Performance Reviews and Appraisals
Annual Performance Reviews
An annual performance review (Appraisal) is a formal discussion about an employee's development and performance. The review is a planning process. It involves reviewing the last period and setting a plan of action going forward.
Performance reviews are used to give constructive analysis on an employee’s performance. They cover the areas where they have excelled, their individual goals and what they need to do to help realise the wider ambitions of the company.
It is important that employees do not see appraisals or performance reviews as threatening. Instead they should be seen as a way in which they can improve their professional status within the company and feedback instances of where the company can help them improve.
Performance reviews are normally recorded on a Performance Review/Appraisal form which is agreed and signed by both the employee and the person carrying out the review. There are examples of Performance Review/Appraisal forms in the useful links section below.
Below are a few pointers in order to carry out successful performance reviews
- Give advance notice - schedule reviews well in advance to give the employee plenty of notice informing them of the review’s purpose and what to expect so there are no surprises.
- Create a comfortable atmosphere – both parties should feel comfortable. Hold the review in a private place where there will be no interruptions, and allow plenty of time so that employee doesn’t feel rushed and consequently feels valued.
- Do not criticise – performance reviews should always be conducted in a ‘no blame’ manner in order to encourage company loyalty.
- Describe the process - explain that a performance review is a two-way conversation and only works if both sides engage with each other and…
- Encourage openness - open and honest conversations allow a manager to fully understand their employees and the talents they could offer the company in the future.
- Discuss development opportunities – let the employee know that they are valued and that part of the process is to discover what they need to develop their role and take advantage of future opportunities.
- Cite specifics - avoid hearsay and speculation and cite specific observations and facts. In this way employees can relate to real-life examples and are more likely to adapt their behaviour to your expectations.
Below is a list of topics that a performance review should cover along with some suggested questions:
- Past performance
- Is the employee clear on their roles and responsibilities?
- What do they like about their job?
- What do they least like about their job?
- What would they most like to change?
- What could the company do to make their life better?
- Future plans and expectations
- What would be their greatest achievement?
- What made it so successful?
- What areas has it been difficult to achieve?
- How could the company remove obstacles in these areas?
- Developmental goals
- What are their strengths?
- How can they company use these strengths in their current role and in future roles?
- What areas in their role could be improved?
- What have they done to improve these areas?
- How could the company support them in improving?
- What abilities would they like to improve?
- What development opportunities would they like?
- Employee needs and concerns
- What other general concerns do they have?
- What else do they need or would like to make their job better?
- What advice would they like to give to the senior managers?
- Summarise the review
- Agree on expectations and goals for the upcoming year.
- Review the employee’s strengths and developmental needs.
- Review any action steps that were agreed upon
- Establish follow-up dates.
- Express appreciation to the employee
ACAS - have a range of Performance Review/Appraisal form templates that can be used.
Word Templates – a simple appraisal form
Growth Hub Providers - for help with performance reviews and coaching.
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