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The Value of Workplace Appraisals

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 22 May 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Workplace Appraisals Employees Benefits

It is important to keep your employees focused and motivated if they are going to make a valuable contribution to the company. To do this, companies often adopt the practice of workplace appraisals.

Objectives of Appraisals

Workplace appraisals actively involve employees understanding what is expected of them. By setting agreed objectives with your employer or line manager and then reviewing the results some weeks or months later, each employee is made responsible for their own performance. They are an opportunity to review strengths and weaknesses, to take an overall assessment of work content, loads and volume and to look back on what has been achieved already and to Set Goals and Objectives for the following period.

Many employees can come to dread workplace appraisals as they feel they are being placed under scrutiny with regard to their work performance - the being 'checked up on' syndrome. However, whilst there is an element of an appraisal being used to ensure that the worker continues to do the job properly, there are many benefits to workplace appraisals as they are often the means by which employers review potential, and identify training and career planning to forward the career progression of the worker. Furthermore, they can also help employers to determine financial reward incentives for a worker's performance.

It is important to realise that workplace appraisals are a 'two-way' conversation. They're simply not about an employer telling you what you are doing well and where you need to improve or what you are doing badly but also an opportunity for you to tell your employer how you think you're doing and to suggest ways in which the company can help you to fulfil your potential even more.

Benefits of Appraisals

Some employees talk about work with their line managers and employers often and may not see the need for a formal appraisal system. Although regular dialogue between managers and workers should be encouraged, much will depend on the attitudes of individual managers and, if there is no formal appraisal system in place, some may neglect to keep on top of how their workers are doing. An appraisal system, therefore, can bring benefits in that it can develop a greater degree of consistency by ensuring that employers and employees meet regularly to discuss performance and potential. Experience has shown that this can encourage better performance from employees.

Workplace appraisals can also provide human resources with information for succession planning purposes, i.e. to identify suitable candidates for promotion and for providing them with knowledge to enable them to make additional training available to some workers and increase their skills base also as a result.

Who Should be Appraised?

The answer is…ideally everyone, managers too!

In the past most appraisals were carried out in the domain of the 'white collar' sector. However, it soon became noticeable that 'blue collar' workers felt alienated by this and also wanted to receive more structured guidance on additional training and career progression. Nowadays, most companies have some kind of appraisal structure in place, whether formal or informal, probably due to the blurring of the lines between what is a white or blue collar worker these days. Advancements in technology, flexible working practices, the harmonisation of terms and conditions of employment and casual dress in the workplace are all factors here.

How Often Should Appraisals Take Place?

The frequency of workplace appraisals should really be viewed as an ongoing continuous process. The frequency of formal appraisals will depend on the nature of the organisation and on the objectives of the company. For example, in a high technology company, changes and developments occur quickly, so formal appraisals may need to be carried out more often than say, if you work in a museum or library. Also there may be some workers within the same role who need appraisals more often than their colleagues. This could be the case for new employees, longer serving members of staff who have changed posts or for those whose work has fallen below acceptable performance standards.

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