Employee performance can be monitored, and appraisals can be organised and booked online.
There may be previous appraisals that you can refer back to. This helps you to see whether or not they have progressed. Look at their more recent performance and compare it back. Think about what you want to say and make some notes on the praise and constructive feedback that you want to provide. Feedback and targets for the coming year need to be customised. Take into account each employee’s strengths and weaknesses.
Try to maintain a lighter atmosphere. Both the employee and you will get more out of the experience. Keep the tone conversational and encourage a dialogue to form. Employees are much more likely to be receptive to the feedback and be honest when giving their own. Use your dialogue to collaborate with your employees and set the goals. They need to be realistic and effective. Put them to your employee and ask if they think the target will help them, be doable, and improve their performance.
Finally, you need to document the appraisal. Keep a record of what was discussed for both practical and procedural purposes. It gives you something to refer back to; you can use it to assess whether or not employees have made an effort to achieve their goals. You should also have your employees sign the form as an acknowledgement.
Appraisals allow managers to measure an employee’s competency and to get an idea of their capabilities. They can be used to select employees to put forward for further training opportunities and even promotions. The employees themselves are better aware of their strengths and weaknesses. It helps build more trust between managers and staff, which can be invaluable. It allows your employees to get things off their chest too. You might receive some feedback on business processes or even your own approach to work that you may not have considered before.
Why Do Employees Dislike Appraisals?
A lot of employees view appraisals with apprehension; they dread it. There are a few reasons why employees tend to dislike appraisals. Most of which come down to them being ineffective. Firstly, they may feel like their opinions or suggestions aren’t valued or listened to. This is why encouraging dialogue is so important. They need to feel like you are going to listen to their feedback and implement strategies to address it.
Sometimes it can feel as though an appraisal doesn’t assess their actual performance. These evaluations can veer off course, instead focussing on their personal traits. These traits may not even affect their work in any real way. Try to stay on course. Place more of an emphasis on their contributions to the workplace and their productivity.
Everyone has biases, and sometimes these can find their way into an employee appraisal. The success of someone’s efforts in the workplace can be affected by the personal bias of those conducting the review. Personal factors on the part of the manager might colour the appraisal. Customisation is important. You need to consider whether or not you think the employee is doing their best despite the results they offer.
The person conducting the appraisal requires some thought. For example, some companies have different shift patterns, and so the manager who conducts the appraisals may not work all that closely with the employees themselves. Employees then feel as though the manager hasn’t had the chance to gain an insight into their working style. Or that they haven’t been observed enough for the manager to accurately assess their performance. Consider this when assigning appraisal responsibilities.
Finally, some appraisals take place too infrequently. This leads to anxiety on the part of the employee, who may have forgotten the goals and targets set for them. How are they meant to improve if they cannot remember what they need to work on? However, it may be unfeasible for the appraisals to take place more than once or twice per annum. The trick is to hold quick, informal catchups a couple of times a year in between appraisals. You can remind your employees of their targets and see what steps they are taking to reach them.
Performance Indicators to Include in Their Appraisals
Performance indicators are exactly as they sound; they are the metrics that are used to measure the performance of your employees. The indicators themselves may vary in specifics depending on the role and the industry. They are designed to measure efficiency, productivity, and the quality of their work. There are a few indicators that are commonly used across the board. Firstly, attendance: how many sick days have they had, are they frequently late and why? Have they completed all tasks satisfactorily and within the time frame necessary? Has there been any feedback from customers or colleagues about them? You can also consider some industry-specific performance indicators too like customer leads, sales, conversions, or revenue bought in.
The Bottom Line
Employee appraisals are a valuable tool for managers. They can be a transformative experience to encourage employees. Appraisals give managers a chance to provide feedback and communicate their expectations to staff and vice versa. It is all about approaching them the right way. Use the tips above to assess your appraisal strategy and amend it as necessary.