Employee Appraisals or Staff Performance reviews?

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Annual Appraisals are being conducted less and less in small to medium-sized businesses.  Instead, companies are choosing to have an ongoing employee performance review.

The common question HR experts get faced with is, “Do I have to do a staff appraisal?” usually asked by frustrated employers. Those in the HR industry tend to believe that an employee performance appraisal either carries no merit or offers no progressive outcome – in the case of most employers, an employee performance appraisal can seem to be a meaningless exercise.

Unfortunately, despite this way of thinking, an adequately conducted employee performance evaluation can increase employee’s job performance and even boost overall office morale. All that is required is a commitment from the appraiser and a strict process to ensure results and future performance goals for employees.

Are you legally required to conduct a staff performance appraisal?

No, you are not legally required to do a staff performance appraisal for your employees. However, suppose you were to dismiss a member of your staff in the future for poor performance. In that case, you’ll find it difficult without previously setting performance goals for employees and having set performance goals for employees. It is quite simply because there will be no documentation of the issues that the employee has caused.

Employees may be unaware of their mistakes and shortcomings, and regular staff appraisals and reviews may help them progress and address your concerns. Also, should your company find itself in the unfortunate position of making redundancies, having employee performance feedback scores may highlight staff members you can afford to lose.

Employers’ most significant issue is that many managers will avoid a difficult conversation that may arise during a staff performance review. If the employee argues that they are getting scored unfairly, those conducting the appraisal must explain that they have scored the employee honestly and justify their findings professionally. If not, the employee performance assessment will become meaningless, and there will be no beneficial discussion with all employees receiving similar scores.

Should you conduct an annual employee appraisal or an ongoing staff performance review?

An annual employee appraisal arguably gives the impression of a box-ticking exercise for HR. The discussions that took place in the past may have been forgotten, and the business could have possibly grown in a way that the original feedback given 12 months prior is no longer relevant. Employees and employers are more likely to benefit from the ongoing staff performance review approach that creates a structure for your staff and better monitors their progress.

Employee Appraisal and Employee Performance Review Advice

Managers aren’t necessarily familiar with the objectives of performance appraisal and employee performance assessment. Both parties must know from the start; what they are doing, why they are doing it and how they will achieve the desired outcome (both employee and manager are aware of any positives and negatives related to that staff member’s employment). Training is sometimes essential before any staff performance evaluation in helping to achieve these goals.

Preparation is vital with a staff appraisal review, ensuring that the employee completes a self-assessment of where they believe they are. The manager should complete a pre-appraisal form. It will allow both the positives and negatives to be core to the conversation during a performance appraisal and similarly provide a basic structure to the process.

Moreover, targets are an essential part of the employee appraisal process; knowing an employee has met their target and how they achieved it demonstrates progress on behalf of the employee and recognition from the employer/manager. It is also important to note the skills used to meet their targets and how they can improve their future performance.

You must allocate time during an employee performance review for the employee to have their say. It allows for more honest discussion and productive conversation.

Following Up with a Regular Employee Performance Review Is Better Than The Dated Performance Appraisal System

The regular employee performance review format is more useful here than the annual reviews. After each ‘mini’ appraisal, you should agree on some objectives (no more than five), and instead of filing the report away for a further 12 months, monitor the progress of these objectives throughout the year.

Employee performance appraisal FAQs

How often should I be doing an employee appraisal?

It was common for employers to do an annual employee appraisal. These days most companies appear to be a staff appraisal every 3-6 months. You may feel that this seems quite often, but it does have benefits to both the employee as well as the employer.

Giving employee performance feedback can help keep them both focused and motivated, and valued within the company. From an employer’s perspective, it allows you to set performance goals for employees, which, if you ever need to make redundancies, can be used in deciding who you dismiss.

Am I required by law to do staff appraisals and reviews?

Employers are not required to conduct staff appraisals and reviews, although they can benefit both parties. Good communication between management and employees helps focus on work objectives and can increase productivity in the workforce. Giving employee performance feedback may provide the incentive to give more attention to their responsibilities if they know they will have a regular performance appraisal.

Who needs to conduct a staff performance evaluation?

A staff performance evaluation needs to be performed by someone who understands the specifics of the employee’s job. In many cases, a line manager would carry out an employee performance evaluation as they would have that knowledge. A staff appraisal performed by a management member who does not know the specifics of the job or the individual employee doesn’t carry much weight. It would likely be demotivating for the staff.

What can I do if my employee refuses their staff performance appraisal?

An employee could be unhappy to undergo a staff performance appraisal for several reasons. A crucial aspect of this is the employees need to see that any performance appraisal system will benefit them as well as the company. If a staff member feels the entire evaluation process is negative towards them, and they get no constructive feedback, they may see no positive outcome from the review. You must have good communication skills andd an employee performance assessment should allow the employee to speak and give their thoughts and feelings on how they feel they are performing in the workplace. If an employee flatly refuses to participate in a staff appraisal, maybe having a meeting with them and an unbiased member of HR could help resolve why they are uncomfortable or unwilling to participate.