Appraisals – A Performance Review Guide for Line Managers

Appraisals (performance reviews) are a great opportunity for good line managers to feedback to employees on their performance over the review period. There are many benefits to conducting regular appraisals, including, but not limited to; improved business performance as everyone is focused on their goals, and an engaged workforce which in turn can improve productivity and retention.

However, a study by Deloitte found that only 8% of organisations believe their performance management process is highly effective in adding business value, while 58% said it’s not an effective use of time. Interestingly, LinkedIn found that 69% of employees said they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognised, and HR Daily have reported organisations who implement regular employee feedback have turnover rates that are 14.9% lower than for employees who receive no feedback.

Therefore, there is a valid question in how appraisals are being conducted by line managers. Unfortunately, some organisations give very little guidance to managers on how to carry out a performance review, which is unsurprising given the statistics by Deloitte. However, this represents a missed opportunity for organisations – line managers who have not had appropriate HR training in preparing and conducting appraisals are unlikely to use this process to its optimum effect.

Clover HR are experienced in providing support to organisations through the appraisal process. Below we have highlighted some steps line managers can take to ensure the appraisal process can add value to both the organisation and the individuals involved;

  • Plan ahead – put time in your diary with your employees and ensure you stick to the time. Employees can get frustrated if the meeting continually gets moved or isn’t visible to them. It can give the impression that the manager does not regards it as a priority. In addition, don’t forget to book a meeting room so you can have a private conversation without being disturbed by day to day work interruptions.
  • Prepare for your meeting to give it structure – have notes of the things you would like to cover during the manager performance review meeting and evidence where necessary. Feedback should be both positive and constructive, and make sure to praise and highlight achievements. Always refer to actual events, behaviour and results. You may also want to consider using 360 feedback, which will take time to gather but can give a more balanced view and possibly greater buy-in as the process is not just driven by the views of one individual. Equally, think about how you will approach the meeting, remember everyone is different and therefore think about the style of the meeting. It’s generally good practice to get employees to talk first by asking them how they feel the review period has been.
  • Have open discussions – the meeting should be a two way discussion, and the employee should have an opportunity to have their voice heard. Consider approaching the meeting as if you are a coach providing feedback. The meeting should look at an employee’s potential to develop and not just focus on performance.
  • Review the performance over the full review period – if your review period is 12 months, then you should review the employee’s performance across the whole 12 months and not just focus on the past couple of months. Maintaining notes from informal discussions during the review period on performance and development will also support and help you with this at appraisal time.
  • Give the employee praise – letting an employee know they’ve done a good job during the manager performance review will boost their morale and engagement. If you are happy with a piece of work they’ve done, or excelled your expectations then let them know!
  • Set targets and objectives – this gives the employee a clear understanding of what you expect from them during the next review period. You should aim to end the review meeting on a positive note.
  • Follow up on actions – not following through on discussion points can reduce your creditability as a line manager and can lead employees to feel demotivated and frustrated.
  • Give regular feedback throughout the year – conduct informal meetings/conversations throughout the year, so you can highlight both good/poor performance and review objectives. It’s important for employees to have regular contact with their line manager, and equally it means nothing should come as a surprise at the point of the appraisal meeting.
  • Discuss and agree development needs and a plan to meet these needs.

If you would like further guidance or support on this matter or require advice on other people management matters please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk

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