How to conduct staff appraisals

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Reviewing employee performance is an essential element of managing people. Here’s our guide on how to conduct staff appraisals.

What is a staff appraisal?

Traditionally staff appraisals take place every six months or annually to review past performance against a set of goals or objectives, assess progress against personal development plans and set future goals or objectives for the forthcoming period.

Why do we need them?

Staff appraisals or staff reviews are important for many reasons:

  • To ensure staff have a better understanding of how their role contributes to the success of the company, by providing objects that align with the overall company goals and strategy.
  • To measure performance and reward people according to their individual contribution. Appraisals can help you to understand how well your staff have been performing and reward them based on this.
  • To identify skills gaps and training needs. They can also help with the development of employees, helping to define where additional needs may lie to support their current role and future career progression
  • To improve performance. Appraisals provide the ideal opportunity to discuss any areas of concern and highlight where improvements can be made.
  • To boost motivation and morale and ultimately employee engagement. They should be a two-way conversation allowing your employees to give their feedback and ensure their voice is heard. It also demonstrates that the business cares about and listens to them.

Are annual reviews appropriate for your business?

Do you need an annual appraisal system, or would a continuous performance review programme fit with your business model? Many larger employers have scrapped the traditional model calling it outdated. Consider the following options to work out which approach is better for your business:

  • Your staff want regular feedback

If this is the case, then an annual performance review is not going to meet their expectations and promote engagement. It can also be too late to tackle serious performance, motivation or morale issues if you’re only meeting once per year to review performance. Constant and regular feedback can help staff to review their output throughout the year. It’s also easier for them to make the right changes, speak up if they are struggling, or request a change of direction.

  • Your staff report to more than one manager

Depending on the size of the business, your team members may report to more than one manager who may have a view on their performance and/or their development. Relying on one manager’s perspective during an annual review could lead to issues of bias or areas of performance and development simply not being picked up. Gathering feedback from a range of people such as team members and other managers may provide a more rounded, realistic and objective picture of an employee’s performance and make any personality conflicts less of an issue.

  • Job roles in your business are changing

As your business grows, roles, and responsibilities can often change too. Continuous dialogue between staff and managers will allow you to adapt the expectations you have of your team on an ongoing basis. This also means they will know what’s expected of them and be able to deliver.

For more advice or support on how to conduct staff appraisals from our team of HR consultants, you can find out about how to work with Bespoke HR here. 

Written by:

Katy Wade
Katy is a fully qualified CIPD professional with a postgraduate diploma in HR management and an Advanced Certificate in Employment Law. Katy has over 20 years of experience working mainly in the hospitality industry. She is passionate about supporting businesses to develop their teams; from recruiting the right person to implementing a sound learning and development strategy.