Get personnel Get personnel

Get personnel
30 Nov 2014

Appraisal time is coming up and I know my team hate it. As a result I find it difficult to motivate myself to perform a decent appraisal which in turn feeds the negative opinion of the whole process. How can I make appraisals a more valuable and respected process?

Tools of the trade

Before you commence with appraisals for your team it is important to make sure you have a useful appraisal form that your team member can fill in prior to the meeting and make sure you take the time to fill in the manager parts of this too. The form should be relevant, simple and objective. There should be a variety of different measuring tools, for example, score boxes as well as opportunities to write more considered feedback.

Remember that everyone is different and varying personalities will enjoy scoring in different ways. Make sure the form is up to date. There is nothing that makes a process look less respected than issuing out of date literature to accompany it.

Appraisals have had bad press for a number of reasons and this is usually fuelled by an embedded belief that they are pointless and time consuming. With everyone, from manager level down, raising their eyebrows when HR announces it is appraisal time, it is hardly surprising that the process is treated with negativity. It is therefore up to you as a manager to show that there is a value to the appraisals.

Preparation is key

Lead by example and show that you are willing to take the time out to fill out your form in a considered way. Do not leave it until the last minute. It is disrespectful and can make the employee feel undervalued. Give each of your employees a couple of hours within the working day to complete their forms and consider their responses - don’t expect them to do them in lunch breaks or at home.

The date

We are all busy! But keep the date that you have booked for the appraisal. The minute you start rebooking meetings this smacks of a pecking order. It’s something that only happens once or twice a year, so treat it with respect that it deserves that way your team members might start seeing its worth.

The meeting

Don’t store up negative comments for appraisal time. It is all too often the case that a manager, rather than dealing with a problem at the time, will keep hold of it for appraisals. Do not do this. An appraisal is not the time to let Jim know that he has been late four times in a month or to tell Sarah that she upset a client two months ago. This will only cause resentment and feed into the belief that the appraisal is a negative process.

Instead use the appraisals as an evaluation process. Really consider areas that the individual has excelled in or where you have seen development, discuss possible weak areas positively and discuss ways to address these. For example with Sarah above, if you spoke to her at the time that she upset a client readdress this issue in appraisal and suggest that maybe she undertake some basic training in client care skills. Make a positive out of any negative.

Don’t do all the talking

Remember that the appraisal is an opportunity for the employee to feedback to you, so make sure you do not dominate the meeting. Give them a free rein to tell you how they think they have been doing and how they would like to develop further. Outcome

Set objectives based on the comments discussed. These should be relevant to the business and allow the employee the opportunity to improve on weak areas or upskill for to help with career development.

Most importantly

Follow objectives through. One of the reasons that your team may have a negative attitude towards appraisals is because they think that things will get ignored as soon as appraisals are finished. Do not treat them as a tick box exercise. Have regular update meetings, follow through on training commitments, show that development is part of the culture of your team and you will find that the annual or biannual appraisal suddenly doesn’t get viewed in the way it once did.

HR specialist Claudia Ackenson looks at
improving your appraisal processes

Appraisal time is coming up and I know my team hate it. As a result I find it difficult to motivate myself to perform a decent appraisal which in turn feeds the negative opinion of the whole process. How can I make appraisals a more valuable and respected process?

Tools of the trade

Before you commence with appraisals for your team it is important to make sure you have a useful appraisal form that your team member can fill in prior to the meeting and make sure you take the time to fill in the manager parts of this too. The form should be relevant, simple and objective. There should be a variety of different measuring tools, for example, score boxes as well as opportunities to write more considered feedback.

Remember that everyone is different and varying personalities will enjoy scoring in different ways. Make sure the form is up to date. There is nothing that makes a process look less respected than issuing out of date literature to accompany it.

Appraisals have had bad press for a number of reasons and this is usually fuelled by an embedded belief that they are pointless and time consuming. With everyone, from manager level down, raising their eyebrows when HR announces it is appraisal time, it is hardly surprising that the process is treated with negativity. It is therefore up to you as a manager to show that there is a value to the appraisals.

Preparation is key

Lead by example and show that you are willing to take the time out to fill out your form in a considered way. Do not leave it until the last minute. It is disrespectful and can make the employee feel undervalued. Give each of your employees a couple of hours within the working day to complete their forms and consider their responses - don’t expect them to do them in lunch breaks or at home.

The date

We are all busy! But keep the date that you have booked for the appraisal. The minute you start rebooking meetings this smacks of a pecking order. It’s something that only happens once or twice a year, so treat it with respect that it deserves that way your team members might start seeing its worth.

The meeting

Don’t store up negative comments for appraisal time. It is all too often the case that a manager, rather than dealing with a problem at the time, will keep hold of it for appraisals. Do not do this. An appraisal is not the time to let Jim know that he has been late four times in a month or to tell Sarah that she upset a client two months ago. This will only cause resentment and feed into the belief that the appraisal is a negative process.

Instead use the appraisals as an evaluation process. Really consider areas that the individual has excelled in or where you have seen development, discuss possible weak areas positively and discuss ways to address these. For example with Sarah above, if you spoke to her at the time that she upset a client readdress this issue in appraisal and suggest that maybe she undertake some basic training in client care skills. Make a positive out of any negative.

Don’t do all the talking

Remember that the appraisal is an opportunity for the employee to feedback to you, so make sure you do not dominate the meeting. Give them a free rein to tell you how they think they have been doing and how they would like to develop further. Outcome

Set objectives based on the comments discussed. These should be relevant to the business and allow the employee the opportunity to improve on weak areas or upskill for to help with career development.

Most importantly

Follow objectives through. One of the reasons that your team may have a negative attitude towards appraisals is because they think that things will get ignored as soon as appraisals are finished. Do not treat them as a tick box exercise. Have regular update meetings, follow through on training commitments, show that development is part of the culture of your team and you will find that the annual or biannual appraisal suddenly doesn’t get viewed in the way it once did.

HR specialist Claudia Ackenson looks at
improving your appraisal processes