Promoting professional development – Performance Appraisals

Performance appraisals can be a great tool to identify, evaluate and develop your employees’ performance and professional capability.

A good, honest performance review adds value for employers, helping individuals contribute towards achieving your business’ goals.

Appraisals are also an opportunity to recognise and validate your employees’ good work while also highlighting areas for improvement, career guidance and development opportunities so they can grow their careers with the business.

Performance Appraisals used to be considered a yearly chore. But new thinking suggests different approaches are often far more successful for both employers and their staff.   

One approach that can show success is having monthly catch-ups on an employee’s progress against a yearly performance plan, so the employer and manager can support the employees’ progress and help them negotiate any challenges they may encounter.

It’s also crucial to consider the level of formality you will apply to your process as it depends on the style, size and complexity of your business.

So what performance appraisals process will best suit your business, and your employees?

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. To ensure the process is beneficial to all, look at what will work best for your business.

Asking the right questions, and providing relevant and useful feedback during the appraisal meeting itself is important.  Having a well developed performance appraisal form will also assist in capturing this information and feedback as well as ensuring all employees are going through the same process with clear expectations and outcomes.

It’s important to consider – 

Will your process be electronic or paper based?  Depending on your number of employees and budget you may like to consider using a variety of human resources systems to automate the process. Alternatively you could use a simple word or excel document or in some cases a paper based version is suitable.

Frequency of formal and informal discussions are helpful in monitoring the progress of individuals towards achieving objectives, personal development plans and attendance at training.

The link between performance outcomes and remuneration. This may vary depending on the range of positions within the organisation. Some employees’ remuneration may be linked to an award or performance-based incentives. There may also be a link with award and recognition programs if your business can to accommodate such initiatives.

Budget allocations for training and development opportunities and how you will identify training needs during performance appraisals.

Personal development plans and career pathways are a great opportunity to keep employees engaged and ultimately with your organisation longer. Consider whether your business might be in a position to consider taking on trainees / apprentices or the progression of staff into management positions.

This leads into leadership development plans for current and future leaders to ensure they are growing to meet the needs of the business, its customers and its employees.

Whatever process you choose, the most important thing is to ask the right questions, provide the right feedback and be consistent.

Or for a performance appraisal process tailored to your business,  contact Small Business Society .


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About Kate Tongue

Kate Tongue is the founding Director of Small Business Society.

She is a qualified and experienced Human Resources professional with more than 10 years of experience across the private and public sectors.

Her particular interest and experience is in managing the employee life cycle, delivering process improvements, and Human Resource strategy.


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