When an Employee Appraisal Goes Wrong

Employee appraisals, or performance reviews as they are otherwise known, are periodical meetings between management and employee to evaluate and discuss the performance of the employee, their progress, strengths and any areas that need improvement. It is also a time for both parties to openly discuss any issues they have regarding the workload, progress or even pay concerns.

It is essential that employee appraisals go well as if they don’t, they may do more harm than good and you could end up with a workforce who are unhappy, unmotivated and worried about their progress.

The key to a successful appraisal is to discuss the right topics, use the correct tone of voice, and stay away from certain phrases and issues.

Here are some examples of phrases, topics and words to avoid when conducting an appraisal…

Topics to avoid

  • Personal issues you may know about the employee
  • Specific times when the employee failed to complete something or performed poorly
  • Talking about times when the employee behaved unprofessionally or got upset at work
  • Focusing on negative work related points

Words and phrases to avoid saying

  • You have poor performance…
  • Management are angry that you…
  • You have failed to deliver…
  • You don’t socialise enough with the office

It is not an ambush opportunity!

It is vital that you do not use the appraisal as a time to ambush to employee with respect to all the issues you have with them or their work. In an appraisal, the employee should not be shocked by the things you say, provided you have given regular feedback throughout the year and in the lead up to the appraisal.

Areas to focus on…

  • Talk about achievements and strengths the employee has
  • Discuss whether more training or support is needed
  • Assess if targets from previous appraisal have been met
  • Determine new deadlines and goals
  • Ask for feedback and allow the employee to talk about things that may be bothering them