Performance management

146What is the best way to conduct an appraisal?

We discussed Appraisal Skills in previous lessons.

There is no correct way to conduct an appraisal, but it is helpful to have a standard document for consistency. Both parties should do some advance preparation The following guidelines may be useful.

The appraiser should consider:

  • How the appraise has performed since the last meeting.
  • Issues which have come up, proposing potential solutions.
  • Progress made against agreed targets and plans
  • Feedback to be given together with supporting evidence.
  • Factors affecting performance, whether they are within or outside the appraiser’s control.
  • Pointers for performance improvement.
  • The appraisee’s career ambitions.
  • Targets and objectives for the next period.

Appraises need to consider:

  • Their performance and achievements in the review period, included objectives not achieved, with reasons.
  • Barriers to performance encountered, and proposed solutions.
  • Improvement needed, how this might be achieved.
  • Identify learning and development needs
  • Support and guidance sought
  • What they enjoy and do well in their role, how they might develop it
  • Career Aspirations – development in current role, possible future roles.
  • Targets and objectives for the next period.

A development plan, targets and action plan should develop from the meeting

Appraisal skills for managers

To carry out a positive appraisal, a manager needs to ask the right kind of questions, develop their listening skills, and be able to offer effective feedback to enable their team to appreciate the impact of their actions and behaviour. Feedback can be used constructively to highlight good points, and also identify opportunities for further improvement.

Let’s consider the outcomes of an effective appraisal meeting versus a poor one;

A constructive appraisal meeting is one in which:-

  • The appraisee does most of the talking, listening actively and responding to points.
  • Solutions are proposed and discussed, after reflection and analysis.
  • Performance is analysed, not personality
  • The whole period is reviewed, not just recent or specific issues
  • Achievement is acknowledged
  • The meeting ends positively, with an action plan for improved performance being produced

A poor appraisal meeting:

  • Focuses on a list of errors, problems or omissions, with blame apportioned
  • There is not a two way dialogue-the appraiser does most of the talking,
  • Solutions are not considered.
  • The meeting ends in disagreement, with the appraisee demotivated.

How do managers learn to carry our effective appraisals?

Appraising managers should practice the skills they need- They need to learn to ask the right questions, actively listen and give constructive feedback.

Asking the right questions means using open questions and probing questions.

Open questions are general in nature, encourage people to answer freely.

For Example:

  • How do you feel things have been this quarter?
  • How would you like your career to develop?
  • What do you think about that?
  • Why do you think that occurred?

Probing questions dig for accurate information on events and issues.  They encourage sharing information about feelings and attitudes, “reflect back”, check understanding and offer support

For Example:

  • That’s interesting. Tell me more
  • How important is that to you?
  • I see, do you mean that ….?


  • A good listener will;-
  • Concentrate on the speaker
  • Be aware of body language, behaviour, and tone of voice
  • Respond appropriately, but not interrupt
  • Confirm understanding by asking questions.
  • Show understanding by making short comments such as “Ok “.