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Performance Appraisals Tips for Employers

You’re giving a performance appraisal. You know the drill.

Drag each of your employees into your office for a one-on-one, hand them an official-looking document, and then start in with the same, tired conversation.

Say some positive things about what the employee is good at, and then some unpleasant things about what they aren’t good at, and end — wearing your most solicitous grin — with some more strokes of their egos.

The result: a mixed message that leaves even your best employees feeling disappointed. But if you take the right approach, appraisals are an excellent opportunity to reinforce solid performers and redirect the poor ones.

Here are my quick tips and advice for employers on giving effective performance appraisals:-

  • Give notice of appraisal discussion – minimum of 1 week.

  • Give appraisal form to employee to complete, with guidelines and ask them to be as detailed as possible.

  • Ask for it to be returned at least 1 day before the appraisal meeting.

  • You need to complete the form and give them copies at least a couple of hours before the appraisal meeting.

  • Make sure you have a few things written down that they are proud of – this will put a positive focus on the meeting

  • Discuss strengths and achievements and ask them how they feel things are going.

  • What are they doing now that does not work?

  • What are they doing that is effective and what actions should they adopt to be more so.

  • Don’t say things like “You need to be more proactive” as this doesn’t mean anything. Say something like “you need to take more initiative in calling potential sales leads”

  • Have an open and honest discussion, and try not to be too negative ie concentrate on the positives and keep the negatives to a minimum

  • Be clear what you expect as far as their goals and targets are for the following year.

  • Listen carefully to what your employee says and keep accurate notes.

  • At the end of the meeting go through what has been discussed so you are both in agreement.

Principles to Remember


  • Make it clear at the beginning of the year how you’ll evaluate your employees with individual performance planning sessions

  • Give your employees a copy of their appraisal before the meeting so they may have their initial emotional response in private

  • Deliver a positive message on good performance by mainly concentrating on their strengths and achievements during the conversation.


  • Offer general feedback; be specific on behaviours you want your employee to stop, start, and continue

  • Talk about compensation during the review; but if you must, divulge the salary information at the start of the conversation

  • Sugarcoat the review; use the face-to-face as an opportunity to demand improvement

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