Why do Performance Appraisals have such bad press?

It’s not only from employees either – there are just as many business owners and managers out there who don’t seem to have a good word to say about them – one Shrewsbury business owner actually said to me with a deep sigh: “Oh no, not appraisal time again … I’d rather walk on burning coals!”

Yet, what’s wrong with taking time out to review progress, recognise successes, identify training and development needs and look for better ways of doing things?

I think the problem lies in TWO places: the WHAT and the HOW of performance appraisals.

The WHAT – a 12 page performance appraisal form and accompanying explanation booklet, the size of War and Peace, will frighten off the bravest manager and employee.

The HOW – a one-off annual performance appraisal with no other interim meetings, exchanges or management feedback, is rarely of value to employee, manager or organisation.

How to do a Performance Appraisal … well!

I challenge you to try this 6 Point Plan on How to do a Performance Appraisal … well! and see what a difference it makes!

1) For starters, KEEP IT SIMPLE – anything more than a couple of sheets of paper and you’re setting yourself up to fail before you begin.  A concise prompt form (see below) – ideally a page long is all you need.

2) Focus on 2-3 WORK OBJECTIVES – anything more is a waste of time (in my opinion!) – yes, it does help if they can be specific, measureable, achievable and timed!

3) Include a couple of STRETCH OBJECTIVES – something that will excite, challenge, stretch or develop your member of staff, not frighten them to death.

4) Be radical and APPRAISE more often – a shorter more regular appraisal meeting can be far more motivating than a once a year, three hour epic conversation.  They should also be supplemented with ongoing, good ‘ol face-to-face, two-way communications.

5) Give ALL-ROUND FEEDBACK a go (360 degree feedback sounds too much like geometry!) – managers really should know what their staff think of them and employees should know what their peers think too – a simple anonymous list of strengths and areas for improvement can be extremely valuable.

6) TRY IT! – a process can always be changed and improved, but the challenge is to make Performance Appraisals an important part of the business process, not an irksome add-on – that only comes with practice.

Still not sure, well add a comment below or pop a note on my contact form and I’ll send you my FREE one sheet Performance Appraisal Prompt Sheet to get you started. No excuses!

Look forward to hearing how it goes.


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