The performance appraisal
Forming part of an organisation's overall performance management system, the performance appraisal can be defined as the process of identifying, evaluating and developing the work performance of employees to help achieve the goals and objectives of the organisation. At the same time, appraisals benefit employees by providing them with recognition, feedback, career guidance and development.
Performance appraisal involves managers and their staff members meeting on a one-on-one basis at regular intervals (at least annually) to discuss work performance in relation to:
- execution of roles and responsibilities
- the requirements of the organisation and individuals' contribution to the achievement of the organisation's objectives.
Effective performance appraisal relies on clear performance standards being established and discussed with employees. Using these standards, appraisal involves:
- observing the employee's work behaviour and results, and comparing them against the agreed standards
- evaluating job performance and the employee's development potential
- providing feedback to the employee
- acting on the results of the appraisal process, for example through promotion, reward and recognition, counselling, training, or in some cases termination.
Note: Where an employee's performance is unsatisfactory, it is best to act swiftly to address these performance issues as they arise instead of leaving them to be addressed in the formal appraisal process which may take place months after the underperformance is first noticed. This will provide the employee with an opportunity to respond and to improve their performance before a formal performance appraisal process is conducted.
Performance appraisal cycle
Because performance relies on agreed standards and these performance standards can change as an effect of acting on results of the appraisal, it can be viewed as a cycle.
Frequently asked questions
For more information on performance appraisals, please see our FAQs and other resources below.