6 Ways to Have an Effective Performance Appraisal


A performance appraisal lets an employee and their manager discuss the employee’s performance, goals, and future development opportunities. This typically includes reviewing previously set objectives, setting new objectives for the next review period, and taking notes on the discussion.

A performance appraisal often is used along with other performance assessment tools.

Examples include the following:

  • A personal evaluation of the employee’s performance
  • Feedback on the employee’s performance from colleagues, direct reports, or a non-direct manager or supervisor the employee regularly works with
  • A standardized rating on the employee’s competencies, behaviors, and personal traits

The goal of a performance appraisal is to improve individual and team performance and growth. This helps increase employee motivation, engagement, collaboration, and retention.

As a manager, you need to effectively deliver performance reviews to increase the success of your team. The following guidelines can help.

Follow these six steps to provide an effective performance appraisal.

1. Prepare

Give your employee two weeks’ notice about their performance appraisal. Include an overview of the process and a self-appraisal form, if applicable.  Let the employee know the day and time to privately meet with you in your office.

2. Encourage Discussion

Ask your employee open-ended questions about their performance. Praise them for the areas they excel in. Talk about concrete action steps for the areas that need improvement. This may include additional training or support.

3. Actively Listen

Focus on what your employee has to say. Ask follow-up questions to gather more details. Summarize what you hear to ensure your understanding. Work to answer any questions and resolve any issues that may come up.

4. Measure Engagement

Ask your employee to share how they feel about your team and company. You may want to have them answer questions based on a scale of 0 (never) to 5 (always). Then, you can compare the employee’s ratings during future appraisals.

The following are questions you may want to ask:

  • Do you feel you have the freedom to make decisions?
  • Do you feel you have clear goals and a purpose?
  • Is your work challenging and enjoyable?
  • Do you have opportunities to develop?
  • Are you receiving enough praise and appreciation?
  • Do you feel there is cooperation, support, and trust within the team?
  • Do you feel your ideas and opinions are respected?

5. Create Objectives

Work with your employee to develop objectives for their next performance appraisal. Ensure the objectives are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound (SMART), and tied to business goals. This increases the odds of the employee achieving the objectives. It also shows how the employee’s contributions impact company success.

6. Take Notes

Create a written or electronic record of what was discussed during the performance appraisal. Provide a copy to the employee. This serves as a reminder of the objectives to reach during the next appraisal period.

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