How to get the best out of an appraisal

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Appraisals, if done well, can be of enormous benefit to both the appraiser and appraisee. Although the mere mention of appraisals can strike fear into the hearts of some of us, they really are an effective business tool and should be both welcomed and eagerly anticipated.

An effective appraisal process will be simple in design so it is easy for employees to understand and complete. In its simplest form, the paperwork should focus on tracking progress against agreed targets as well as space for both the employee and their Line Manager to record their comments.

The emphasis should be much more on the facilitation of a quality discussion between employee and Line Manager than lengthy time spent filling in paperwork. Preparation for the appraisal discussion is key on both sides. It is important for the appraisee to collect relevant information in support of achievement of objectives or contribution towards any projects.

Appraisees should be really clear about what they want to achieve out of the meeting. It’s advisable for both parties to let each other know what they intend to cover at the meeting so adequate preparation can take place. A typed agenda with suggestions for timing is ideal so the right proportion of time can be spent on what matters.

It’s important for the meeting to be specific and for comprehensive notes to be made of the appraisal by both appraisee and Line Manager. The notes can serve not just as a record, but also an aide memoire or action plan during the year for the recording of targets and achievements. That way, the meeting documents won’t just be filed away in a drawer somewhere, never to see the light of day again! The notes should be a working document!

If both parties approach the appraisal process and meeting with an open mind, then there will likely be tangible benefits on both sides. Any follow up action should be carried out swiftly and timescales adhered to.

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