Date: 12/07/2017 | By: Sara Marrett

When you review employee performance using appraisals, it can be a minefield if you don’t know what steps to follow.

One of the most important things to remember is that a performance appraisal is not just a tick box exercise. If appraisals are done well, they can be motivating for the employee.

An appraisal can include setting goals and targets, so that staff know what is expected of them, and it’s easy to assess their progress at regular intervals.

BizSmart Select Member Sara Marrett of The HR Department explains appraisals clearly and simply in her webinar.

 Click here to listen to his webinar or read on


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With details on exactly what should and shouldn’t be included in an appraisal, Sara’s run through will help you develop your appraisals so that they become a key part of staff development and business development.

In brief, a performance appraisal is a summary of a person’s work and performance over a given period. It leads to setting aims and objectives for the next period.

The normal time periods involved are six or 12 months. Twelve months is the longest you should leave it between appraisals, and six months is the ideal, although these appraisals could be slightly shorter than the annual ones.

By conducting appraisals more regularly, they’re more likely to stay alive in the mind of your employee. This means they’re more likely to take action to hit their goals, rather than just leaving their appraisal document hidden away in a desk drawer.


What not to include in an appraisal


An appraisal should never be used to reprimand an employee for poor performance that has happened months previously. Individual issues and ongoing performance issues need to be dealt with as soon as you become aware of them, rather than saved up for the appraisal.


Your appraisal ticklist


There are a number of things that are vital for an appraisal:


  • Plan in advance
  • Ensure each party knows the purpose of the meeting
  • Ensure each party can prepare in advance
  • Private uninterrupted area
  • Summary of performance in given period
  • Review of existing goals/targets and setting of goals/targets for future


Linking appraisals to performance-related pay or monetary awards


There is no fixed right or wrong when it comes to linking appraisals to pay awards – it’s simply a decision for you as an organisation.


There are some downsides to performance-related pay awards:

  • Staff may only do just enough to get the increase
  • Objectives have to be carefully designed to be sure they’re achievable
  • This can become emotive or be a demotivator
  • You need to be sure you have the budget to deliver what you’ve agreed


On the positive side:

  • Employees get to see the results of their hard work
  • Your staff are sharing in your company’s success
  • Staff can become more involved and engaged in their work
  • Money can be a good motivator.


To find out more about how to start and end your meeting, plus details on giving constructive feedback, you can listen to Sara’s webinar here.


BizSmart aims to help SME and micro-business owners scale their businesses and create value through sound practical business support. We aim to give you insight and clarity and fire up your determination to succeed. You can access blogs like this and more besides through our free SmartRoom service here.