I am astonished at how may SMEs have no formal staff appraisal system such that management and staff are surprised when a performance or behaviour problem escalates to the point when it needs to be dealt with.
Very few managers make notes about their staff and information is therefore lacking when it is needed as the basis of a discussion. All that is needed is a simple form to record the details.
When reviewing such things as performance, timekeeping and absences from work and the reasons, holiday periods taken or training needs and employee ambitions there needs to be some written record on which further discussion and action can be based.
Most crucially employees want to know where they stand, what managers think about them and their prospects for a future in the business. They want to feel as though the company is generally interested in them.
There are many ways of setting up a meaningful appraisal system, and that will be the subject of a future blog.
But there is no doubt that appraisals should be done at least once a year for the benefit of both the staff and for planning the future of the business. And they need to be based on facts that are captured during the period since the last appraisal.