5 Ways To Prepare For A Tricky Appraisal

Ways To Prepare For A Tricky AppraisalAlthough appraisals can be motivating and empowering when you meet with certain employees, that’s not always the case.

When you have a team member who has been underperforming, the meeting is likely not going to be pleasant for you or the individual.

Some appraisals are trickier than others, and deserve preparation to handle them in the most professional and effective way.

1) Start with the Positive

Even if you are very upset with your subordinate, it is important to start the appraisal off on a good note and say something positive.

Comments such as these can help the employee accept the following negative feedback and feel as if you are not picking on them:

  • I appreciate your timeliness at work daily.
  • I noticed how you stepped up and helped our new employee during their onboarding process.
  • I appreciate your cheery demenour in the office.  

2) Ask the Employee for Their Self-Evaluation

The truth is that a lot of the time, employees are aware when they are underperforming.

It may be a good idea to start the meeting by asking the individual how they feel they have done in the last year.

You may be surprised to hear that they know they are not working to their full abilities.

This will save you from giving out the negative feedback yourself, and instead focus on solutions to help the person improve.

3) Focus on Objectivity Rather than Subjectivity

It is vital to present facts of what has happened that requires improvement rather than your subjective opinion.

Here are some common statements from managers that can be improved during appraisals:

  • Your productivity is down. Better version: You have been handling only 30 client requests per month rather than 40, which was your average for the last 18 months.
  • You don’t seem happy. Better version: You stopped having lunch with your colleagues and have not attended any corporate events.
  • You have a bad attitude. Better version: You have gotten into verbal arguments with three coworkers in the last four months, and I received two complaints about your communication tactics with others.

4) Stay Calm

It is not uncommon for employees to get upset when they hear less than stellar comments about their performance or behaviour.

However, you, as the manager, must stay calm and remain professional regardless of the words or actions of the other party.

Take deep breaths and be prepared to call the meeting off and regroup at a later time if you feel the employee is not able to collect themselves to have a productive conversation.

5) Call in the Experts

It may be advantageous to ask your HR representative, union member or a consultant to be present for the meeting if you feel it can turn sideways.

They know the law and the policies, and can help you formulate the discussion in a more positive way.

Our appraisal skills training courses can help you to run effective appraisal meetings. Get them wrong and your people can leave very demotivated and they can do more harm than good. Run an effective appraisal and it can be the making of someone.

Thanks again

Mark Williams

Senior Management Trainer and Consultant

MTD Training   | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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