Conducting Staff Appraisals, Particularly for Difficult Staff

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This is one of a series of short blogs in response to questions asked at the seminar on performance management run by TimelessTime at the Let’s Do Business show in Hastings.

First of all we’d recommend that in a small company you organise the appraisal along traditional lines. The are some details about this in our White Paper entitled performance appraisal available at  Large companies have developed very sophisticated approaches to appraisal and we mentioned some of these during the seminar at Let’s Do Business in Hastings. The most famous of these is the 360° appraisal. We consider that this is much too complicated for a small company and is likely to do more harm than good.

Small firms are held together through a trust- based relationship between owner manager and employee and it’s important that the appraisal approach adopted recognises this. We would recommend therefore that the appraisal done centres on goals achieved since last appraisal, goal setting for the coming period and development in competencies needed.

As regards conducting appraisals, you should block three hours in the appraiser’s diary. Most appraisals can be done inside two hours but you should never be in a position where the appraiser calls the meeting to a close because of another appointment. An appraisal is a private meeting and nothing should interrupt the meeting once in progress.

There is no magic to conducting appraisals for difficult staff. Ideally appraisers should be trained. That way they will have had some experience of some of the difficulties. The key thing in appraising difficult staff is preparation. Where the appraisee is sufficiently engaged to rate themselves and to discuss on this basis, all that is needed is the right environment. Where the employee is a reluctant appraisee, the appraiser needs to have walked through the appraisal in their own mind and have all the necessary evidence to hand.

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