If you manage staff, no doubt you are responsible for carrying out their annual appraisals. Does it fill you with dread or glee? This should be a golden opportunity to have a meaningful, motivating conversation, and yet all too often this gets lost in a quagmire of paperwork, a dull trawl over the same old ground, and confusion about what good objectives look like.
Staff often see it as a waste of time, or an exercise in form filling. This is hardly a good starting point for either of you. So what can you do to make sure everybody benefits?
It should be about the quality of the discussion, not the quantity of tick boxes.
The easiest way of making sure you have a good quality conversation is to make sure you have a genuine interest in the other person. Don’t let the processes and procedures distract you from giving your full attention, exploring concerns, and giving praise where it is due. using the time to build the relationship will repay dividends far beyond a good appraisal
Also, a good appraisal meeting will not hold any surprises. You should have made sure your staff member aware of the quality of their performance at regular intervals throughout the year. Here you are just consolidating and confirming what is already known – but that can still be a powerful way of motivating a staff member. Never underestimate the power of letting them know their contribution is recognised, or how performance is directly linked to the strength of the relationship with their line manager.
Here are a few more tips:
- Make brief notes on achievements throughout the year. It’s all too easy to focus on just the recent past, because it is easiest to remember!
- Decide what you want to achieve in advance; don’t just fill in the form. What would be a great outcome from the discussion? identify that, then work towards it.
- Leave enough time to look forwards as well as backwards.
- Take into account aspirations and career interests. Do you really know what this person is capable of, or what they would like to achieve?
- Spend time setting objectives, using the appraisee’s words and ideas wherever possible; if the buy in is lacking, the results will be too.
The result: a happier, more productive workplace. These tips are taken from Face to Face in the Workplace, where you can find out more about to carry out a great appraisal.
By Julie Cooper
Author of Face to Face in the Workplace
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