How to Prepare for Performance Appraisal Meetings as a Manager


Performance appraisal meetings play a pivotal role in human resources management within organisations. They can help redefine the responsibilities and priorities of the role, highlight the employee’s strengths and weaknesses, and ensure employer and employee share mutual goals moving forward.


However for both manager and employee, performance appraisals can be daunting, so to facilitate a productive discussion and foster a respectful working relationship, keep the following in mind as you prepare:


1. Ask the employee to complete a self-appraisal prior to the meeting
Allowing the employee to self-assess their performance will not only assist them in preparing for the meeting, it will also help you to better understand their approach to the role and their long term goals.


2. Take a look at any previous appraisals
What performance goals or career aspirations were discussed? Have these been met? If not, why? Were there any mitigating factors that may have prevented them being achieved? Highlight any areas that will need to be covered in the upcoming appraisal.


3. Familiarise yourself with the employee’s position description
It should detail the expectations of the role, clarify responsibilities and KPIs, and explain how the role fits within the broader organisation. This will provide you with criteria against which to measure their performance. Ensure the employee has their own copy of this document too, so they can prepare for the meeting.


4. Keep notes throughout the year
These will be invaluable when it comes time to conduct performance appraisals and will help you to cite examples of achievements or areas for improvement, as detailed below.


5. Be clear on the timeframe and criteria the appraisal covers
Refer to the goals set in previous appraisals, as well as any changes to the position description since the last appraisal, such as new responsibilities that may have come with a promotion or change in role.


6. List accomplishments and areas of improvement
Include how these relate back to the position description, and use examples where applicable, such as a particular piece of work or achievement that demonstrates each point.


7. Be conscious of your language
Using open-ended questions that allow for reflection and promote discussion is more helpful during an appraisal meeting, especially when discussing negative aspects of performance. Allow the employee to participate in the problem solving process and take ownership of the solutions.


8. Set goals for the upcoming year
These can evolve through the discussion with the employee, who will have their own areas of personal development and career objectives they hope to achieve. These goals should follow the SMART principle and be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. A successful performance appraisal meeting will enable you to establish some mutually agreed goals that satisfy both manager and employee.


Effectively managing your employee’s performance can be a straightforward and simple process with the right plan in hand, but if you need additional support or resources, consider booking a Managing Everyday Performance or Performance Management Appraisals Meetings course through iHR Australia.