WORKPLACE / AUG. 14, 2013
version 2, draft 2

Mistakes to Avoid when Giving an Employee Appraisal

Conducting employee appraisals is part and parcel of being a manager. Your staff will expect to receive an appraisal meeting at least once per year, but more commonly, every 6 months. It is therefore important that you have an employee appraisal system in place to ensure regular feedback and advice is giving to your staff.

Unfortunately, many managers do not know how to give an employee appraisal, and end up making some fundamental errors, which can in some cases leave employees feeling deflated and worried, rather than satisfied.

Here are the top 5 mistakes to avoid when conducting a performance appraisal with your employees.

#1 Waiting an entire year before feedback is given

The appraisal should be to help employees identify their main skills, their weaknesses, and areas of improvement in order to progress within the company. It is pointless to wait 12 months before giving employees any sort of feedback as they may continue to make the same mistakes throughout the year.

#2 Talking about the last month only in a yearly appraisal

If you hold one appraisal per year, then the topics to be discussed in the appraisal should expand across those 12 months, not just the last month or so. If you want to hold yearly reviews, or even every 6 months, it is advisable to take regular notes and provide ongoing feedback to your employees to assist you when it comes to conducting their appraisal.

#3 Criticizing without being constructive

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a manager is to give only negative or critical feedback during a performance appraisal; if their work was so bad – why didn’t you bring up the issues before now? Essentially, the appraisal is an opportunity to reflect over achievements and performance, not to pick out all the bad points. If you need to be critical, be sure to make it constructive, and to relay it in a tone that is helpful rather than patronizing.

#4 Bias appraisals

Whether the employee is one of your ‘favorites’ or a staff member which you cannot stand for some reason, the appraisal itself cannot under any circumstances be biased. Being overly positive or overly negative will only show you to be an unfair and biased manager, and you will not earn the respect of your staff.

#5 Talking too much without being open to listening

A major error made by some managers during an appraisal is to talk the entire time, and not listen to what the employee has to say. The appraisal is a two way meeting, and is essentially an opportunity for the staff member to raise any concerns they may have. Therefore you must allow the employee a chance to speak and give their opinions.

#6 Playing is safe

Oftentimes, managers do not want to have to justify their ratings of each employee’s performance, especially to their own manger or HR department. In cases like this, the manager will give all employees an ‘average’ performance score in order to play it safe and achieve a balance. It is vital that you are honest and give a full and frank review of each employee’s performance.

Avoid the abovementioned ‘fundamental errors’ and you will find yourself capable of holding an effective, useful and informative employee appraisal that both you and your staff can benefit from.

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