Effective appraisals work wonders on manager-employee relationships. According to research by the Society for Human Resource Management, employees who have regular meetings with their managers are three times more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. To help employees and companies thrive, we put together a five-step journey to conducting effective appraisals.

Employees who have regular meetings with their managers are three times more likely to be satisfied with their jobs.

1. Ensure two-way feedback

An appraisal is a unique opportunity for managers and employees to discuss job performance, satisfaction and targets in full confidence. In an effective appraisal both sides give and receive feedback, while encouraging each other to achieve better results in an open dialogue. Positive feedback is an ideal starting point, after which it’s easier to tackle issues that still need improvement.

2. Be consistent

By using the same appraisal form across the organisation, a company can record and store important HR information. This helps, for example, to map the current expertise within the company and to determine what additional skills are still needed. However, no appraisal form should be followed too categorically. Open questions by the manager and employee – ones that can’t be answered with a quick yes or no – will direct the conversation naturally to whatever matters most.

To get you started with effective appraisals, we’ve created this appraisal form template. You can modify, add and remove questions according to your company’s current situation and needs.

3. Give meaning to targets

Employees will be more motivated if the manager explains how their personal targets relate to the overall company strategy. The best targets are ambitious yet realistic. To conclude the discussion, it’s a good idea to ensure that there is a shared understanding of how and when the agreed targets should be reached.

4. Play fair

All employees must be treated fairly and equally in an appraisal. The same requirements should apply to everyone who shares the same responsibilities. Using a company-wide form is helpful in this context, too. Still, it’s crucial to keep in mind that all managers have their own evaluating tendencies – some are harsher, others more lenient – and all employees have their unique needs.

5. Keep it systematic

72 per cent of companies conduct appraisals just once a year, others prefer quick weekly chats. Yearly discussions are beneficial for long-term planning, while constant interaction helps keep the manager and employee on the same page. Regardless of how often appraisals take place, they should be systematic, honest and constructive.

The key to happiness and productivity

Research by Gallup indicates that teams in which people strongly agree with the statement “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day” were more likely to earn high customer satisfaction scores, to have a low employee turnover, and to be productive.
An effective appraisal will make employees feel that their work is meaningful and that they have the chance to use their expertise to reach shared targets. Once that happens, the entire company will flourish.


Two women sitting on a red couch at the office and looking at ipad screen

To see for yourself, you can download our appraisal form template. Please feel free to change, add or remove questions. With the same questions used company-wide, you will soon have an invaluable reserve of unified data to support your HR decisions.

Have you already read our appraisals handbook?

We want to support managers in running appraisals and provide them with tips for doing just that. The book provides actionable advice on how to organise appraisals on an individual and company level.