Annual appraisal, employee development meeting, staff follow-up meeting – it goes by many names, but how to organise one that produces a positive outcome can be a real headache in many organisations. Here I will share my best tips, whether you are an employee, line manager or HR staffer.
Why undertake an employee appraisal?
The most important objective of an employee appraisal is to clarify expectations and create room for professional and personal development, job satisfaction and optimal performance. Gaining an insight into what the employee needs to thrive, master, learn and perform allows managers to meet the individual’s needs more easily. The employee appraisal is therefore an important tool in the organisation’s efforts to develop and retain good staff.
NB! The employee appraisal is important, but does not replace day-to-day dialogue between managers and their staff through the year as a whole. Regular status meetings are a precondition for commitment and performance.
Preparation – managers
Make sure you are well prepared in good time before the employee appraisal meeting. Tell the employee what the purpose, agenda and expectations are for the meeting. Set aside 1-2 hours. Clarify the department/unit’s goals and results before the appraisal meeting. Use the occasion and the conversation actively as a constructive management tool, and a unique opportunity to create results.
3 tips for managers
- Be thorough in your preparations.
- Be objective and open in your feedback.
- Go into the meeting with the intention that the employee will emerge strengthened from it.
Preparation – employee Make sure you are well prepared in good time before the appraisal meeting. Make sure you are aware of the unit’s goals and plans. Give a sober and realistic assessment of your own results, knowledge and skills. In addition, think through and propose goals and activities for the coming period, including your own development and learning needs.
3 tips for employees
- Look forward to the appraisal meeting. This is about you and is a golden opportunity to get feedback.
- You are the focus of attention. It is therefore natural to show interest and take responsibility.
- Be constructive. Tell your manager what you need to perform optimally.
The actual employee appraisal
- Make sure you are able to remain undisturbed. Turn off mobile phones and put them to one side.
- Be genuinely interested. Listen and take care to keep your body language positive.
- Focus on the future. Use an appraisal form to structure the conversation, and take notes along the way.
- Focus on the employee, not the rest of the organisation. – Be specific. Offer examples when giving feedback.
Objections and resistance
Don’t focus on the cause when you encounter resistance. Address the problems, listen and make an effort to understand.Change tack in the conversation by asking the question. – What do you yourself suggest could be the solution? Lead the employee into a more positive mind-set. Be constructive by yourself proposing solutions.
Tips for HR
- Facilitate employee appraisals by providing high-quality information about the process.
- Create a predefined appraisal form containing topics tailored to your organisation.
- Create a structure for clarifying expectations, goals and areas of responsibility.
- Offer the organisation an IT-supported process for simplicity and documentation.
- Focus on managers. Guide them in how to give employees constructive feedback and in setting good goals.
Text: Berit Bjerknes, CatalystOne Solutions