Hints and Tips on Appraisal
1. Setting up an appraisal scheme
- Make sure that all your managers fully understand the scheme.
- Ensure there is clarity over any competencies and ratings and how these are to be used. Give some examples (both good and bad) as a guideline for Managers
- Take time to ensure that all questions are answered
- Monitor and review the scheme – keep an open mind in the early days.
- Establish clear mechanisms to ensure that training needs are actioned swiftly
- Brief your staff as well as your managers -if time allows hold special briefings
- Ensure that Managers have enough time to prepare and plan for the first round of reviews under any new system
- Impose a scheme without consultation or discussion
- Blindly copy schemes in use elsewhere – adapt to suit your needs and organisation
- Make the paperwork too complicated or let this drive the process – the simpler this is the better any discussion will be
- Try to rush implementation without allowing time for training, briefing and preparation
- When revamping a scheme – don’t throw away what’s working
- Expect too much too soon – it takes time for new systems to bed down
- Make promises that can’t be kept – if a freeze has been placed on external training because of finances then alert managers to any restrictions and give examples of what they should suggest instead.
2. Maximising the discussion
When trying to consider how well your team members are performing their job, it is useful to identify what you have to bear in mind. You should consider the following:
- What are the performance standards for the job – how does their performance match this?
- What are the departmental objectives and their personal targets for that year? Has this been achieved?
- Evidence they have learned or improved during the year
- Evidence to support any gut feelings you have
- Comments from other people
- Take time to observe them at work or ask them to show you examples of what they have been doing (both things they are pleased with or are finding hard)
Things which help when discussing performance:
- Encourage self appraisal and reflection
- Raise good performance first
- Use specific examples e.g. on 21st June you worked extra to meet a deadline
- Prioritise – what are the key issues you need to raise?
- Keep a balance between the strengths and areas for improvement – this will help motivate
- Ensure that standards and objectives are clear and understood
- Identify areas which can be enhanced and seek their ideas on how
- Keep an open mind
The following may have a more negative effect:
- Trying to prove a case
- Being too vague – use examples, facts. Figures and dates
- Being too obvious and heavy handed or trying to be too subtle
- Relying too heavily on the comments of others unless supported by other evidence including dates, facts and figures etc
- Trying to cover everything
- Only mentioning weaknesses and areas for improvement
- Not listening to explanations
3. How do I give feedback effectively?
Feedback is essential for learning and development and the ability to provide effective feedback is one of a manager's most important skills. Feedback tells people 3 things:
- What is expected of them
- How they are doing
- What they need to do to improve
When given constructively it can be an excellent motivator. As a manager you should consider what you want the individual to get from the feedback; feedback must always give value to the receiver, not release for the giver. It should not feel like criticism.
- Ensure you have a constructive motive for giving feedback
- Focus on behaviour rather than the person
- Give feedback on observations rather than inferences
- Give specific examples of what you have observed
- Focus on behaviour that can be changed, not personalities
- Don’t hold back any feedback, if it is relevant
- Think about the amount of feedback being given; i.e. not too much at once!
- Check that feedback has been received and understood
Consider it SAID!
- firstly give the individual the opportunity to assess his or her own performance - the highs/lows. This is less threatening and will often lead to the individual pointing out the areas you wanted to raise before you do.
- this involves getting a clear understanding from both sides of the action you wish to discuss.
- this involves discussing the impact of the action on you, them, the team, colleagues or the business
- this is where coaching will come in to help the individual identify what they would do differently to improve performance
4. Setting SMART Objectives
Establishing and agreeing objectives which are clear, understandable and owned by the individual concerned can be a challenge. Use the questions shown below to help you check that your objectives pass the SMART test.
|What exactly is going to be done, with or for whom?
||Is it measurable & can it be measured?
||Can it be done in the timeframe/in this political climate/with this amount of money?
||Will this objective lead to the desired results?
||When does this have to be completed?