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. Whilst they can be regarded with dread, appraisals are important. They are a two way conversation, with employees getting the chance to give feedback on their role and ask for new opportunities.
What is an Appraisal at Work?
Workplace appraisals actively involve employees in understanding what is expected of them. They will often take the format of setting agreed objectives with your employer or line manager. You will then review the results some weeks or months later.
By following this process, each employee is made responsible for their own performance. Appraisals are an opportunity to review strengths and weaknesses. You can also make an overall assessment of work content, loads and volume. It gives both parties the chance to look back on what has been achieved since the last review. They are also a chance to set goals and objectives for the next period.
Benefits for Staff of Workplace Appraisals
Many employees can come to dread workplace appraisals as they feel they are being put under scrutiny. They can feel ‘checked up on’ and resent the thought of their work being criticised.
Whilst an appraisal can be used to make sure that the worker is performing well, there are many benefits. They are a way employers can review potential, and identify training and career planning to help the progression of the worker. They can also help employers to set financial reward incentives for a worker’s performance.
It is important to realise that workplace appraisals are a ‘two-way’ conversation. They’re not about an employer telling you what you are doing well and where you need to improve. They are also an opportunity for you to tell your employer how you think you’re doing. You can use the appraisal process to suggest ways in which the company can help you with your personal development.
What is the Value of Appraisals?
Some employees talk about work with their line managers and employers often. They may not see the need for a formal appraisal system.
But appraisals add a lot of value to the working relationship between employers and staff. If there’s no formal appraisal system in place, managers may neglect to keep on top of how workers are doing. An appraisal system, can bring a greater degree of consistency to working relationships. They help 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 staff planning purposes. For example, to identify candidates for promotion. They can also be used to plan for providing them with additional training, and increase their skills base as a result.
Who Should be Appraised?
The answer is ideally everyone, managers too!
In the past most appraisals were carried out in the ‘white collar’ sector. However, it soon became obvious that ‘blue collar’ workers also wanted to receive feedback on training and job progression. Nowadays, most companies have some kind of appraisal structure in place. These can be formal or informal, probably due to the blurring of the lines between what is a white or blue collar worker these days.
How Often Should Appraisals Take Place?
How often workplace appraisals should happen really needs to be viewed as an ongoing 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 technology company, changes and developments occur quickly. That means appraisals may need to be carried out more often than say, if you work in a library. Also, there may be some workers within the same role who need appraisals more often than their colleagues. This could be true for new employees, members of staff who have changed posts or for those whose work has dropped below performance standards.