Usually a staff appraisal is carried out by a line manager as opposed to someone from Human Resources, so line managers need to be aware of the role of a staff appraisal and how it can be a very effective tool in terms of performance management.

The appraisal is not just about evaluating performance, but it is about ensuring that the employee can be encouraged to develop, grow and also is a chance for the employee to ask for any training, support or raise any important issue with their line manager.

So what elements are vital if a staff appraisal is to be any good? The following are 12 essential topics to include in a staff appraisal to ensure that it is as productive and constructive as it can be:

Performance Measurement Of Goals Set Down In Last Appraisal: The employee’s performance needs to be assessed against agreed targets and goals. There is no room for subjectivity here, for the appraisal to be successful it needs to have clear and objective methods of assessing performance, that are clearly understood by the employee.

Feedback from Manager: The employee needs to have feedback from the manager about their performance and how they are progressing within the company.

Achievements: Asking an employee about any achievements that they have made since their last appraisal can help the manager gain an understanding of what brings satisfaction to the employee. Sometimes the achievements listed can be quite surprising!

Constraints On Performance: This section looks at instances where performance may have been adversely affected by staff shortages or lack of resources etc.

Feedback from Employee: The employee needs to have the opportunity to feedback to their line manager about how they think their performance has been, how they are progressing and what may help them to develop professionally or become more competent.

Setting Future Goals and Objectives: These need to be discussed and then set down, so that when the next appraisal is carried out, there is a clear set of objectives to enable assessment of performance i.e. to what extent have these objectives been met.

Training Undertaken Section: The employee and manager should discuss any training that the employee has undertaken and whether or not the employee found it useful.

Training Required: Training needs should be discussed in the sense of making sure that the employee has all the training required to help them do their job more effectively and the manager should also indicate any training that they think may help an employee in their role.

Future Plans For Development: Asking employees about their own plans for development and progression is a useful way of learning about their own plans for self development and about their commitment to the company.

Areas Of Concern: This is a 2-way section, where the manager can raise any concerns that he may have about the employee that may not be strictly related to their performance. It also allows the employee to raise any concerns that they may have about Health and Safety or any other legislation.

Any Other Comments: A good appraisal will have a section in which topics that may be raised but do not fit easily into any other section can be accommodated.

Agreement: Finally there needs to be a section whereby both parties, namely the line manager and the employee sign their agreement to the appraisal and what has been written down. This ensures that the employee and the line manager are both happy with everything that has been agreed and there is little potential for future disagreement about what happened in the appraisal. It is also important that in addition to both parties signing the appraisal, they also date it.

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