5 effective ways you as a manager, can conduct an effective appraisal for your team

Most organizations large and small have a certain protocol for employee performance reviews and appraisals. I’ve been lucky to work at places where I could provide feedback on how the process could be made easier or more effective. But whether you work for an organization which allows flexibility and curation or an organization with a set mandate that you have to fall into, you can take the system you’ve been given to use and turn the performance appraisal process into a positive, rewarding, beneficial process for both yourself and the employees who report to you.

Appraisals/reviews/performance management, whatever they are called, where you work can be stressful and sometimes even controversial. Most people have had a bad experience of appraisals at some point in their life, for a variety of different reasons. And as managers and leaders of our teams we can ensure that we make the process credible for our team members and not merely a tick box we submit to the HR department.

With this in mind I’m sharing here 5 tips that I have found useful in running effective appraisal meetings with my teams – keeping it as short and sweet as possible.

  1. Put a time in your diary and stick to it! – Sounds simple – but it can be common practice to move these meetings around, change times, shorten the meeting etc. Even a super star employee is likely to be nervous about their review meeting so chopping and changing the time of the meeting deters, not helps. Both the manager and team member want to have the best experience possible and this will raise the plausibility of the process.

Adding an extra half hour both before the meeting and after the expected meeting slot, made it more effective for me as a manager. I got the much-needed time to prepare before the meeting with points of discussion and the extra half hour after gave me the additional time to conclude, summarize, make action points and set goals! A bullet journal would work wonders here. Click here to know more on journaling and its many wonders in my other blog!

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare

Remember the time, you went in for your review meeting, and maybe your manager turned up only to have been too busy, to read your comments or they didn’t really come prepared with their thoughts to discuss? Well, let’s not be that manager. Making sure that we have notes to cover all of the points that need to be discussed with the team member makes the meeting effective. This might not be a good time for extempore! Ensuring that we read their comments and can either celebrate, quantify, or find a recourse for them with our own views, sets us up for a collaborative conversation.

It is also essential to go into a review meeting with the right mindset -the additional 30 minutes pre-meeting should help with this. Thinking about how to approach the meeting in the best way for the individual concerned – keeping the conversation growth and improvement focused while keeping the feedback real and actionable.

  1. Treat the meeting and the person with utmost importance

The review meeting must always be a two-way street. Our team members complete us and so it is imperative we treat their opinion as important and listen to their thoughts with attention. Focusing on their positives first along with providing appreciation and recognition of the little things, go a long way in setting the tone of the meeting. This meeting is an opportunity for us to not only evaluate employee performance, but also gauge their potential. Jotting down notes, so that I don’t have to rely on memory has always served me well. Another small quick point to note, is to make eye contact with the team members and ensure we wait for responses. Allowing them enough time to talk and feel heard -unless we feel they’re going off track.

  1. Be constructive – Hopefully you will have had regular feedback conversations throughout the year, so nothing within the review conversation should spring up as a shock. The review is never personal, it is work related from a performance and behavioral standpoint and the intention of feedback is for improvement not placing blame. So, when giving critical feedback, stating it from a growth point of view, substantiating it and providing actionable steps for the team member to progress, will set a positive tone and provide clarity on how to move forward.
  2. Ask for feedback  – Like I said earlier, this is two-way street – this is also a valuable opportunity for feedback on what we could do better as managers. What further support can we give them in their role? What can we do more or less of to enable them to succeed? Letting out team members see that their feedback is essential for our growth and that we lead by example, can go a long way in helping them be better leaders too. While we are shaping careers by mentoring and guiding our teams, feedback can enable us to mold ourselves into better leaders.

And  last but not the least….. 

One major corporate review disaster is to end a meeting by over committing and then under delivering. This plays on credibility and demotivate the team as a whole. So, following up on anything we may have committed to do, and encourage our teams to do the same, creates a culture of growth leading to employee satisfaction and better retention. A win-win for all.