Top Tips for Productive and Motivating Appraisals
Find a new name. Just the mention of an Appraisal or Performance Review instils dread into most people, so find a different way of describing what should be an open discussion about the review of progress and ideas to develop your employee. A couple of different ones I’ve come across are: The Big Chat (with bi-monthly Little Chats) and The A.R.T. Meeting (Achieving Results Together).
Aim for a positive and respectful dialogue. We avoid appraisals like the plague because we are anticipating accusations and complaints, from one side or the other. If you don’t hear about problems, how can you resolve them? Ask questions that encourage openness and honesty, and be prepared to listen with respect and genuine curiosity. Remember that you have two ears and one mouth for a reason!
Be specific when giving feedback. The intention of an appraisal is to ‘Appraise’, which is the act of assessing something or someone. Naturally this involves feedback. Do ensure that you give positive feedback with genuine appreciation and be very specific about what was noticed when they conducted the task, i.e., the way you engaged with the audience and held their attention was excellent’ rather than ‘That was a great presentation’.
Be brave in giving honest feedback. Constructive feedback is often avoided for the fear of conflict. We also worry about how the feedback will be received and the fear of damaging a relationship. If you don’t highlight areas that need improving, how will your employee know what’s expected of them, and how can they progress? Remind yourself of the benefits of being honest when giving feedback, and ensure you communicate with respect and a genuine desire to help your employee to progress.
Be brave in asking for honest feedback. Find out how you can help your employee to do the best job possible. In addition to ensuring they have the resources they need, are you helping or hindering them by the way you manage and communicate? This will require some honest feedback from your employee. Does your management style motivate or de-motivate? Are you micro-managing or abdicating control? How can you adapt your style to get the most from your team member?
Adopt a coaching style. As the manager or team leader, you will feel as if you must have all the answers, whatever the challenge. If your employee highlights a problem, ask your employee what they want instead, and ask them questions to explore what the ideal solution would look like, what have they done already and what ideas do they have? Given them responsibility to find a solution.
Even if you have regular updates with your employees, annual appraisals are essential for formally reviewing progress and planning ahead. They provide the forum to acknowledge, appreciate and develop your people. Ensure your team are aware of the overall goals of the organisation, the department, and how their role contributes to its success.
If you have been avoiding giving your team appraisals, please get in touch!
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