Staff appraisals are a mainstay of most businesses. Providing teams with regular feedback has been proven to focus their performance and develop their skillset. Yet many staff feel disheartened by the quality of comments they receive from their employer.

It’s no longer enough to introduce an employee review system and presume the process will work. Your company needs to review input versus output to make sure that appraisals drive results. Otherwise, it’s a drain on people’s time that isn’t delivering much value.

To help you get the most from your workforce, WhosOffice has put together some top tips for improving your staff appraisals:

1. Create a consistent structure

While informal catch ups are a great way to maintain communications with your team, an appraisal should be structured. Going into the meeting with a list of points to cover will maximise your 1:1 time with employees.

Our blog post on how to structure a staff appraisal offers some good tips on what to include. Creating an appraisal template makes it easy to roll-out review documentation across your company, and it also ensures your review process is consistent for all staff members.

2. Gather multi-directional feedback

Often employee review meetings are focussed on comments from line managers. But what about other working relationships?

Gathering multi-directional input – including peers and junior colleagues – creates a rounder overview of people’s performance and skillsets. It also provides an opportunity for team members to raise issues that they may not feel comfortable discussing face-to-face.

Online HR document storage is a useful tool for collating colleague feedback ahead of staff appraisals. It also ensures that comments are stored securely in case they need to be accessed at a later date.

3. Get direct input from the employee being reviewed

Staff appraisals shouldn’t be a one-way conversation, yet many of them are. The most productive sessions give employees the opportunity to analyse their own performance and share their ambitions.

As we mentioned in our blog post on how to improve employee performance and efficiency, the workforce is an employer’s biggest untapped knowledge source. People are much more motivated to work hard if their opinions are heard and their goals supported.

Staff appraisals are an opportune moment to gather valuable staff insight – just make sure you give people clear instructions to ensure they come to their review meeting well prepared.

HR and Document Storage platform available on WhosOffice

4. Set and track performance KPIs

Most employees will leave their appraisal fired up for the future. Yet within minutes they’re back doing their job and the things you discussed are put on the backburner.

Following through on performance discussions is just as important as holding a review in the first place. No team member should leave their appraisal without a set of clear, measurable and achievable goals.

Many companies have found it simpler to set and track employee KPIs through online HR software. Follow-up actions can be assigned to wider team members, and HR or line managers can see whether these have been completed or not.

5. Commit to a regular staff review schedule

Consistency is critical to extracting value from your employee review process. Yet many companies still treat appraisals as an annual tick-the-box exercise when they could be more effective on a bi-annual or even quarterly basis.

Using HR software to schedule formal catch ups at regular intervals will help your business to create a consistent feedback loop. With a digital platform, you can establish these workflows whenever someone joins your company – rather than forcing everyone to follow the same appraisal pattern.

In fact, launching quarterly reviews based on people’s start dates helps to spread the workload for colleagues, managers and direct reports. Rather than having to provide feedback on every single team member within the same week, they can stagger review forms – giving them time and energy to provide more detail on each person’s performance.

Investing in a better appraisal system

When it comes to workplace productivity, happy staff are motivated staff. New research has revealed that more than half of all professionals are most productive when they’re appreciated. Yet over 10 million people in the UK alone feel undervalued at work.

Most team members are doing a great job – they just need to hear it. And employee appraisals are a formal opportunity to acknowledge people’s efforts, boost morale and encourage progress. Just make sure you’re not taking your review scheme for granted.

Regularly evaluating your staff appraisal process will help you to plot people’s development and continually evaluate their progress. And by running your scheme through HR software, you can reduce admin requirements at the same time as improving outputs.

WhosOffice shift planning software includes an online HR and document storage feature to help you collate data, assign tasks and track employee progress.

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