Appraisal - what it is and what it is not

Reproduced from our ready-to-deliver Appraisal Skills course

Feel free to circulate as e-learning to your staff.

Questioning the T.E.D. way
  • Management Skills

It’s performance appraisal time. We all know that morale and motivation of employees can be affected by the way their performance review is carried out. A recent survey of 1500 workers said that as a result of a poorly executed appraisal:

  • 25% of workers start looking for new job within 2 weeks
  • 40% began job search within month

Office Angels group

As their M.D. said: “The time spent on the appraisal could mean the difference between motivating their staff or looking for a new candidate”


What is the appraisal for?
The appraisal review is ‘me’ time for the appraisee to discuss anything that affects them and their performance at work. The review of past work record is a detailed summary of what has happened over the appraising period and what it means for the future. So the performance appraisal:

  • Discusses past performance
  • Sets future performance objectives
  • Agrees training needs/ solutions, to fulfil work targets or objectives

However it can incorporate 2 other areas:

  • Career aspirations
  • Other issues/ ideas e.g. personality clashes; how to improve the running of the department

What it should not be??

  • A bureaucratic waste of time
  • An opportunity to record all the mistakes that can be remembered over the past week
  • A great opportunity to get stitched up
  • A trip to the Head Teacher’s office
  • A process in which the individual has not input or control over the output
  • The time to grovel and lick

It is little wonder that if appraisals are communicated poorly in terms of the purpose, and executed without skill, it results in a negative experience. The appraising manager’s attitude is vital. If the manager approaches the process by saying “Come on, I know it’s boring, but Personnel told me to do it. Let’s be quick and get it out of the way”, then it’s little wonder that the attitude rubs off on the appraisee.

By the way, the following comments (allegedly written into past appraisal forms) may not have the motivating effect desired:

"If you gave him a penny for his thoughts you'd get change"

"If he were any more stupid he'd have to be watered twice a week"

"He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room"

"He would argue with a signpost"

"He's been working with glue too much"

"Got a full six-pack but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together"

"I would not allow this employee to breed"

"He would be out of his depth in a car park puddle"

"This person has delusions of adequacy"

"The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead"


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