5 Tips for Making Employee Appraisals Productive

Whether you manage a team of one or one hundred people, employee appraisal is a process you’re sure to encounter in any management role.

Usually conducted once or twice a year, it’s an important part of personal development, and can even impact an employee’s bonus too. As such, there are a number of employee appraisal tips to consider, to make the process effective, productive and enjoyable for everyone.


What is an employee appraisal?

Employee appraisals provide an opportunity to offer feedback to team members on their performance over the past six to twelve months. It is also a chance to review objectives and set new goals going forward. It should also be considered a listening exercise to learn more about team members. Use it to explore better ways of working together and address any issues that may arise.

If you’re conducting an appraisal any time soon, here’s five helpful employee appraisal tips to put in to practice:

Be organised

Whether you enjoy giving feedback, or loathe the process, the first employee appraisal tip to remember is that this isn’t about you! Therefore, go out of your way to show team members that you value the opportunity to learn more about their ambitions and reflect on their successes.

One way to do this is to organise appraisals in a timely fashion, ensuring they are ring-fenced as important meetings in your diary. Do everything you can to avoid rescheduling them. There’s nothing worse for employee morale than thinking you’re not important to your line manager.

Come with a plan

As with any meeting, preparation is key. Ahead of the catch-up think about what you want to get out of the meeting, go through past notes and accomplishments. A top employee appraisal tip is to use it as an opportunity for praise, as well as to improve performance. Use your time constructively to consider what more you can do to motivate and inspire your employee, and actively listen to their feedback too. This is a two-way process after all.

Create a pleasant environment

In order for the appraisal to be as productive as possible, you’ll want to create a pleasant environment for your meeting. This should be in a location free from distractions, including other colleagues. Cafes and canteens are not suitable, since they offer no privacy. While this is a formal occasion, be sure to be friendly and approachable to get the most out of your catch up.

Think performance, not personality

An important employee appraisal tip to remember is that you’re reviewing and assessing actions and not personalities. There will naturally be conflicts in teams, personality clashes should not come in to this, although expected behaviours can be mentioned. However, performance is the prime focus here. To keep your meeting productive and constructive, look at events and results first and foremost.

Constructive next steps

As you come to the end of your appraisal, go through the checklist as follows:

  • Ensure you have acknowledged positive results and hard work
  • Go through previous objectives and check against progress, re-writing or amending as you see fit going forward
  • Agree better ways of working and areas for improvement
  • Invite the employee to offer any feedback or concerns they have
  • Address any company issues (such as financial results, bonuses, etc.)
  • Discuss financials if expected, such as pay rise


Once you have reflected on performance and set objectives for the months ahead, the next steps are to formalise the review. An employee appraisal tip is to take notes throughout the meeting on your laptop, so that they are written up already. Following your meeting, send an informal thank you, including the points discussed with the updated objectives agreed. As data protection is an important consideration, be sure to record the information somewhere accessible to both parties only.


Summary of Employee Appraisal Tips

Team appraisals form an integral part of management today. It’s a responsibility that should be delivered with due care and attention to maximise performance and behaviours. When carried out effectively, both parties should come out of the meeting feeling motivated and excited, and most important of all – feeling valued. And as anyone in the industry will tell you, that is key to employee morale and motivation levels.



Concepta Cadogan avatar
Director Accounting & Finance
+353 1 661 0444