The advantages of a good appraisal system are that it will:
- help you to assess your staff against defined objectives
- give you the chance to give constructive feedback and to praise staff for their good work
- allow you to define medium and long term objectives for your employees
It also offers the opportunity to:
- address any problems
- discuss apparent weaknesses
- find solutions, such as offering training
- identify better ways to carry out tasks
Key elements of an effective appraisal system
There are four key elements in a good performance and appraisal system:
- set objectives for the incoming year
- monitor performance against objectives for the previous year - giving feedback which will help staff to improve if you think they aren't performing as required
- carry out the appraisal (should include identifying any training needs to assist with meeting the incoming year's objectives)
- provide rewards/remedies
How often should appraisals happen?
Many businesses carry out an appraisal after a set period of time for new employees or those who have changed jobs within the company. After that, appraisals once or twice a year may be enough. If it's twice a year, one option is that the first of the two appraisals is an 'interim appraisal' looking at objectives and/or competencies. It would also be ideal to address how to assist any shortcomings at the interim stage, with employee consent to any remedial steps.
It is important that in addition to this you deal with issues of poor performance as part of your ongoing day to day management ie you should never leave this discussion until the annual or bi-annual appraisal meeting.
Get it right from the start
A performance system will work only if you plan and implement it properly:
- make sure that you know what an employee's job involves - read their job description
- keep it simple - this will save you time and money
- use a standard format for your appraisal forms
- make sure managers are committed to the appraisal process and they know what each employee will be expected to achieve
- discuss what is proposed with employees, or unions if appropriate, before you implement an appraisal system
If you have an information and consultation agreement in place, you have a duty to inform and consult employees or their representatives on substantial changes to work, organisation or contractual relations. This includes the introduction of a new appraisal system.
Make sure you tell your employees about it in writing and include it in any new starter information packs.
Read more on how to inform and consult your employees.