Imagine it, you’re in the door and have bagged your dream job. Unfortunately the testing doesn’t stop there! In fact it’s common for businesses to carry out appraisals to assess an employee’s performance.

Assessing the performance of staff against yearly targets is referred to as an appraisal. A key task of human resource management is to identify how employees in the firm are performing.

During an appraisal an employee’s behaviour and performance will be analysed. Often encouragement and discussion can improve the quality of the appraisal because employees feel actively involved in the process and this encourages them to work through the points discussed in the meeting.

There are five key elements to performance appraisal: measurement, feedback, positive reinforcement, open exchange of views, and agreement.

It’s worth taking note though – it is not beneficial to reinforce seniority during and appraisal!

There are a few different types of appraisal that can occur. A 360 appraisal is when a staff member receives feedback from people whose views are considered helpful and relevant. This type of appraisal allows employees further down the hierarchy to appraise people above them – maybe their supervisor or line manager.

However, feedback may not be taken on-board if the person giving feedback is not a superior which is often one of the drawbacks to 360 appraisal.

Self-assessment appraisals occur when an employee takes ownership of their role/responsibilities and is able to reflect upon their overall performance. The process will involve the employee recording their progress for future reference and setting targets for the foreseeable future.

Employees can also experience peer assessments. This is when employees of a similar level of responsibility critically comment upon the performance of a co-worker and perhaps suggest methods of improvement. Peer assessment allows employees to learn from one another and share best practice. However the employees may not be honest with their peer which can be its downfall.

The most common type of appraisal is however a superior’s assessment. This will be two way communication between manager and employee to discuss performance and development. It also gives the employee an opportunity to voice their opinions, concerns and seek the support they may need in their role.

Unfortunately in some circumstances business appraisals can cause tension in the workplace.

The word appraisal often implies making a judgement about how well an employee is doing. However, the appraisal process needs to be more than simply scoring or judging past performance. It needs to look forward too.

In most instances appraisals are hugely beneficial to businesses as they allow the setting of agreed and achievable targets. Introducing appraisals is a huge part of human resource management and should be used to increase efficiency.

And in most instances in business, greater efficiency means more money!