Regular feedback is an essential part of professional development and you should use a standard template when conducting staff appraisals to help to ensure that the process is fair and consistent for all employees.
Broad topics to include in staff appraisals are:
Introduction including the purpose of review and assessment criteria used
Review of employees’ performance
Discussion about goals and objectives
Discussion about concerns
Salary & benefits review
Knowing what to include in your staff appraisals can be tricky, so read on for ideas on how to structure the meeting, what should be included in more details, plus templates that can be used for your next staff review period.
What Are Staff Appraisals
A staff appraisal is a formal meeting between a manager and an employee, which is used to review the employee’s performance over a set period. Appraisals can be conducted annually, semi-annually, or even quarterly, depending on the company’s policy and the documents used during the process can be shared in paper or digital form.
The purpose of a staff appraisal is to provide feedback to the employee on their performance and to identify any areas where they may need improvement. Appraisals are also an opportunity for employees to raise any concerns they may have about their job or working environment.
What Should Be Included in a Staff Appraisal?
When conducting a staff appraisal, there are a few key elements that should always be included:
Appraisals should always start by introducing the purpose of the appraisal and the timeframe that it covers. For example, “This appraisal is for your performance from January 1st to December 31st, 20xx.”
A review of the employee’s performance over the appraisal period. This can be done using a rating system (e.g. 1-5, with 5 being the highest) or simply by discussing specific instances where the employee excelled or could improve. You should try to use specific examples related to the employee such as, ‘the work you did on pulling together the accruals for the year-end accounts was excellent’ rather than, ‘you did a good job during the year-end period’
A discussion of the employee’s goals. This is a good opportunity to check in on whether or not the employee is meeting the goals that were set at the last appraisal or if they need to be revised. It can also be useful to get a better understanding of where the employee sees themselves within the company and establish how you can help them to achieve their goals.
A discussion of training and development needs. This is an opportunity to identify any training courses or other development opportunities that would benefit the employee.
A review of the employee’s salary and benefits. This is typically done at annual appraisals but can be done more frequently if desired.
A discussion of any issues or concerns the employee has. This is an opportunity for the employee to raise any concerns they may have about their job or working environment.
Template For Staff Appraisals
If you’re looking for a template to follow for staff appraisals, the following headings provide a useful aid to ensure you cover the essential areas required to be recorded or addressed during an appraisal:
Name of Employee
Job role and job description: This can be included as a summary, or by inserting a copy of the employee’s full job description into the appraisal forms. The job description is an important part of the appraisal process. It should be used to remind the appraiser of the duties and responsibilities of the role being appraised.
Date of Appraisal: The date the meeting is taking place
Review Period: The period that the review covers. The review period should be clearly stated and will ensure that both the appraiser and the appraisee are aware of when the next appraisal will take place.
Employment Start date: Good to include so managers are reminded how long their staff has been with the company. 3-month reviews will have a different focus than annual reviews.
Overall Performance Rating – Use a scale that provides a simple snapshot of overall performance such as 1 – 5, where 1 represents a poor overall performance and 5 is excellent.
What went well? In this section, identify three to five things that the employee did well during the appraisal period. Be specific and use concrete examples of employee strengths wherever possible.
What could be improved? Similarly, identify three to five areas where the employee could improve their performance. Again, be specific and use concrete examples.
Goals for next review period. Set one or two goals for the employee to focus on in the coming year. Try to make these achievable yet challenging, and relevant to their role and responsibilities. The objectives and targets section of the template should be used to identify the goals that the employee is expected to achieve during the appraisal period.
Training and Development Needs. Identify any training courses or other development opportunities that would benefit the employee. These can be directly related to their current job or something that will help them to build the skills they need to earn a promotion or work in an alternative area that interests them.
Salary and Benefits Review. This is typically done at annual appraisals but can be done more frequently if desired. If a salary review is being conducted, make sure to document the amount of any salary increase and the effective date.
Comments, Issues or Concerns. This is an opportunity for the employee to raise any additional thoughts or concerns they may have about their job or working environment. If any issues are raised, make sure to document them here and agree on a plan to resolve them.
Action Plan. This is a summary of the main points discussed during the appraisal and should be agreed upon by both the manager and the employee. It should include concrete steps that need to be taken to improve performance or achieve goals before the next review date.
These points form the basis of a basic template for conducting staff appraisals and can be adjusted as needed to fit the specific needs of your organisation. If you need help creating a staff appraisal template, there are many resources available online or your human resources department may be able to provide guidance and support.
Appraisal Methods For Job Reviews
The most common methods for conducting job performance appraisals are self-assessments, targets, practical skills, rating scales, peer feedback, and constructive feedback from a supervisor.
The type of appraisal method will depend on the role being carried out but more often and not will include a variety of appraisal methods. This will ensure a fair review, but the most important thing to ensure is that whatever method(s) are used is fair and consistent for all employees.
Self-assessments involve the employee reflecting on their job performance and identifying areas of strengths and areas needing improvement. This method can help give employees a sense of ownership over their performance and development. It is still important to ensure that the criteria being used for the self-assessment are clear and objective though.
Self assessment is generally seen as being more accurate than peer feedback because the employees are more familiar with their work but this appraisal method can also be seen as biased because the employees may not be objective about their performance.
Peer feedback involves employees giving feedback to each other on their job performance. This method can help get different perspectives on an employee’s performance and can help to foster a culture of open communication. It is also useful in large organisations where line managers may not work directly with their appraisee regularly or if they have many reports to assess. However, it is important to ensure that the feedback is given constructively and that employees feel comfortable giving and receiving feedback.
Peer feedback can be useful because it gives employees a chance to give honest feedback to each other but it can also end up being biased because the employees may not be objective about each other’s work, especially if they are friends as well as colleagues.
Targets assess an employee’s ability to meet specific targets or goals and can easily be measured and compared, but they can also be open to interpretation and may not always accurately reflect an employee’s performance. For example, targets may not take into account factors beyond an employee’s control, such as changes in the market or external circumstances. In addition, targets may change from year to year, making it difficult for employees to maintain consistent performance.
Practical skills, on the other hand, tend to be more stable and easier to measure when assessing an employee’s skills and abilities. They provide a more holistic view of an employee’s performance, as they take into account both theoretical and practical knowledge but can often be harder to assess than targets, as they often require a more subjective judgment.
Constructive feedback from a supervisor involves the supervisor giving feedback to the employee on their job performance. This method helps provide specific and detailed feedback on an employee’s performance but again, it is important to ensure that the feedback is given in a way that is respectful and not overly critical. Constructive feedback is generally seen as being more accurate than either self assessment or peer feedback because the managers are more familiar with the work of their employees
All of these appraisal methods have advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to choose the method that will work best for your organization.
Employee’s Performance Appraisal Form Example To Use
ACAS has lots of useful performance review templates to use based on objectives, job type, promotion consideration, and more. They are free to download and use for employers to review and record employees’ performance.
Managing Salary Rises At Appraisals
The topic of salary increases is a complex one and as one of the most common questions asked by employees at their review, employees need to be prepared to answer this question fairly and clearly.
Whilst it would be great to be able to offer employees yearly salary increases in return for their good service, in reality, it’s not as clear cut as this, and several factors need to be considered. Generally speaking, salary increases are not guaranteed, and will depend on company policy, individual performance, and economic conditions.
Some businesses for example operate on very tight profit margins, and may not be able to afford to give salary increases regularly, and in times of economic uncertainty, it can be harder to justify further spending. On the other hand, there are plenty of good reasons to give salary increases during performance reviews including when an employee has taken on additional responsibilities or has been with the company for a significant amount of time.
A salary increase can also help to foster a sense of fair compensation among employees and regular salary increases can help to motivate workers and encourage them to stay with a company for the long term.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to give salary increases at performance reviews should be decided at the organisation level with each decision being based on merit or pre-defined salary scales or objectives needed for employees to achieve a higher salary.
Performance Review Summary
Staff appraisals can be a useful tool to help employers and managers to give clear and concise feedback to their staff whilst allowing staff to share their thoughts on their performance over a certain period too. They can also be used to identify areas where employees need additional training or support and for both sides to share their thoughts and opinions in a structured way too.
The best-recommended template for use with staff appraisals will include the areas of performance to be assessed, from job knowledge and skills to attitude and attendance. There will be room to fill out the form with your observations, targets and ratings, and provide any additional comments in the space provided.
Ultimately, the best type of review is one that takes into account the needs of the specific organisation and employees involved and by carefully selecting the right type of review, businesses can ensure that they are managing appraisals with the most accurate and helpful feedback possible.