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Appraisals are an opportunity for both participants to discuss any concerns as well as successes over the previous period and looking ahead to the next months or years. They can be valuable in developing a career plan, but also have the risk of being de-motivating and distressing.

Below are our tips for a successful appraisal or review.

1. Good, worthwhile appraisals are not easy – they take effort and skill to make them effective

2. There needs to be a clear understanding between all involved - the people doing the appraisals, those being appraised and the HR professionals who design and manage the process – about what the purpose is.

3. Preparation by appraiser and appraisee is really important.

4. An appraisal needs to look back (regarding performance) and forward (regarding learning & development and future performance expectations).

5. An annual appraisal is not a substitute for frequent on the job feedback and coaching conversations – it should build on them.

6. An appraisal is a conversation - with the appraisee doing more talking than the appraiser. So the appraiser needs to be skilled at asking good questions and listening.

7. A range of views need to be taken into account during an appraisal – whether or not a formal 360 degree system is used.

8. What is going well needs to be explored and discussed as well as what could be done better.

9. Build in an opportunity to review what happened in an appraisal.

10. NO SURPRISES – a sign of a good appraisal in the context of good management and development of people generally is that there are no surprises sprung on either appraiser or appraisee.

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