Managing staff performance

Carrying out the performance appraisal


Line managers usually carry out the performance appraisal. They are likely to have day-to-day contact and be aware of the employee's performance. It is also common for senior management to see the results, so that they are kept up to date on staff progress.

Another option is the 360-degree appraisal system, where a variety of people who come into contact with the employee give written feedback on their performance. This could include their line manager, peers, staff working below them, and in some cases even customers and suppliers. It may give a broad picture of how the employee is performing, but it can also be time-consuming and costly, and needs to be handled sensitively.

Preparing for staff appraisals

Make sure employees know in advance what to expect, and ask them to prepare.

When filling in appraisal forms, try not to focus solely on the recent past. It helps if you keep records of performance throughout the year, including occasions when the employee has been praised, or when problems have been addressed.

The appraisal meeting

To make the appraisal meeting as productive as possible:

  • set aside enough time
  • make sure the room you use is comfortable and that you won't be disturbed
  • open the meeting with positive comments
  • use the appraisal form as a guide throughout the meeting
  • discuss any objectives set at the last appraisal and whether they have been achieved - make sure it's a two-way discussion
  • remember that any feedback should be constructive
  • agree further objectives together
  • discuss and agree appropriate training which will assist the employee in meeting the incoming year's objectives
  • make sure the employee understands the next steps, such as a pay review or training programme
  • always end the meeting on a positive note looking forward to the incoming year

Following up a staff appraisal

Give employees a written copy of their new objectives, and keep one in their personal file. Some companies give their employees a copy of the appraiser's comments and invite the employee to record any comments they would wish to add. Your employees have a right to access appraisal or performance review notes.

It is good practice to give the employee the right to appeal if they don't agree with the appraisal and the opportunity to have this noted on their file.