Staff appraisals

We explain the benefits of regular performance reviews and how to get the most out of them

Regular staff appraisals are crucial. They make sure your staff knows what you expect of them. And give your employees a chance to voice any issues.

Meaningful performance reviews will have a significant impact and can improve staff performance and reduce employee turnover.

However, it's hard to fit these meetings into your day, especially in busy periods. Plus, there’s no legal requirement to hold staff appraisals. Because of this, many businesses let their appraisal meetings slide.

In this guide, we’ll explain the benefits of regular performance reviews, how often you should carry them out, and how to hold a meaningful employee performance review.

What is a staff appraisal?

A staff appraisal is a meeting between you and an employee about their performance.

It’s also a good opportunity to talk about the individual’s happiness in their role and future development.

There’s no legal requirement to hold performance reviews for your staff, but there are many benefits to regular appraisal meetings.

The benefits of staff appraisals

As mentioned above, holding staff appraisals can improve employee performance and reduce turnover. But that’s not all.

A well-structured appraisal will:

  • Identify training opportunities.
  • Increase job satisfaction and reduce turnover.
  • Identify and resolve any grievances.
  • Fairly review candidates for pay increases and promotions.

Your appraisal needs to be an open discussion with the employee. Without a dialogue, you won’t learn about any issues the individual has.

How often to hold staff appraisals

Traditionally, many businesses have held appraisals annually. However, a year is a long time for an issue to remain unresolved.

Performance development reviews have become more frequent as people get serious about employee wellbeing.

You should conduct appraisals at least every six months to improve employee engagement. In more fast-paced businesses, it can even be worth considering quarterly appraisals.

Detail the regularity of your performance reviews in the employee handbook so that your staff know what to expect.

Remember, more regular appraisals shouldn’t replace regular communication with your staff. You should provide constructive feedback and check in on your staff’s wellbeing whenever possible.

How to appraise staff performance

There are different formats for staff appraisal, the most common formats are:

  • Ratings scales: the employer rates employees against a set of criteria.
  • Self evaluation: the employee rates their own performance.
  • Management by objectives: staff are reviewed on how well they meet set goals.
  • 360-degree feedback: performance is reviewed by multiple people in different roles.

No matter what format you use for your performance reviews, an important part of the process is the staff appraisal form.

Staff appraisal forms

The staff appraisal form is a document that helps to structure the review meeting.

The appraisal form lists questions that allow an individual to review their work in the time since their last appraisal.

It can be completed by both employees and their managers depending on the format you choose for your evaluation. Having people complete a self-appraisal form is the best way to learn about any problems they have.

As there is no legal requirement to hold staff appraisals, there are no rules on what your staff appraisal form should include. However, most businesses follow the same format for their questionnaires.

A typical staff appraisal form will cover the following categories:

  • Successes: Highlighting work and skills they are proud of.
  • Weaknesses: Covering tasks the employee has found difficult.
  • Development: Discussing further development and long-term goals.
  • Additional Remarks: An opportunity to bring up any other issues.

The appraisal form should be completed and submitted to the manager ahead of the appraisal meeting. The employee comments on the performance review will help to lead the following meeting.

Staff appraisal meetings

The completed appraisal form should lead the performance review meeting. The answers provided in the form will give you key insights, but you will learn more and be able to resolve issues by following up in the meeting.

Discussing the provided answers lets you attempt to resolve any grievances or plan for action to be taken.

But there’s more to an appraisal meeting than just reviewing the completed form together. Although, this discussion should take up most of your meeting, you should also provide your own feedback.

Other aspects of the meeting should include:

  • A general discussion to begin with.
  • Review of targets set in the previous performance review.
  • Provide feedback on their performance.
  • Discuss and agree on new development targets.

You should also review any metrics you are tracking, such as sick leave and lateness, in this meeting.

Get help with staff appraisals today with BrightHR

Staff appraisals can seem complicated and time-consuming. But the benefits of regular performance reviews will keep your staff happy and business moving forwards.

The BrightHR software makes it even easier, as all your employee’s attendance data is saved to our secure cloud storage.

And with BrightInform, you get access to easy-to-use online portal filled with thousands of expert guides and document templates to help with any HR queries you might have.

Book a free demo or buy online now to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions about Appraisals

Our clients ask loads of questions about appraisals, so we’ve answered some of the most common ones below.

Not found an answer to your question? Bright Lightning gives you the answer to thousands of employment questions in seconds.

Why is appraisal important?

Employee appraisals are vital to growing your business. They allow you to:

  • Measure and reward staff performance.
  • Identify skills gaps and development opportunities.
  • Spot potential in your best-performing employees.
  • Give staff a chance to speak up about any issues.

What are the methods of performance appraisal?

There are many different methods you can use when holding performance appraisals, including:

  • Management by objectives (MBO): Employee and manager agree performance targets that the employee must aim to meet before the next review period.
  • 360-degree feedback: Feedback is collected from a number of different sources, such as; managers, colleagues, customers, and direct reports.
  • Self-appraisal: Employees review their own performance before you meet with them. This is sometimes included as a stage in the 360-degree feedback review.
  • Behaviourally anchored rating scale (BARS): Rate employee performance based on several criteria.

No method is better than any other, but some might be more suitable for your business.

What should you say in a performance review?

No matter which method you use for your performance review, there are certain topics that you should always cover.

  • Talk about strengths and weaknesses.
  • Talk about any recent achievements.
  • Discuss long and short-term career development opportunities.
  • Define clear performance goals.
  • Offer a chance for staff to provide feedback.
  • Ask if any support is needed.
  • Discuss employee happiness and engagement.
  • Cover salary expectations and offer a pay rise where applicable.

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