by Kate Russell


People are vital to the success of any organisation. It has been shown repeatedly that inadequate management practices result in high labour turnover, loss of productivity, poor quality and absenteeism. If people are managed correctly, on the other hand, they are likely to contribute a great deal to your organisation.

Conventionally, the performance appraisal process consists of the manager writing his opinions of the performance of a staff member on a document supplied by HR. The appraisal usually reflects what the manager can remember, that is, the last few weeks. Neither accurate nor motivating, this is a waste of everyone’s time.

However, a good, well-executed appraisal can enhance performance very considerably. The key to success is thorough preparation, in particular the collection of evidence over a reasonable period of time.

The purpose of this topic is to help you understand how to approach the performance review in a way that makes the process effective, fair and motivating. If you adopt the approach described here, it will help make your appraisals truly successful.

Key elements of an effective performance review process include:

  • Collecting accurate information across the entire review period
  • Reviewing past performance
  • Planning future performance
  • Frank and objective discussion of issues
  • Recognition of valued contribution.

Build feedback into your daily discussions. Give and receive feedback all the time and make a brief file note on each occasion. Don’t wait for the formal appraisal discussion.

There should be no surprises in a performance appraisal. By building it in as an ongoing activity, you take the edge away.