Appraisals are designed to increase employee performance and efficiency. It’s usually completed by an employee’s line manager as they’ve developed a relationship with the employee and are aware of their performance. 
Preparing for an appraisal. 
As with anything worth doing, planning is key. An appraisal should include employee performance data which should be reviewed against previous appraisals to gain a measure of progress. It can also help guide conversations around future development. 
Appraisals are part of ongoing working relationships, so should be conducted in a manner that continues to support the working relationship. This includes making an employee aware of the areas to be covered in advance of the appraisal so they can prepare. 
What to cover in an employee appraisal? 
Appraisals are an opportunity for honest and frank conversations with employees. The aim is to get to the bottom of performance issues and strengthen the working relationship. Make sure to not limit the review to your ideas – this is a two-way conversation. 
To gain maximum value from an appraisal you should measure performance against agreed targets, employee behaviour and manager feedback. 
Ask yourself if the employee’s performance could be improved and what this would look like. What are their strengths? Do they support their colleagues? 
Environment plays an important role in the effectiveness of an appraisal, so where you conduct the review should be conducive with the conversation. Chairs should be arranged side-by-side rather than across the desk, to support the sharing of ideas. 
Questions should be open-ended, and body language should reflect an interest in what is being said. It’s important to consider that not all line managers will have the necessary skills to effectively perform these reviews, so training needs should be reviewed. 
Example questions 
1. What’s your greatest achievement? 
This helps the employee realise the importance of their contributions. 
2. What do you enjoy most about your role? 
This is an opportunity to better utilise workforce capabilities. It’s also a good measure of performance since the last review. 
3. What’s the most challenging part of your role? 
This will help you identify any difficulties the employee is having and discuss potential solutions. 
4. What would you do differently in your role? 
This question gives the employee the opportunity to participate in the shaping of their role. Having lived the role day-in-day-out the employee is in a good position to suggest improvements which could increase overall business efficiency. 
5. How can management help with your job? 
It’s important to listen to your employee’s so that they continue to feel valued and deliver results. 
6. What are your future goals? 
This question gives the employee the chance to think about what they want. It also helps you identify and shape future goals with the employee. 
Once the appraisal is complete, both the employee and line manager should sign the form to agree on goals. 
These questions will offer valuable insight into the morale of your workforce and how to improve performance. With the workplace in a constant state of change, it’s important to future proof the success of your business by adapting and developing the skills required to deliver change. 
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