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Appraisal: What's the point?

Appraisal: What's the point?

10th October 2013

Are you a glass half full, or glass half empty kind of person?  Appraisal, to me, is the glass half full approach to the future, especially if well prepared for.  But recently, I've come across many staff who say they can't see the point of appraisal: if they have not done something well, they are sure to have been told; and if they have done something well, they take it in their stride.  After all 'that's just my job'.

But all of this - as accepted as it might be to some - is to miss the point of appraisal:  it should be a quick, formal, look back over the past year and an indepth focus and discussion on the year ahead.  

Those whose managers use the appraisal meeting to correct inadequate performance or behaviour have also missed the point: appraisal once a year is no substitute for effective performance management throughout the year.  And performance management throughout the year leads to a successful appraisal at the end of it.

So to answer my initial question, the point of an appraisal is to:

* confirm performance standards throughout the previous year (performance management summary);
* redirect or improve performance to meet new or changing standards for the role (continuing growth);
* develop an individual's capabilities for the next year, related to new team or business strategies (growing staff for the benefit of the business);
* identify new or additional responsibilities - either within or outside the current role - to provide interest and challenge, and so avoid stagnation; and
* encourage self and role development by setting meaningful objectives for the future.

It's not all down to the manager though; it's also the responsibility of the employee.  But again, appraisal is not the end of the cyle where you can file away the papers until next year!  It is an ongoing project.  So build  into your monthly to-do lists (you do have these, don't you?) the key responsibilities and objectives set at the appraisal and ensure you seek opportunities to achieve them. If you're having difficulty or no opportunities to do so, ask for a mid-term review with your manager either to reassess the value of the original objectives or get their support in creating a plan to achieve them.  In the meantime, keep making a note of what you do, how you do it, the benefits, changes and rewards of doing it.  

And when your next appraisal comes round?   Make sure you use all the information and evidence you have collected.  Don't hide your light under a bushel; take charge of your future.  Because as I have said before, if you aren't in control of your future, someone else is.

Don't forget to leave a comment below: what do you think about appraisals?  Vital or a waste of time? 

And if you would like more information on appraisals, processes, performance standards and courses we can deliver for you, please contact us.   

Have a great weekend when it comes.

Des Whitehorn


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