8 December, 2022

Are You Conducting Good Performance Development Appraisal Interviews?

Performance appraisal interviews require good social skills, and many managers actually find them awkward and difficult to conduct as they can appear to managers as a source of role conflict.

There are two sides to this uneasiness. On the one hand, mangers may be told that they are to use the discussion to support subordinates in personal development, and identifying how the business can help them improve their own performance. On the other hand, they are expected to be a judge that the appraisal is directly linked to pay and identify and convey to the individual rewards or perceived shortcomings in their performance.

This blog article will present suggestions for the conduct of the form of appraisal interview where this is part of a member of staff’s development which is focussed on enhancing the performance of an individual and hence the performance of the business.

Typically the intention is that the interviewer should:

  • Let the employee know where they stand
  • Discuss the employee’s job performance
  • Agree action to improve and develop the performance of the employee

And to that end, the interview might cover the following aspects:

  • A review of the key elements of the job role
  • Review of what has happened against objectives and actions agreed at the previous meeting
  • Discussion and agreement of objectives and actions for the next period, usually 6 months hence
  • Discussion of individual development objectives and aspirations, and formulation of a personal development plan
  • General discussion of any other matters relevant to the individual’s performance
  • An agreement on action plans with timing

It should be noted even though there have been many arguments against this, that what is expected from this outline is that it can be at appropriate at all levels in the business, because the appraisal is very firmly focused on the individual.

Finally, there are a number of factors that should help ensure that the performance development review meeting is constructive:

  • Arrange the seating so it’s seen as a joint effort such as a round table as opposed to a desk forming a barrier in-between
  • Encourage those being reviewed to do most of the talking
  • Listen actively to what they day
  • Communicate understanding by summarising back to them their main points
  • Allow scope for reflection and analysis
  • Analyse performance, not personality. In other words, what people have done and what they have to do, rather than who they are
  • Review the whole period, not just recent or isolated incidents
  • Adopt a ‘no surprises’ approach which means that performance problems should be identified and dealt with as they occur
  • Recognise achievements and reinforce strengths
  • Focus on areas for positive improvements, not weaknesses
  • End the meeting positively
  • Ensure there are listed agreed actions with specific dates for completion

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