What is a performance appraisal?

performance appraisal

A performance appraisal (also known as a performance review) is the process of identifying, evaluating and developing the performance of employees to help achieve the vision and objectives of the business. 

Appraisals also benefit employees in providing feedback on their performance and explores career development opportunities. Employees should be encouraged to give feedback on the general culture of the business and communicate what support they need to set them up for success in their current and future roles.

Who conducts the performance appraisal?

Performance appraisals are usually done by the immediate manager or in conjunction with the HR provider . During the meeting, the assessor typically discusses one or more of the following with the employee:

  • reemphasise the business expectations in performance and standards in behaviour and comparing these with the actual performance 
  • address any underperformance issues and put together an action plan to support and improve performance. As part of this, establish follow-up meetings to ensure the development program is achieving the desired outcomes
  • providing performance feedback — both positive and constructive
  • assess any training opportunities 
  • acknowledge excellent performance by reward and recognition, promotion or a pay rise

How often should you conduct a performance appraisal?

There is no hard or fast rule. We recommend having them done regularly, every 3-6 months, depending on your business needs and objectives. 

It is common for businesses to have it as an annual process, but we’re actually seeing a move away from annual reviews. The main reason is recency bias where the assessor will focus on the events that have occurred in recent months — rather than looking at the performance holistically. 

Most businesses conduct performance reviews every 3-6 months. Regular feedback not only keeps employees’ focused and motivated, but it also ensures feedback is relevant and timely. When issues are raised early on, changes can be made.

Performance appraisal methods

There are many ways you can conduct a performance appraisal. The most common methods are:

A performance checklist

This involves preparing and completing a questionnaire relating to the employee’s performance. Questions usually include the ability of the employee to solve problems, be a self-starter or work as a team.

Self-evaluation

This is where an employee fills out a self-evaluation form reflecting on their current and past performance. By allowing employees to review their own achievements, it provides a two-sided perspective on their performance.

360-performance reviews

We think this is the most comprehensive, fair and holistic performance review process. This review provides individuals with a better understanding of their performance because the respondents give a balanced ‘360 degree’ perspective on the employee’s competencies, helping to reduce biases.

How a 360-degree appraisal works

A 360-degree feedback survey (also known as a self-awareness or competency assessment), is a way of collecting confidential and anonymous feedback about an employee’s strengths and areas of improvement. 

It provides a well-rounded assessment, usually gathering information from multiple people such as managers, colleagues, direct reports (if any), customers and the individual themselves. By taking feedback from a few sources, it helps identify performance gaps in a more balanced way.  

The appraisal is a series of questions, usually on a rating scale and assesses how an employee is performing in areas such as teamwork, leadership, communication and any other job-specific skills. 

There may be a few open-ended questions at the end to allow the person completing the survey to add any further notes or comments on their responses.

Need help with performance appraisals?

Asking the right questions in a 360 feedback questionnaire can help your business provide employees with the feedback they need to set them up for success in your business.

Implementing a 360-degree feedback system is actually very simple, and PositiveHR can help. Get in touch with us to see how.

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