They key to any business is having a successful workforce. It is therefore vital that your team is motivated, works to targets and reaches high performance levels. Staff appraisals are excellent ways to keep your team motivated, or find out the reasons behind non-performers. Read our six steps to a great staff appraisal below to find out more.

Step 1

How to set work objectives

  • These must tie in with your business goals, plans for the future and the duties outlined in the employee’s job description.
  • Objectives should be ‘SMART’.
Step 2

Agree how objectives should be achieved
While objectives are the ends to be achieved, the necessary skills, knowledge, personal attributes and conduct are the means. They can also be called competences or behaviours.

  • Agree the competences with the employee. They need to understand what is expected of them, including how they should conduct themselves.
  • Competences are often linked to development needs, so think about any training your employee may need to develop their skills and improve their conduct, and also agree those with the employee.
  • You can combine your objectives with your competences, or smaller firms may decide to measure performance purely by objectives met.
Step 3

Get ready for the appraisal

  • At the employee’s induction, or when you introduce staff appraisals, briefly run through the paperwork you will use.
  • The number of regular performance update meetings in the run-up to the actual appraisal meeting varies from one employer to another. Some managers prefer monthly meetings, others quarterly.
  • Assessing how well an employee is meeting their objectives should also include daily or weekly on-the-job feedback, so they know how they are getting on.
  • If there has been feedback during the regular sessions over the 12 months leading up to the appraisal, you should know what you want to say and there should be no surprises.
  • Most employers hold the actual appraisal annually.
  • Set a date, time and place for the appraisal, and let the employee know well in advance.
Step 4

Hold the appraisal

  • Make clear the purpose of the meeting and how it will run.
  • Go through the first objective and open up a discussion. What has the employee done? What have they done well? What would they like to develop?
  • Listen – not only to help target your management of them regarding the objective, but to pick up on any good ideas they may have, or concerns.
  • Highlight positive – and, where necessary, negative – aspects of performance
  • Do this for each of the objectives.
  • Also, be flexible – the conversation between you and your employee may open up into other areas. They may take the opportunity to tell you about a difficult situation at home – for example, caring for an elderly relative.
  • Agree development needs and target dates, and actions concerning objectives, including any new objectives, and target dates over the next 12 months.
  • Fill in the appraisal form and action plan as you go along, giving the employee the opportunity to write comments on the form.
  • After the appraisal, the completed form and action plan, should be signed and dated by the employee, the manager who conducted the appraisal, and a senior manager.

One copy should be kept by the appraiser, one by the employee, and another should go on the employee’s personal file.

Step 5

Dealing with disagreements over performance

  • Ensure you have hard evidence of specific examples to support your assessment – do not reply on general observations.
  • Keep your own manager informed of any problems with staff before the actual appraisal.
  • Most appraisals allow an employee to challenge an assessment of their work.
  • If an employee feels they have been treated differently to other colleagues, they might raise this as a complaint through your grievance procedure.
Step 6

Dealing with unsatisfactory performance
You have clear objectives the employee has not met. They’ve had the right level of coaching and training to reach the right level of skills and knowledge, they’ve agreed that way forward, you’ve given regular feedback and held appraisals.
So what do you do next?

  • Be clear you understand the problem by asking and finding out.
  • Even at this stage, it can still be worth a manager having a quiet word with the employee. This can sometimes resolve the problem over their performance, as there may be underlying personal issues you are unaware of.
  • But, if that doesn’t work, you have followed all the other steps, and still the employee is underperforming, you should look to also handle it as a disciplinary matter.
  • If you do have to go down the disciplinary route, then any outcome to improve performance will have to be discussed at any regular feedback meetings and the appraisal.

Remember that unsatisfactory performance may be caused by an ineffective induction programme or a need for more training or equipment. Follow these six steps to a great staff appraisal to improve performance in your organisation.


How Aspire Cambridge Can Help With Staff Appraisals

Having a fully functioning, performing team working effectively is important for any business, and sometimes it can be hard to monitor performance. The consultants at Aspire Cambridge are well versed and experienced when it comes to organising, managing and reporting on staff appraisals. They know the right questions to ask, the assessments to use and how to get answers that are going to benefit your business and the performance of your workforce.

To discuss your human resource requirements such as staff appraisals and performance, please contact us, or call 01223 855441 today.