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Why the Appraisal Should be Alive and Kicking in Your Business

There is a feeling amongst the business community that the traditional approach to conducting appraisals is now nothing more than a tick box exercise. Which in many cases is sadly true – but it’s all about how you do them and why. Undertaking regular formal appraisals and performance management reviews can have a huge impact on staff motivation, employee engagement and the culture within an organisation. Not only that, but it’ll promote loyalty and help you keep hold of your best talent. Aligning your individual staff performance with the overarching business goals can improve the bottom line and create a working environment where staff want to stay – and progress. Appraisals form the backbone of this, whether carried monthly, quarterly or yearly. It’s great practice to have regular 1-2-1s anyway, so there is no reason the appraisal can’t form part of these invaluable meetings.

Let’s explore why you should be conducting calculated appraisals and not just ticking boxes.

Be Regular, Be Open

Appraisals need to be regular and these 1-2-1 meetings should form part of your ongoing communications process. Do you meet monthly to discuss performance? Or to at least catch up? If not – you should be. If you are, add formal appraisals to those meetings on a regular basis, every 6 months would be recommended. Traditionally it’s perceived that an appraisal is a manager ‘’checking up’’ rather than engaging. Set out the bigger picture goals and put a 12-month plan in place to identify what support, training or resources are required to aid development. This gives both parties the opportunity to be open and set objectives in line with the company goals. It’s vital that these are two-way exercises. By feeding the company objectives to everyone involved you can acknowledge how everyone is playing their part in the success and value the contribution they are making.

Reward and Recognition

Nothing demonstrates your appreciation for an employee or employees than recognition for a job well done. Yes, a pat on the back might work in the short term but take the time to sit down and discuss how they have performed against their objectives and give honest feedback. This will ensure they feel valued for the work they are doing. Where applicable, this is the ideal opportunity to explore rewarding high performing employees and give additional motivation to under performers. Of course, increase in salary or promotion based on performance can be discussed or road mapped as an objective for the future. Other benefits that are non-financial such as; pensions, flexible working hours, gym membership, birthday, holidays, socials and even buying extra holiday. One size doesn’t fit all with regards to these perks as some may prefer flexible hours over a gym membership but demonstrating the willingness to give something back can really make your business stand out. All this information should sit within a clear Reward and Recognition structure so that they can be administered for achieving and/or taking on more responsibility.

Career Development and Progression

Everyone loves additional benefits/perks when it comes to work but nothing is more rewarding than knowing you’re making a difference and have scope to develop in your profession. By having open and honest two-way appraisals you can gain insight into the ambitions of your staff and identify when they are ready to step in to new roles or progress further. During the appraisal you can set KPIs and objectives for them to hit as part of the process. Win/win situation! You have a motivated employee and someone who is focussed on working within business – not looking elsewhere. Also, with regards to new recruits, offering a pipeline for development will certainly help your chances of attracting the people you want.


So, as you can see, the appraisal is very much alive and is an effective tool for engaging with your team. For managers to deliver appraisals you’ll need to ensure they are sufficiently equipped to do this and fit within a constructive appraisal system. This isn’t always something that comes naturally so that can take the form of training or external support.

Our HR support for businesses specialises in engaging with employees and has seen us develop effective skills in the appraisal and 1-2-1 approach. We are not reactive to HR, but we operate proactively to aid creation of a positive business culture and increase productivity through close contact with staff. It is our absolute belief that once you engage effectively with your employees that you will see untold benefits within your organisation from financial gains to reduced staff turnover.

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