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Conducting Effective Appraisal Meetings - A Guide For Managers

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How many of us hold effective appraisal meetings? All too often, appraisals are not conducted in the right way, rendering them less effective and reducing their impact on the business. Effective appraisal meeting skills can be improved if we follow some basic steps.

We are about to provide you with a guide to show you how to conduct effective appraisals, whilst avoiding common pitfalls and as a result, improving employee performance to successfully achieve company objectives.

This guide will enable you to:
- Understand the purpose and importance of effective appraisals
- Understand the Pitfalls that can arise when conducting appraisal meetings
- Understand the importance of self-appraisal
- Know the key steps involved in planning for the self-appraisal
- Be able to use the STAR Questioning technique
- Have the ability to conduct effective appraisal meetings

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Conducting Effective Appraisal Meetings - A Guide For Managers

  1. 1. Conducting Effective Appraisal Meetings A Guide For Managers
  2. 2. Conducting Effective Appraisal Meetings Slide 1. Introduction A) What is an appraisal B) The importance of appraisals C) How do you conduct an effective appraisal? 4 5 2 Benefits of conducting effective appraisals 6 3. Performance Management Cycle 7 4. The Importance Of Self-Appraisal 9 5. The Art Of Questioning A) Quality Questions B) STAR Technique 19 6. Common pitfalls and overcoming them A) Pitfalls and solutions B) What are SMART objectives? 21 22 7. How To Conduct Effective Appraisal Meetings A) Appraisal Process B) Important points for Appraisers to consider when conducting an appraisal meeting 24 25 8. Transferring To The Workplace – Your Action Plan 28 Contents
  3. 3. For more professional support on conducting appraisals and to find out how YOU can have access to our dedicated HR Directors with no fixed costs, please visit our website: www.connor.co.uk or call us on 01491414010 Conducting Effective Appraisal Meetings – A Guide For Managers
  4. 4. Conducting Effective Appraisal Meetings 1). Introduction A). What is an appraisal? An appraisal is the name given to the meeting conducted between a manager and an employee, where the purpose is to give the Appraisee the opportunity to discuss and reflect on their work performance as well as learning needs, in order to improve their performance. B). The importance of appraisals We all know that appraisals can be a challenging process for any manager. When conducted successfully, these complex routines are a crucial element in assisting companies with achieving their targets and objectives. An effective appraisal will provide a company with the opportunity to discover hidden talents, as well as the chance to better develop their staff through training and nip any performance concerns in the bud! Equally they enable employees to feel recognised and rewarded for their efforts, boosting company morale. However, it‟s no secret that many managers dislike the process of conducting appraisals and more importantly, many employees do not understand the purpose or value of them. Many will admit that the prospect of the annual performance appraisal comes with an atmosphere of stress and anxiety, fearing performance criticism and whether this will act against their professional development. In truth, appraisals can be a good opportunity for employee recognition and business improvement – if they are done right. But how many of us hold effective appraisal meetings? All too often, appraisals are not conducted in the right way, rendering them less effective and reducing their impact on the business. Effective appraisal meeting skills can be improved if we follow some basic steps.
  5. 5. C). So how do you conduct an effective appraisal? We are about to provide you with a guide to show you how to conduct effective appraisals, whilst avoiding common pitfalls and as a result, improving employee performance to successfully achieve company objectives. This guide will enable you to:  Understand the purpose and importance of effective appraisals  Understand the Pitfalls that can arise when conducting appraisal meetings  Understand the importance of self-appraisal  Know the key steps involved in planning for the self-appraisal  Be able to use the STAR Questioning technique  Have the ability to conduct effective appraisal meetings
  6. 6. 2). Benefits of conducting effective appraisals An appraisal conducted effectively can have a significant impact on the success of the business and can be extremely valuable to the staff management process. They are a key tool in evaluating and planning employee performance and personal development. Appraisals are the opportunity for managers to give positive feedback to employees, encouraging them to improve their daily performance whilst making them aware of the company‟s long term objectives and how they contribute to achieving these. We have captured some of the key benefits effective appraisals can bring to a business:  Links task performance to the business performance  Opportunity to “stretch” and develop people  Opportunity to recognise employees contribution  Improves motivation as showing an interest  Improves communication  Learn from what worked and what didn‟t work – improves future productivity  People know where they stand  Early warning of under-performing issues
  7. 7. 3). Performance Management Cycle The Performance Management Cycle is essential in the creation of a businesses‟ Performance Management Strategy and in learning how to maintain it. It is the system by which we can implement continuing motivation in the workplace. Below is a typical performance management cycle diagram. It contains 4 stages that should be considered when implementing a performance management scheme: 1 2 3 4
  8. 8. The cycle follows the above 4 stages, moving in a clockwise direction - setting objectives, reviewing performance regularly, providing adequate training, support and resources and conducting a performance review (appraisal). Stage 1 – Define and agree on employee objectives. Use the SMART technique to plan clear and measureable goals as explained on slide 22 of this guide. Stage 2 – Review performance regularly through coaching; track, monitor, support and provide feedback on performance. Stage 3 - Provide adequate training and resources to continue to develop employees and improve performance Stage 4 – Conduct an appraisal to review performance and measure if objectives have been achieved NB: Do not forget throughout this cycle, the importance of rewarding where necessary – i.e relating pay to performance, career development and recognising achievements.
  9. 9. 4) The Importance Of Self-Appraisal It‟s important to remember that both parties have the right to contribute. In fact, taking this concept one step forward, the Appraiser should ask themselves the following question: “Who knows their job best, me, or the Appraisee?” The answer is obviously the Appraisee as they know their job better than anybody. Therefore it‟s vital that the Appraisee prepares for this meeting, documenting how well their task objectives have been met. This empowers the Appraisee to think of this performance review meeting as one in which they take the lead on and communicate to the appraiser their successes. There are four key actions that the Appraisee needs to be aware of in order to plan for their performance appraisal meeting. They should consider: Did their Objective(s) get re-prioritised? This is important as this changes which objectives the Appraisee needed to focus upon and which objectives needed to be abandoned or delayed.
  10. 10. Checking their task outcomes - in terms of success criteria, i.e. quantity, quality, time and cost. These objective criteria demonstrate how the Appraisee can measure the success of their work. This avoids subjectivity. All well written Objectives contain measurements. They can then review the evidence. Review the value of any training/development - Has this helped them complete their objectives? The Appraisee may have attended a valuable training course. What did they learn and how did they apply this learning on the Objective(s). Discuss their career development aspirations - Performance Review appraisal meetings gives the Appraisee the platform to discuss where they wish to take their career. Delivering high performance against agreed Objectives is naturally followed by what else they can do for the Company. Have a form template on us – You can ensure your employees are prepared thoroughly for their appraisal.
  11. 11. [Name of Company] APPRAISALS SELF-ASSESSMENT FORM The purpose of the Appraisal meeting is to enable you and your Manager to review your job performance, look at previous objectives and whether they have been achieved, agree on future objectives and identify your training and development needs, in line with the plans of the xxx. In order to prepare for the Appraisal meeting, please complete this Self-Assessment Form prior to the Appraisal meeting, and then bring it with you. It will form part of your discussions with your Manager and reference will be made to this Self-Assessment Form during your meeting. Please also bring with you to the meeting your current Job Description. (If you need a copy, please obtain one from the HR Officer). Please feel free to bring any further information you think is appropriate to the Appraisal meeting relating to any issues you would like to discuss. Please note the appraisal is confidential between you, your Manager and Human Resources. Any documents you attach will not be seen by anyone else without your agreement. (After the appraisal, a copy of all the completed forms and related information will be forwarded to the HR Officer for the file.) Name: ………………………………… Position: ………………………………………….... Name of Appraiser: ………………………………………………………………………………….. Date/Time of Appraisal: ………….………………………………………………………………….
  12. 12. PART A – PERFORMANCE AND COMPETENCIES Please indicate below how you would rate yourself against the headings stated and include comments where appropriate. NB: Please be honest– it will help to set future tasks and objectives to encourage improvement Outstanding Exceeds expectations Meets expectations Area for development Work rate / effort Work quality Job knowledge Work planning/organisation Supervision of direct reports Meeting deadlines Team work Communication skills Customer Service skills IT Skills Using initiative Management of pressure Problem Solving Accountability Reliability Attitude Attendance Time Keeping Safe working practices Other (specific to role) Rating standards: Area for development performance does not consistently meet the standard required for the position; significant development is needed to improve Meets expectations performance consistently meets the standard required for the position Exceeds expectations performance is consistently above the standard required for the position Outstanding performance is consistently superior to standards required for the position
  13. 13. PART B – JOB DESCRIPTON/JOB ROLE 1. With reference to your Job Description, do you understand all the requirements of your position? (If No, please detail herewith any areas you wish to discuss) 2. With reference to your Job Description, do you feel there are any duties that are not being carried out? (If so, please comment on why and what action is needed to achieve these requirements.)
  14. 14. 3. Have you had much interaction with other xxx over the last 12 months? (If so, please comment) 4. Would you like to have more interaction with other xxx and, if so, how would you see us facilitating this?
  15. 15. PART C – OBJECTIVES 1. What objectives do you feel you have achieved over the last 12 months? 2. Where objectives have not been achieved, what has prevented you from achieving them?
  16. 16. 3. What objectives do you think need to be set for the next 12 month review period? 4. What action is needed (if any) for you to achieve these objectives? (Include details of further instruction or training if appropriate.)
  17. 17. PART D – GENERAL COMMENTS 1. What skills have you improved or learned in the appraisal period? 2. Any comments you wish to make regarding future aspirations and/or expectations regarding your career? 3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What kind of work would you like to be doing?
  18. 18. 4. Describe/give examples when you have demonstrated any of the values: (Quality, Integrity, Authority, Customer Focus, Empowerment, Sustainability, Entrepreneurship, Creativity, Accountability) 5. Any other comments you wish to make or discuss at your Appraisal meeting? Signed: ……………………………………………………… Dated: ……………………… Name: ………………………………………………………
  19. 19. 5) The Art Of Questioning A) Quality Questions The most important skill demonstrated by the Appraiser is the art of asking quality questions. This is imperative if the Appraiser is to succeed in their role of facilitator. Rudyard Kipling summarised this very aptly:- “I keep six honest serving men, they taught me all I knew, their names are “What” and “Why” and “When and “How” and “Where” and “Who.” Rudyard Kipling B) STAR Questioning Technique One of the most appropriate open questioning techniques is that based on behavioural questioning, i.e., the STAR technique S – SITUATION T – TASK A – ACTION R – RESULT
  20. 20. When discussing the task accomplishment with the Appraisee, the same technique is used to elicit information - just like interviewing external candidates for selection purposes. Here’s an example of what STAR questions look like - “Appraiser – „‟Keith, can you describe to me a situation you have encountered where a process has had to be reviewed and improved? What was the business significance of tackling this objective? (SITUATION) "Describe to me the task objective that was agreed to improve this process." (TASK) “What did you do to resolve the problem?" (ACTION) “What was the final outcome?" (RESULT)
  21. 21. 6) Common Pitfalls And Overcoming Them A). Pitfalls and solutions There are many pitfalls managers can stumble into when conducting performance appraisals - here are some of the most common, along with simple solutions you can try in order to overcome these: Pitfall: Surprises‟ being raised in the meeting In many instances, it is highly likely that there were no regular communications between the Appraiser and the Appraisee prior to the meeting. Solution: To combat this issue the answer is to have more regular reviews so that for this performance meeting, both parties are able to provide evidence that they can agree upon. Pitfall: One or both parties hasn‟t prepared for the meeting At a Performance Appraisal Meeting it‟s vital that the Appraisee leads the meeting and as such, it‟s important they prepare for this meeting. Equally the Appraiser should be prepared for this meeting – though this is not always the case. Solution: If the Appraisee hasn‟t prepared, ask them why not? Uncover the real reasons for this and discuss these. If the Appraiser hasn‟t prepared sufficiently then, so long as there have been regular progress discussions, the Appraiser should facilitate the meeting, ask questions and listen. Pitfall: Appraiser „tells‟ rather than „joins‟ Catch yourself „telling‟ and not listening? Check this by identifying who is doing most of the talking. If it‟s the Appraiser then this isn‟t right. Solution: The Appraiser should ask more questions. By asking questions the Appraiser will naturally adopt a more consultative approach and the Appraisee is free to lead the meeting. Pitfall: Appraisee is confronted by new evidence at the meeting In some instances the Appraisee is confronted with new information during the meeting that they were not expecting and as a result had not prepared for. Solution: Then the Appraiser should check out the evidence corroborated by third party evidence, wherever possible. If the Appraiser is unsure as to the facts, they should ask for time out to talk to the relevant parties so gather all the information. They should also ask why this information hadn‟t been communicated to them before.
  22. 22. Pitfall: Disagreement on the success of the Objective It may be the case that during the appraisal there is a disagreement on the success of a particular objective. Solution: The Appraiser should go back to the SMART objectives previously set with the Appraisee, with a particular focus on the success criteria originally agreed. (For those who are not familiar with SMART, the use of SMART objectives is covered below). Following this, use evidence to back your view, ask for examples from the person and review the gap. B). What are SMART objectives? Setting objectives is important for any organisation because they clearly focus the overall aims of the business. The clearer and more specific the objectives, the more likely they are to succeed. S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that is used to guide the development of measurable goals. Each objective should be: Specific Specific answers the questions "what is to be done?" "How will you know it is done?" and describes what the end product should look like. When setting your objectives you should answer the 6 „W‟ questions – who, what, where, when, which, why? Measurable Measurable answers the question "how will you know it meets expectations?" and defines the objective using assessable terms (quantity, quality, frequency, costs, deadlines, etc.). Achievable Achievable answers the questions "can the person do it?" "Can the measurable objective be achieved by the person?" "Does he/she have the experience, knowledge or capability of fulfilling the expectation?" Relevant Relevant answers the questions, "should it be done?" "why?" and "what will be the impact?" Time-oriented Time-oriented answers the question, "when will it be done?" It refers to the fact that an objective has end points and check points built into it.
  23. 23. Examples of setting SMART objectives: 1). Non SMART objective: Learn how use the advanced features of PowerPoint Learn, by the end of March 2014, use animation and slide master on the next sales proposal that 100% sales staff agree is more professional than the previous sales proposal. 2). Non SMART objective: Increase the financial results of the department Increase revenues by 100% Quarter on Quarter until July 2015 with operating costs remaining at 2014 levels
  24. 24. 7) How To Conduct Effective Appraisal Meetings A) Appraisal Process  Plan for the Meeting (both of you!) - Both of you bring along the evidence that you will have discussed already. Make sure that you book a quiet room where you will not be disrupted. Mobiles will be switched off.  Set the Scene - Explain the purpose of the meeting and the roles, i.e. Appraiser is the facilitator whereas the Appraisee will be driving the meeting. Explain that there will be no surprises as both of you have been in regular communications about the task in hand and its outcomes.  Encourage the Appraisee to review their performance first - Get the Appraisee to give their views on the task outputs and success criteria met. This will help you shape how you frame your feedback. Listen.  Probe to find out how they have approached tasks/objectives - Ask open questions using the STAR technique. Probe for detailed examples and what happened as a result. If the results weren‟t the best, what was learnt? How could they handle it differently? What support do they need? This provides good data to assess their ongoing future development needs. This is a great opportunity to give recognition for a job well done!  Review the relevance of development/resources provided - The Appraisee might have undergone training/coaching etc as part of their development. Ask how this went? Was it relevant? Did the development give them additional skills to tackle the task in hand? Were the resources given to the Appraisee relevant and appropriate? Did these resources make a key difference to getting the task completed?  Appraisee Summarises - Get the Appraisee to summarise the task outcomes of each Objective versus SMART objectives agreed. Ask the Appraisee to review how these newly learnt skills can assist them in taking on more responsibility and how it may help their career develop within the company. The role of the Appraiser is to check out the accuracy of the Appraisee's summary to make sure everybody is „on the same page‟. It also gives the opportunity for the Appraiser to recognise and congratulate the Appraisee on a job well done!
  25. 25. B) Important points for Appraisers to consider when conducting an appraisal meeting These notes are provided as a reminder about points to consider whilst conducting the appraisal process. Many of the points you will of course already be familiar with, but hopefully will just help as a focus in the preparation and execution of appraisal meetings. Points for Consideration  Celebrate achievements and provide constructive feedback where more needs to be one (identifying why and how);  Discuss good points first and then go on to issues where improvement may be needed;  Ask them which things they are least happy with (ie where objectives not met, difficult to achieve what is required of them, etc);  There is no point in glossing over employees‟ weak points – it is important to encourage employees to discuss their development needs openly and encourage them to suggest ways in which they can improve – try to get employees to suggest their own solutions;  Be wary of scoring too high or too low. One way is to judge an employee against their peers – is their performance stronger or weaker than average? This may help you make your best (and worst) staff stand out from the average majority;  Try not to base your comments on the last few months, which are likely to be foremost in your mind. Whilst mention may be made on recent improvement (or decline), you must give equal weight to the full 12 months;
  26. 26.  As well as task objectives, the staff member may need to focus on competencies (ie behaviours) relating perhaps to customer service, team work, interaction with other departments etc;  Objectives should be about what you are trying to achieve – a link between individual objectives and those of the department and business as a whole.  By jointly agreeing objectives and development needs, staff are contributing to achieving business goals;  By involving the staff member in discussing and setting objectives, it is likely to make the objectives more relevant to them and better understood;  Objectives should be SMART, ie - Specific – what does the employee need to achieve? - Measurable – how will you both know when an objective has been achieved? - Achievable – it needs to be challenging but also achievable - Relevant – do the objectives relate to those of the department/business? - Time – by when do the objectives need to be achieved?  Whilst agreement needs to be reached on objectives, future action/training etc, remember this is your record and opinion. Whilst employees should be asked for their opinions on the feedback you give them, the objective of this is to ensure that they understand your perspective, not to ensure that they agree with it.
  27. 27.  Retirement – whilst we are no longer able to ask people if and when they intend retiring, we can still ask about people‟s aspirations, thoughts for the future and where they see themselves being in 5 years‟ time. As this question is included in every appraisal form, it is perfectly legitimate, so long as everyone is asked the same question;  Remember that „development‟ is not restricted to training courses. Think about coaching, mentoring, holiday job cover, shadowing, distance-learning, e-learning, books, videos, attending meeting, workshops, manual and guides, giving presentations, anything relevant and helpful to help the person develop;  Be brave and seek feedback on yourself from your employee – are there things that you need to improve on (in their view), more you can do to facilitate their role and/or help achieve their objectives or career aspirations?  The important questions the employee wants answered at an appraisal are – „How am I doing?‟ „Are you pleased with my work?‟ „Is there a future for me with this organisation?‟  The new appraisal forms are not set in stone –feedback is welcomed after this year‟s appraisals.  An appraisal can be an extremely valuable tool in motivating employees and helps staff become more engaged with the organisation as a whole and with their own work. They also help in recording discussions, agreed action and objectives (so that you can refer to it later if you need to).  Please do not just see it as a form filling exercise – make the most of it and enjoy it!
  28. 28. 8) Transferring To The Workplace – Your Action Plan We hope you have found this document to be useful, but as you will be aware, the real test is applying what you‟ve learnt back on the job. Thinking about actions now will help build motivation and focus to put them in practice in your role. Below is an action plan for you to complete, which is designed to trigger you to monitor the effectiveness of those actions. From a business perspective it‟s vital that we see results from training. This process will help you get the most from this session and feel motivated to act. When completing your action plan, ask yourself: - What is one thing you will do differently to conduct more effective Appraisal meetings? - What is the NEXT Appraisal meeting opportunity that they are going to apply these new skills on? MY ACTION PLAN Name Date Putting into practice: What were my learning objectives? What did I learn?
  29. 29. How do the learnings relate to my current job? How specifically will I apply these new skills back on-the-job? In what way will these new skills make me better at my job? How will I measure my skill improvements?
  30. 30. Look Out For More From Connor… Founded in 1992 and with offices throughout the UK, Connor has over two decades experience in providing flexible HR support. Companies who have used our service have said the following about Connor: About Connor  That we are PASSIONATE about making a difference  That we are highly personable and accessible  We understand their business drivers so that all the work we deliver is relevant to their business  The service offers great flexibility whether the support be needed at short notice, on site or remotely About Our People All of our HR Directors have the following things in common:  They understand small businesses and what it is like to run a business  They are first and foremost business people who happen to have specialised in HR – No fluff here!  They are “doers” and used to getting their hands dirty  As they are experienced they will have come across most issues before, meaning they can do things quicker, saving you money  They are pragmatic, accountable, responsive and credible
  31. 31. Can we help you? Call Sam Eaton today to find out more! Call Sam: 01491 414 010 Email: sam@connor.co.uk Twitter: https://twitter.com/Connor_HR Website: www.connor.co.uk We also supply our clients with:  Strategic HR Services  Training & Development  Executive Coaching  Professional Outplacement  Management Outplacement  Executive Outplacement  Career Coaching We are not just an HR Services Provider……