Employment

An introduction to employee appraisals

Charles BrecqueCharles Brecque
Last updated on:
February 3, 2022
Published on:
December 20, 2021

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An employee appraisal, also known as a performance appraisal is a scheduled feedback session between an employee and their direct manager. During the appraisal, the employee and line manager will discuss who they are as an employee, how they're performing in terms of goals, and how they can improve over the coming year. This article will help managers and employees learn more about the appraisal process so that they can be more effective!


What is an employee appraisal?

Employee appraisals are critical to hold employees accountable and help them grow inside an organisation. They also provide employees with career growth opportunities. In order to determine if an employee is growing or performing well it is important that their job description is clear and that their work can be measured objectively. More importantly, the employee must understand what parts of their work is measurable so that they know what it is they must improve or optimise. Once the metrics have been agreed with the employee, the manager can set goals and a development plan to achieve them. This technique is also known as management by objectives (MBO). During the year, the manager might check in with the employee in performance review meetings to determine if the employee is on track to reach the goals, and if not, propose an action plan to reach them. Appraisal meetings can be yearly, bi-annual or quarterly. The review periods should be tailored to the development plan and the time it will take the employee to reach milestones.


How do you appraise an employee?

The performance appraisal process is more than the manager telling the employee they’ve done a great job. Rather, it involves conducting the appraisal in the right way, based on the job role, company culture and business requirements. Effective performance appraisals are split in two parts. The first part requires the employee to assess their own performance and for the manager to to prepare a written report of the employee's job performance. During the performance feedback session, the employee and manager should compare their notes and determine if the employee's development was in line with the goals set at the start of the appraisal process. Based on the employee's work and performance, the line manager can identify training needs and initiatives to help the employee improve their competencies. Equally, the manager may wish to set new goals based on past performance data to help the employee progress in the organisation. Finally, the performance assessment can recommend a promotion and/or a pay increase to reward the employee for their growth. Performance appraisal systems should also be two-way so that employees can provide feedback on their manager and employer. This will ensure that the employee's voice is heard and the employer can create an environment which sets the employee up for success.

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What are the benefits of conducting an employee performance appraisal?

Performance management is critical for employee development and growth which will in turn make your business successful. Employees who know where they are going and how to get there are more likely to enjoy their work and reach their individual performance goals. When appraising employees, it is also important to recognise good performance and reward employees with a promotion, additional perks and/or a salary increase. This will help your business retain talent and prevent them from moving to competitors offering a better package for their skills and competencies.


Appraisals are an integral part of the performance management process and employers have a duty to conduct appraisals fairly and in good faith. Appraisals are not a tool to get rid of staff, but should focus on finding out what potential employees can do as well as highlighting their shortcomings. An effective management approach combined with regular and detailed employee appraisals can help an employee grow in their job. This in turn will help your organisation retain and attract talent. Finally, because of the benefits outlined above, no organisation is too small to conduct employee appraisals including startups and small businesses. To provide a good experience to your employees from the get go, ensure your employment contracts are fair and written in plain English. Using a contract management platform like Legislate allows you to offer a professional and seamless contracting experience to your employees whilst allowing you to use the data from your employment contracts to make better business decisions. To create an account now, sign up and read a tutorial.

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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.

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