Up Your Own Performance During Employee Appraisals

We recently covered some of the most common performance appraisal mistakes made by managers and companies in general, so what do you do if you see some things you’re doing wrong on the list?

Correct it.

A good system for performance appraisals can improve your workforce’s productivity, morale, engagement and be a pivotal part of a robust talent management strategy. But only if you’re doing them well.

So how do you make that happen?

Consider these tips:

Make Them More Frequent

A once-a-year approach to performance appraisals isn’t necessarily a good idea, but it’s often the most common way things are done.

Instead, consider doing performance appraisals around four times a year. If your managers or HR team doesn’t have the time to dedicate to doing four comprehensive appraisals, instead consider doing three more brief reviews that culminate in the end of the year review.

This is good from a number of standpoints. First, it lets employees and employers see how they’re doing on a regular basis, and it’s also a good way to track changes and progress throughout the year. Additionally, it allows for a more accurate end-of-the-year appraisal because you have more in-depth, written information to base it on so you’re not just relying on what comes to memory around the busy holidays. You can really look back at your notes from throughout the year and provide employees with a much more accurate and robust picture of how they’re performing.

Put in the Time

If you’re simply blowing through a stack of performance appraisals with little thought or care, your employees know it and why should they care what you have to say?

Although it’s time-consuming, it’s important to dedicate some real work to appraisals and that work is likely to pay-off.

We recently wrote about the The Container Store’s CEO who says performance appraisals are vital to how they do business, with managers taking hours to write reviews, and then several more hours to go over them with each employee.

Consider this approach—dedicate at least a couple of hours to each review if possible, and then, take just as much time to sit down with your employees and explain how you came to the conclusions you did.

This is a good way to prevent your employees from feeling blindsided or frustrated, and they’re going to get much more valuable feedback that can actually help them make positive changes.


Don’t Solely Rely on the Formal Appraisal for Feedback

Employees need feedback and while performance appraisals are important, a strong talent management strategy means you’re continuously providing that type of conversation, and not waiting until the end of the year to share all of your thoughts.

If you’re able to give consistent feedback in a variety of formats, there’s likely to be as many huge issues that arise when it’s time to complete performance evaluations.


In our post highlighting common appraisal mistakes, one that made the list was a lack of follow-up. If you want your performance reviews to add value to your organization, they need to be useful.

We mentioned the tendency of these reviews to end up in a file cabinet in HR, but there’s little insight to be gleaned from that. Instead, follow-up at regular intervals after issuing performance reviews and see how employees are progressing, how they’re adhering to the performance review and track these changes in a detailed way.

This is going to be a great indicator of who should be recognized in terms of pay raises and promotions.

If you’re doing quarterly performance reports, it’s even easier to follow-up, because it’s inherently happening thanks to the structure of your appraisal process.

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