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How to Give an Effective Appraisal


An effective appraisal will increase an employee’s performance and efficiency, while also increasing motivation, ensuring that staff are updated with the latest developments in your organisation and informing them of the skills they will need to develop in order to address change in a positive way. So how do you go about giving an appraisal that covers all these bases?


Careful preparation is essential when you are giving an appraisal. Carefully analysing the employee’s job description is an ideal starting point for assessing performances. Also read what was agreed at the previous appraisal, and consider what steps they have taken in light of it.

Prepare a list of questions to ask the appraisee: what activities are they most proud of? What areas did they find most difficult, and why? How helpful do they feel they to their colleagues as a member of the team? When appraising someone who may be in mind to take on a more senior role, it is sensible to prepare for a discussion about skills like leadership potential, interpersonal skills and problem solving.

It is good practice to tell the appraisee which areas will be discussed in advance, so that they can make their own preparations.

Beginning the appraisal

It is important to establish a rapport with the appraisee early on, encouraging active participation on their part in a frank and open discussion.

By using open-ended questions from the start, you will encourage them to talk. Open body language and good eye contact will show them that you are fully engaged and attentive to what they have to say. Remember that this is a chance for the appraisee to share their thoughts, too: they should be doing at least 50% of the talking.

Stick to the facts

Base your discussion on tangible evidence, not on emotional issues. Be specific about the situations from which your positive reflection or critical comments arise. It is naturally easier to talk about things that are quantifiable, such as sales or the number of projects completed. Conversely, you are likely to find it difficult to objectively deal with initiative, relationships with colleagues, or how your staff develop contacts or approach customers. How would you compare the work of an average member of staff with that of an exceptional one in these areas? Consider how you will convey this to the appraisee.

Offer actionable solutions

The appraisal should result in action points and ideas for developing the skills and performance of your staff. Employees who have been doing a job for many years sometimes feel that they don’t need any further training, and it may be difficult for you to come up with ideas for their progression. However, remember the working environment is in a state of continual change. Everyone needs to plan for how they will adapt to it while developing the skills that will be required in the future. Likewise, every organisation needs to consider how it can help staff to achieve this.

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