Preparation the Key to Open and Honest Performance Appraisals

Because many managers see performance appraisals as boring, and tick-the-box, or a tedious organisational exercise, they spend little to no time preparing for appraisal discussions.

Solid preparation for the performance appraisal discussion is likely to result in greater cooperation from your staff, more open and honest communication and a greater willingness to problem-solve.

iStock Performance Review Manager Preparation the Key to Open and Honest Performance Appraisals

We have found in our research that those managers who value the performance management process and fully prepare themselves and their employees for appraisal discussions are more confident throughout the process, even when dealing with challenging employees.

Here are some tips on preparing for useful and engaging performance appraisals

  • Become very familiar with your organisation’s objectives and strategic plan for the coming year.
  • Treat the appraisal as an opportunity to have a meaningful and engaging conversation with your employees.
  • Reflect on key messages that you want to convey in the conversation and the   overall feeling you want to leave with your employees.
  • Review your employee’s role, classification, and expectations for the role.
  • Make sure you have the facts about your employee’s contributions, strengths, and areas for development.
  • Review any informal notes that you may have collected throughout the year i.e. discussions with employees about their performance, observations of the employee, feedback or coaching conversations.
  • Solicit feedback from colleagues who have worked closely with your employee as they are likely to be able to give a broader view of their performance.
  • Look for solid examples where performance standards have been exceeded, where they are satisfactory and where they are unsatisfactory.
  • Be clear on how you evaluate outstanding versus satisfactory performance.
  • Ask yourself if you have had enough coaching conversations throughout the year. If you have not, acknowledge it up front in the review and suggest that you’d like to change it.
  • Refresh your memory about the career development goals of your employee and be prepared to discuss them in the appraisal.
  • Prepare yourself for any problems that may occur during the conversation and think about how you’d like to handle them.

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