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Blog • 08.08.22

The truth behind appraisals to engage your team

Sian H
Junior HR Consultant

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You’ve probably heard a lot of talk around employee engagement, and new ways and reasons to tackle it in your small business. If you’re struggling with performance, or think you have risks around retention, keeping your people motivated and providing growth can help you build a stronger team.

There’s also a lot of debate around appraisals, and how they are ‘old hat’, but studies have shown that people feel more engaged and motivated when they receive regular performance feedback. In fact, did you know that 65% of your people want feedback more often?

An appraisal, also known as a performance review, is an important aspect of managing an employee’s performance and development. Although often perceived as a “tick-box exercise”, if done effectively, they can be a useful employee engagement tool, helping to motivate and, ultimately, retain staff.

How can an appraisal motivate my people?

Giving your team regular performance feedback and knowing that they are able to discuss this throughout the year, can be motivating for them. The annual appraisal meeting itself is a valuable opportunity to review your team’s overall performance and set new goals for them to work towards.

So, it’s not only beneficial for the individual, but it means you can be sure all your team are working towards the same business goals.

Here are three ways an appraisal will help to motivate your people.

Employees feel valued

We all like to know we’ve done a good job and feeding this back to someone is a way of motivating them. By giving positive feedback, and having their successes recognised and strengths reinforced, people feel valued.

Employees who feel valued will be more engaged in their work and in the business’s culture and goals. Appraisals are designed to recognise the person’s strengths and build on these by setting targets that they will be motivated to achieve.

Taking the time to review an employee’s performance including areas for improvement, will show them that they are valued.

Goal setting

Reviewing past goals and setting new ones should be one of the main areas of an appraisal. It’s important to address any areas for improvement, and constructive feedback is motivational.

All feedback should be constructive so that it helps people understand what they can do to improve. Giving employees a different perspective and providing fresh targets to work towards can give them a renewed sense of responsibility and motivate them to turn their performance around and grow in their role.

Encouraging your team to set goals for themselves can also empower them and increase their sense of responsibility. However, balancing any areas for improvement and identifying strengths is key to maintaining employee engagement.

Personal development

The appraisal is a great opportunity for both you and your team members to focus on their personal development and longer-term career aspirations. Investing time in showing your people that you are committed to their development and being able to see a clear path for professional development is proven to be motivational for employees.

What sort of appraisal questions can I use to motivate my staff?

It can be difficult trying to figure out which questions to ask that will be productive and motivate your people. Which is why we’ve provided some examples that will help them reflect on past achievements and motivate them to keep up the good work:

  • What achievements or successes are you most proud of since your last review?
  • Which aspects of the job do you most enjoy?
  • What skills do you feel make you effective in your role?
  • What areas would you like more experience of?
  • Is there anything more I can do to help you get that experience?

How do I keep my people motivated after an appraisal?

Once you’ve completed your appraisal meeting, and your staff member is feeling motivated and driven for improvement, it’s important to remember that the work isn’t complete just yet. Equally as important as the meeting, is ensuring your people remain motivated for the appraisal to have real value.

One way you can tackle this is by following up on providing any support that was discussed whether it be further training at work, shadowing colleagues or undertaking formal qualifications. You should start by logging everything in your appraisal system , so that both of you can return back to it at any time to remind yourselves on the discussion and new goals.

Having regular catch ups outside of the formal process will also keep the lines of communication open and allow any performance concerns to be addressed if needed.

Showing employees that you’re acting on the discussion and are willing to invest in them will greatly enhance engagement and their ongoing motivation, giving you the support you need to help grow your business.

Regardless of the size of your business, our advice is to invest time into the performance appraisal process. Used effectively, they can improve employee engagement and motivation, which will, in turn, contribute to the wider success of your business.

The content of this blog is for general information only. Please don’t rely on it as legal or other professional advice as that is not what we intend. You can find more detail on this in our Terms of Website Use. If you require professional advice, please get in touch.

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