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Business Development & Marketing General Turnaround

What are the basics of a fair and useful appraisal system?

Very few people have been taught how to deal with or manage staff so it is not only staff on the receiving end who are terrified of appraisals, they can also be an ordeal for the managers who have to conduct them.
But effective communication and staff management are skills that can make all the difference to the growth potential of a small business.
In our view a properly constructed staff appraisal system is an essential tool for both staff and for business growth.
So what are the key elements?
When setting up an appraisal system there are a number of things to consider.
Most importantly, what is the required outcome: staff motivation? Setting goals? Staff development? Identifying training needs and skills gaps? Planning the development of the business? An opportunity for staff to give feedback? An opportunity for management to give feedback?
Identifying the goals of an appraisal will help to set it up in the right way to meet them and may also identify who should carry them out and how frequently.
But the basics of any appraisal system are that the outcome for all involved should be a positive experience and not an intimidating one that causes fear for all concerned.
And finally, appraisal ought to be carried out by line managers as it is a matter of leadership. It is not an HR function although HR may be useful for advice on how to conduct the interview and support with technical matters.

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Business Development & Marketing Finance General Turnaround

Does your business have an appraisal system?

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.