The annual round of appraisals has become a familiar - if not universally welcomed - part of working life. From the newest recruit up to senior members of the board, the appraisal process can be applied to just about any employee. If carried out correctly appraisals provide a valuable tool to manage and enhance performance. This guide looks at:
In a nutshell, the introduction of an appraisal system enables you to formally assess the performance of employees on an ongoing basis. However, the process should be about more than simply telling staff whether or not they're exceeding, matching or falling short of expectations. As a company evolves, the roles of individuals within that organisation are bound to change and the formal appraisal is also a forum at which new objectives for both the company and individual can be defined. It is also an opportunity for the subject of the exercise to examine his or her own strengths and weaknesses. Typically the employee will be asked to make self-assessment and this can be cross-referenced with the perceptions of managers.
Before introducing an appraisal process it is essential that the company is clear about what the exercise is intended to achieve. Equally, it is important that all employees are clear about their own role. Managers should ensure that everyone has contract and job description reflecting their current position. Many companies link pay and promotion awards to the appraisal process. However, to do this it is important to ensure that the exercise is transparent and fair and you may want to take advice from an HR consultant.
Appraisals are generally carried out at regular intervals, say every six or 12 months, with new recruits undergoing the process after an arranged period. The basis of the exercise is an appraisal form, completed by the employee and then discussed during interview. The form should ask questions covering all aspects of the employee's current role and relationship within the company.
Usually, the interview is a one-on-one session involving a line manager and the member of staff in question. The outcome of the interview should be an agreed set of targets and action plan, signed off by both parties. If improvements are required, the employee should be given the support and tools necessary to raise his or her game and all aspects of the action plan should be subject to a schedule, even if that simply means reviewing progress at the next appraisal.
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