Today’s tip in the series on Appraisals focuses on preparation. Like most things, “fail to prepare and you will prepare to fail” to take an old adage. As I’ve already suggested in a previous tip it’s a great idea to get feedback from peers, senior stakeholders and other team members to ensure that you have a rounded view of someone’s successes and issues. However preparation goes further than just getting some feedback. Below I will outline some key ways to prepare so that the appraisal is a constructive and rewarding process for both you and your team.
Schedule at least two preparation sessions prior to the appraisal so that you can develop the ideas and themes and to collate the feedback you have received. This will allow you time to consider and re-assess your approach and also give you the confidence to enter the appraisal fully prepared.
I like to think about the questions you want to ask your team member in advance. Remember that you are trying to start a conversation so open ended questions will work best. Some examples might be:
- How do you feel the last six months have gone?
- What are your biggest strengths?
- What are your biggest areas of improvement?
- Where have been the challenges?
Next, look at the themes from the feedback, are there any recurring themes or issues? Think about how to address these / work them into the conversation.
Think about the language you want to use, make some notes so that even if you’re dealing with a tricky area you address these in a matter of fact way that doesn’t leave your team member feeling ambushed.
And remember that the appraisal is partly to analyse how things have worked in the past but it’s also about setting the agenda for the next six months. So a key output from any appraisal should be a set of KPI’s or Objectives. I will cover this area in a future tip.