Effective Staff Appraisal

As a manager or leader you will no doubt have responsibility for undertaking staff appraisals.  If you have been appraised in the past by your manager it can appear easy and it should be.  So how can you make appraisals effective and powerful sources of staff motivation?


Planning is the key to effective appraisal.  Make sure that:

1. You schedule appraisal meetings at least two weeks before the appraisal date

2. You book a room for the appraisal

3. All of the pre-appraisal documentation goes out to the employee at least two weeks before the appraisal with clear instructions on how to complete it.  Within this documentation include a draft agenda

4. You set time in your diary to carry out the pre-meeting work

5. You block out sufficient time for the appraisal in your diary.  Ideally, I suggest that you block out a minimum of 2 hours for the meeting and have a gap of at least 30 minutes before the start time and your previous meeting

6. Re-familiarise with any company guidelines and training materials that might exist

Appraisal Meeting

The key to an effective appraisal meeting is to put the appraisee at ease.  One of the easiest ways of doing this is to spend a few minutes at the start chatting more generally about how things are going in life.  As the appraiser is important that:

1. You set the scene including being clear what the meeting is about and what it is not about

2. At least 70% of the talking should be done by the appraisee not you

3. You give the appraisee the opportunity to give their own self assessment of their performance before you

4. You don’t interrupt them even if you don’t agree with something they are saying

5. When you are giving your feedback, you are as specific as possible and ideally include examples to illustrate.  For example, I notice that you are always really well prepared with all the key information for your meetings with the divisional managers

6. You ensure that the appraisee is fully committed to and in agreement with objectives for the next period

7. You spend time looking at the development needs and career plans

8. Make sure the appraissee is clear on the next steps and timescales
After The Appraisal Meeting

1. Produce a meeting note or completed summary

2. Provide two copies of the meeting note or completed summary and ask the appraisee to sign and return one copy to you if they are in agreement that it accurately reflects what was discussed and agreed

3. Make yourself available to discuss concerns that the appraisee might have about the meeting note.  It could be that you have misinterpreted something or incorrectly recorded it

4. Set up a time to review progress on objectives

At the end of the day, a well planned and run appraisal meeting can have a powerful motivational impact on your staff, so don’t miss out on this opportunity.

About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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