Formal performance appraisals can be of huge benefit to both the employer and the employee. Unfortunately, however, they are increasingly undervalued and underutilized by both parties.
Employers must recognize that formal appraisals have a huge impact on how satisfied, motivated and productive their employees are. I have found that with the right preparation, appraisals can be both stimulating and performance enhancing.
- Make your people feel valued
To be fully satisfied and competent employees need to feel that they’re valued and are producing good work. The formal appraisal is a great opportunity to give your employees sincere feedback, spurring them on to work smarter and better.
Employees really value frequent praise and recognition, so letting them know you are aware of the good work that they’re doing will help you to retain hard-working staff. Your team will also value your expert advice on their personal brand, and what key areas they should be focusing on strengthening.
- Set new goals
The most productive employees are those that are constantly driven, and unrelenting in their pursuit of goals. Setting achievable targets during the appraisal helps to motivate employees, and empowers them to feel more confident when they hit them.
The appraisal is also a useful occasion to realign business objectives with changing market conditions; making targets relevant and accurate. For instance, during a particularly stagnant period of nationwide growth you may wish to reign in your forecasts to avoid disappointment.
- Resolve grievances
Often managers are too engrossed in the day-to-day to get an insight into an employee’s frame of mind. The appraisal is a great time to address any concerns you or they may have.
- Strengthen bonds
It’s important for team cohesion and overall productivity that managers have good relationships with their team. Use this occasion to align priorities and discuss various matters of interest to the business with your team members; almost like a brainstorming session.
- Refocusing your team
Appraisals can be used to help communicate your vision to team members. This is your chance to clarify and articulate your vision, ensuring that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.
It’s also an opportunity to manage employees’ promotion expectations. Those with an inflated idea of their own abilities and role within the business will benefit from a realistic assessment of their current worth.
- Oversight on current projects
As a busy manager, it can be hard sometimes to adopt a helicopter view of on-going projects. Formal appraisals are a good opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday work and reflect upon the overarching direction your team is heading in.
- Assess the training needs of your team
Different people within your team will have different strengths. Use the appraisal to assess your employees’ weaknesses, identifying areas which may require additional training and support.
Letting your team know that you’re thinking about their development will help instil in them an ethos of ambition, in turn driving the business on to be more productive and aspirational.