Published 1 September 10


By establishing clear, defined objectives, workers are able to focus on specific tasks and company goals. Setting performance targets will ensure that your employees will understand what you expect of them. By involving staff in agreeing objectives, managers can ensure staff members are more motivated to meet targets and it may help to identify improved ways to carry out tasks.

Performance appraisals are an important tool for many businesses. They are performed on a regular basis - often annually - where a manager formally reviews an individual worker's performance and compares it to the agreed expectations, responsibilities and roles made the previous year or as part of the employment contract, job description and job specification. This involves an individual meeting between manager and worker, where these issues are discussed.

A structured appraisal system can contribute towards employees feeling that their work is recognised and appreciated. It provides the opportunity to discuss any weaknesses or problems, and to come up with solutions. Any training requirements can be identified, and staff attitudes and relationships between staff and managers can be appraised.

There are four recognised steps in a structured appraisal process:

  1. Setting objectives, by deciding what you expect from staff members and agreeing these objectives with them.
  2. Managing performance, by providing your employees with the tools, resources and training they require to perform efficiently.
  3. Carrying out the appraisal, by monitoring and assessing staff members' performance, discussing those assessments with them and agreeing on future objectives.
  4. Providing rewards and/or remedies, by considering pay awards and/or promotion based on the results of the appraisal and deciding how to deal with poor results.

Appraisals however are often disliked by employees and management alike, as they are regarded as onerous, time-consuming and are critical by definition. In order to improve their popularity and encourage a positive outcome from the appraisal a number of points should be followed:

  • Positive as well as negative issues should be raised.
  • Any criticism made should be constructive.
  • The meeting should be regarded as a two-way discussion.
  • Workers should be given the opportunity to comment on the appraisal, and to appeal against any decisions.

More information on appraisal systems can be found here.