The Dreaded Appraisal 

The “annual performance review” has faced some harsh criticism in recent years.  Employee engagement is, or at least should be, at the forefront of the business owner’s mind and so the question often asked is, “are appraisals effective?”

Truth be told, the criticism is in many cases justified and supported by the statistics. However, this does not mean employers should cross appraisals of their lists of things to do, nor should they be disregarded as a very useful tool to encourage a culture of feedback and communication.  

The main purpose of an appraisal is to give an employee feedback on how they are performing.  This is as important as ever. 

So why the negativity about appraisals?

Traditional annual appraisals have come to be seen as a pointless tick-box exercise and not something which employers feel the need to allocate time to focus on. However regular, often informal, one-to-ones appear to be favoured by employers and employees alike in the modern workplace.

Employees favour a more regular performance conversation as opposed to an annual performance appraisal which has the all the build-up and tension of a job interview. Regular appraisals help build a solid employer/employee relationship whereby both parties are more at ease and able to comfortably review and discuss performance issues.

Inevitably, such conversations help create a culture of trust and openness between employers and employees. Staff morale is given a boost as employees receive recognition for their achievements – encouraging the employee to align themselves with business objectives.  

And don’t forget, feedback is a two-way street! Employers need to listen to their employees and employees deserve to be heard.

At Fairmont Legal, we encourage our clients to utilise appraisals and seek the benefits they offer. Here are a few tips to help you ensure that you carry out effective appraisals with your employees:

  • Keep them regular

Contrary to popular belief, appraisals are vital. Although annual appraisals no longer appear to be the way forward, adapt your performance review policy to conduct regular appraisals. Provide honest feedback and help and support as needed and listen to your employee. 

  • Be Positive

Remember the purpose of the appraisal. It is not a disciplinary nor is it an opportunity to tell your employee everything they’re doing wrong.  The aim is to improve your employee’s performance. A telling off will not achieve this! If the employee fails to improve then you can consider the disciplinary route.

  • Switch scenes

Sometimes it is a good idea to change the scene as it can help both parties feel more comfortable.   How about a conversation over a coffee at the local coffee shop or anywhere away from your desk?  This can help employees be a lot more open and honest and ultimately be themselves.  

Use this quality time with your employee to understand them and address any concerns before they snowball.

We advise all our clients to always keep a log of everything – including conversations during an appraisal.

If you need advice on carrying out appraisals correctly or for any other HR and employment law issues, please contact Fairmont Legal for a free initial consultation. 

:  01204 866597

:  [email protected]



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