Appraising your employees has many benefits. Appraisals help to develop your staff, improve your company's performance and help you plan better. They help identify training needs and can form the basis for pay reviews. They also record progression, and can be helpful for career and succession planning, for individual staff members, core roles and the company in general.

Many companies choose to appraise staff once a year although it can be beneficial to hold a shorter appraisal in a 10/10 format more frequently. In the 10/10 format, the manager has 10 minutes to discuss performance with the employee, then the employee has 10 minutes to discuss any concerns with the manager. 10/10 style appraisals are generally less formal although notes should be kept and mailed out to the employee in the same way as for full appraisals.

Returning to full appraisals, each staff member is usually appraised by their direct manager. Usually, directors are appraised by the CEO, who is appraised by the chairman or company owners. These appraisals have the power to motivate and encourage the right attitude and behaviour development, aligning individuals with the Company's overall aims and objectives as well as building a strong relationship between staff and management.

The following set of appraisal questions have been used many times, with a good response. Employees are given the questions in advance and don't have to answer every single one - they work like prompts.

Appraisal questions for employees:

  • What do you like/dislike most about your job right now?
  • Is anyone or anything making your life at work difficult? How can this be resolved?
  • Do you feel there's anything you're struggling with that you could train on?
  • Is there any way you want to expand your range of skills that could benefit the department/company?
  • Is there anyone in the department/company who you feel you could help perform better? (yes that includes me!)
  • What motivates you most?
  • What demotivates you most?
  • What have you been doing really well lately?
  • What do you think you need to work on most?
  • When did you last offer at work constructive critisism? Do you offer it enough?
  • Am I giving you enough support or do you need more? If so how can I offer more?
  • What can I do to improve as a manager?
  • What can we do to improve as a company?
  • Is there anything you raised at your previous appraisal that you feel has not been adequately dealt with?

A week before the appraisal, the employee's manager also gets an email prompting them to go over another set of questions. These help them plan for the appraisal.

Appraisal questions for line managers:

  • What has [employee name] been doing really well lately? (name specific projects, achievements, personal and professional)
  • What do you think [employee name] needs to work on most?
  • Do you feel there's anything [employee name] is struggling with that he could train on?
  • Is there any way [employee name] could expand his range of skills that could benefit the department/company?
  • What feedback do you have on what was discussed at [employee name]'s last appraisal? Has all agreed action been taken?

The appraisal then takes place and the manager goes over both the employee's concerns and their own feedback. A plan of action is agreed. The manager makes notes and mails these to the employee who has a record of the action plan.

It is essential that the employee receives any support they need to effectively carry out the plan of action. If for example they are struggling with some aspect of their work, the manager needs to follow this up with training and evaluation to ensure that improvements are made. It is no good just recording that an employee feels they are weak in a particular area that is vital to their job – it is the manager's responsibility to ensure they are supported in developing in this area.

Author's Bio: 

Jen Wiss is a CFILEx (Chartered Legal Executive) and Business and Marketing Consultant. She contributes to a number of publications both on and offline, and specialises in digital marketing and education. Her website Essay UK provides free writing advice on everything from essays and dissertations to professional reports and research proposals.