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How to run a great appraisal

By Victoria Fellows


An appraisal or performance review focuses on the performance and development of each employee. Fundamentally, they’re individual plans for each member of staff to make sure they have the support they need to do their job.

A good appraisal should incorporate various elements. Such as; the employee’s job, responsibilities, participation within the team and their overall contribution to the business. By identifying specific areas for each employee to focus on, it means they have direction and can go above and beyond in their job. However, appraisals have traditionally had somewhat of an awful reputation. Imagine loads of printed material in a generic room while managing positive and negative feedback and negotiations!. BUT - it doesn’t have to be like this.

Employees need to be challenged and given every opportunity to explore different ideas within the business. In order to do, so you need to recognise their strengths and weakness, so you enable them to develop. Read our tips on motivating your team here


When it comes to appraisals, you need to think outside the box, what works for one employee may not necessarily work for the other.Everybody wants to know how they’re performing, very few people actually want to do a bad job. This is why performance feedback is essential if you want to make sure that your team is motivated and raring to go. But how do you make an appraisal with a difference to ensure that everyone gets the most out of them?


Instead of letting problems fester for 6/12 months before an appraisal, try having regular one-to-ones throughout the year. Not only does that mean you can nip problems in the bud, because there will be no big surprises in the appraisal itself, it will make the whole experience more positive.


Ideally, assessments should be tailored to each employee instead of a standard one-size fitting all criteria. By encouraging a two-way discussion, both parties can hear their opinions and understand each other and how their skills work together.


As a manager, it is important that you understand your employees ‘ goals, so that you can help them develop and grow. By understanding your objectives, you can challenge your ideas and encourage creativity to improve them.


If you think about an evaluation, you think about a soulless meeting room. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Go out – go for a walk, have a coffee, go for lunch. By taking the assessment out of the office environment, both parties will be more relaxed and willing to open up.


You can’t expect to get the most out of your technical team if you bark orders at them. You must listen to each other’s views and communicate efficiently if you want to guarantee optimum motivation. However, don’t be afraid to challenge when needed to make sure they keep improving.


Prior to the meeting, ask your employees to reflect on their own performance and identify their own weaknesses. Most of them will include their negative points and need help to see the positive ones. Which is a much more enjoyable conversation than a list of what they did wrong. And, it also makes your employees feel that their opinion is appreciated.

Alternatively, if you still don’t think that annual appraisals are working well for you and your team? Well, you could just stop doing them. That doesn’t mean you need to stop evaluating and monitoring how people are doing at work – you just need to find a way to do it that works for everyone.