How To Run A Staff Appraisal

One of the most difficult tasks a manager’s has to perform is that of staff appraisal. Many management training programs and manager training courses conduct separate classes on this. Staff appraisal is like skating on thin ice. The result of a staff appraisal rarely satisfies the staff and the management. So, how to run a staff appraisal? At the outset it is important to remember that agreeing to the objectives of staff appraisal as well as making effective use of staff appraisal can improve the performance of your business. It can of course, also help in assessing the performance of your employees. Employees usually prefer a structured appraisal system which recognizes their work.

Management training program will tell you that in order to monitor and assess an employee it is necessary and useful to set out clear objectives for the employees. This way the employees also know what is expected from them. A well designed system of appraisal can help you in assessing your staff against these very objectives. It is a chance to give good constructive feedback as well as praise them for their good work. It is also a chance to further clarify the objectives of the company and the employees.

There are four key areas where you should concentrate on for a staff appraisal. According to management training courses these key areas are: setting objectives, managing performance, carrying out the appraisal, providing reward or solutions. Set clear objectives and give them the training, tool etc., necessary to perform well. Monitor the performance of the employees and discuss the results with them. Depending on the results of an appraisal give a promotion or rewards for good performance. Offer solutions for poor performance.

A very common doubt for management is how often one should conduct an appraisal. For a new employee appraisal may be done after a set period. For others it can be done once or twice a year. Whatever performance testing system or appraisal system that you are putting up should be informed to the staff in writing.

Management training often distinguishes between goal and objectives. Goals are meant for companies whereas objectives are for individuals. For instance the goal for the company might be to increase sales by some percentage over a year. The objective for the employee may be to bring in one client every month for that year. Make sure the objectives are useful. For this you can use the smart system i.e. Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time based objectives. There are certain things that are not measurable. Then try to score their capability on a score of say 1 to 5 to measure their performance. In such cases the objective of an employee is to achieve a higher score.

An appraisal is usually carried out by an employee’s line manager. Some management training programs and management training courses feel that the results should also be shown to the management. Another method is when a mixture of employees who have some contacts with the appraised employee, give in written feedback. These can include line manager, colleagues, subordinates etc. When making the appraisal the performance for the whole period should be taken into consideration rather than just the immediate past. Enough time should be allotted for the appraisal meeting. Make the opening with positive comments. Make sure the employee understands the next steps. The discussion should be two way and in situation should it become a conflict. The employees should be given a written copy of the appraisal and they should be given a right to appeal if they don’t agree with the appraisal.

According to people who conduct management training a good appraisal should motivate your employees. Good performances should be rewarded but the question of reward should not be related to performance in the appraisal interview. A separate meeting should be conducted to consider the reward. But reward programs should be monitored carefully as it might cause friction among the employees. Bonus, pay increase, giving company shares are all various types of rewards that can be given.


Sean McPheat is the Managing Director of MTD Training, a leading UK management training company. Sean is regarded as one of the leading authorities in leadership development has been featured on CNN, ITV, BBC and Arena magazine. Sean also owns some of the most successful professional development sites in the world includin...

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