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  • 12 May 2015
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Top five appraisal preparation tips

When it comes to planning for an appraisal, it is just as important for the employer to be prepared as it is for the employee. If you are in charge of conducting appraisals, there are several things you can do to prepare and ensure both you and your staff walk away from appraisals feeling positive. Being in charge of a team, however big or small, can be a daunting prospect and can create unnecessary pressure if neither of you are sufficiently prepared. Here is a list of our top five tips for conducting effective appraisals to guarantee both you and your employees get the most out of your meeting and encourage future progression.

1. Plan ahead

First, you should decide how often you are going to conduct appraisals and plan enough time into your schedule for each employee. Whether it is quarterly or annually, decide what works best for your company and make sure all staff know when their appraisal will be taking place.

As the manager of a business, it can be difficult to keep up-to-date with your staff and their progress – particularly if you are in charge of a larger organisation. It is a great idea to spend some time familiarising yourself with each person’s role and recapping on any previously agreed goals before you conduct their individual appraisal.

By planning ahead, you won’t lose valuable time in the meeting trying to acquaint yourself with what was previously discussed.

2. Create an appropriate environment

A successful appraisal allows both employee and employer to talk openly and honestly on a professional one-to-one level – with a private office providing the ideal setting. You can put your staff at ease by making sure they have a comfortable seat as well as making pens and paper available for recording any necessary notes. It is also a good idea for both of you to have access to water. Installing a water cooler in the office means you will have unlimited access to H20, not only for appraisals, but also for other meetings which occur. With water proven to increase brain activity, it is a great idea to have it on hand at all times.

3. Listen to your employee

As long as they have been given plenty of notice, you can expect your employees to have prepared for their appraisal and be armed with plenty of topics they wish to discuss. Allow them the opportunity to speak while you listen and take notes if necessary. This is a chance for them to bring up any difficulties they have been facing since your last meeting, as well as any particular highlights.

Your employees will appreciate your willingness to hear them out and this will encourage them to honestly discuss how they are feeling about the job, as well as strengthening employer-employee relationships.

4. Encourage self-assessment

Self-assessment can be difficult to master, but it is essential for the development of your team. Giving each employee the opportunity to assess their own performance will offer you some insight into how they think their role fits into the company, as well as giving you a greater understanding of what they want from their career moving forward.

It is important that every employee appreciates not only their individual role, but also how that fits into the overall structure of the business.

This is also a chance for your staff to tell you what they feel they contribute to the team and let you know how they would like to develop within their role.

5. Devise an actionable plan

This is perhaps the most important tip for a successful appraisal because it encourages future progression. At the end of the appraisal, both you and your employee should leave feeling confident about the next step. If you have discussed negative aspects or difficult points, make sure there is a plan in place to prevent these from occurring in future. By devising an actionable plan, you can keep track of their progress and address any issues as and when they arise.

Following these easy tips will guarantee both you and your staff get the most out of each appraisal and are ready to tackle the future with a practical and positive outlook.