10 Tips for Conducting Better Performance Appraisal

Without performance appraisals, employees cannot know how well, or poorly they are performing. Similarly, managers cannot guide them in achieving more.

Performance appraisals are an essential piece of business—and behavior—that needs to be built into an organization’s culture. It differentiates mediocre work performance and makes employees accountable for their work.

The process help managers assess their employees’ strengths and identify potential threats to the company. Neglecting this process will mean missing out on opportunities for tremendous success.

The performance appraisal tips in this guide can help you measure more accurately, estimate better performance and make more confident decisions. 

What Is Performance Appraisal?

Performance appraisal is a process of assessing an employee’s job performance over a specific period. The process reviews employees’ progress toward achieving specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound objectives. 

Companies rely on performance evaluation to gauge the effectiveness of employees’ performance. Planning an effective performance appraisal requires the participation of the supervisor or manager and employees. The manager must give sincere feedback on the performance of the employee. 

The performance appraisal process aims to identify areas where employees excel and may need to improve. It can also be used to determine an employee’s eligibility for promotions, salary increases, or other rewards. The appraisal should be structured to gain detailed, specific, and objective information about employee performance. 

Benefits of Performance Appraisal

Here are some benefits of performance appraisal:

1. Improved communication

Performance appraisal improves communication between employees and their supervisors. It also gives room for constructive feedback and provides the opportunity for discussing goals and expectations.

2. Increased accountability

Performance appraisal helps to hold employees accountable for their work. It also ensures that they are meeting the expectations set for their job.

3. Improved productivity

Performance appraisal can help employees stay focused and motivated. This leads to increased productivity, morale, and successful engagement with your company. 

4. Enhanced professional development

Performance appraisal provides employees with valuable feedback on their strengths and areas for improvement. It allows them to focus on specific areas for development and professional growth.

5. Improved employee retention

Performance appraisal provides opportunities for career advancement and professional development. It also helps to retain top talent and reduce employee turnover.

6. Improved overall organizational performance

By setting goals and regularly reviewing progress, performance appraisal can help organizations identify areas for improvement. It also helps businesses make necessary changes to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

What to Include In a Performance Appraisal

man using MacBook
Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash

There are no “right or wrong” items to include in a performance appraisal summary. This is because appraisals will depend on the nature of the employee’s job and the goals and objectives of the organization.

However, here are some details you can include, depending on the nature of the employee’s job.

  • Job Knowledge and skills.
  • Quality and quantity of employee work.
  • Work habits and attitudes.
  • Interpersonal skills and teamwork.
  • Communication skills.
  • Adaptability and flexibility of the employee.
  • Initiative and innovation.
  • Leadership and management ability.
  • Customer service skills.
  • Goal Achievement and progress toward career development.

Performance Appraisal Tips for Success

The following performance appraisal tips will guide you in preparing and conducting a proper appraisal of your employees.

1. Give regular informal feedbacks.

Don’t just focus on formal performance appraisals; it’s also important to give regular informal feedback to employees throughout the year. This helps address any issues or concerns as they arise rather than waiting until the formal appraisal to discuss them.

Informal feedback can be given through one-on-one conversations, team meetings, email, or messaging.

2. Set clear performance expectations

Before the appraisal, ensure that the employee understands what is expected of them regarding their job duties, goals, and performance standards. This will help ensure that they know what they need to focus on to meet your expectations.

3. Gather important data

To make the appraisal process as objective as possible, gathering data on the employee’s performance is important. This may include things like work samples, customer feedback, and data on the employee’s productivity.

4. Review the employee’s job description

Before the appraisal, take some time to review the employee’s job description. These job descriptions must be specific responsibilities and duties associated with their position. This will help you focus on the most important areas of their job performance.

5. Choose the right words.

Be mindful of the words you use when giving feedback, as they can greatly impact the employee’s perception of themselves. Avoid negative language, and try to focus on specific behaviors or actions rather than making personal attacks.

Use “I” statements to express your perspective and focus on the behavior rather than making blanket statements about the employee’s character or ability. For example, instead of saying, “you’re not a good listener,” say, “I noticed that during our meetings, you seem to interrupt others often. I think it would be helpful if you try to listen more and let others finish speaking before speaking yourself.”

Also, use respectful and supportive language and encourage open and honest communication. This will help the employee feel more comfortable and receptive to the feedback.

6. Do it face-to-face

Schedule a face-to-face meeting with the employee to conduct the performance appraisal. This allows for better communication. It also allows the employee to ask questions and provide feedback comfortably. Ensure that the physical location is private and comfortable. This will create a more relaxed atmosphere and encourage open and honest communication.

7. Use relevant examples

Avoid vague or general statements. Instead, use specific examples to illustrate the employee’s strengths and areas that need improvement. This will help the employee understand your feedback and areas to work on.

For example, instead of saying, “you need to improve your communication skills.” You may say, “I noticed that during the team meeting last week, you interrupted your teammates a few times. I think it would be helpful for you to try to listen more and let others speak before jumping in with your ideas.”

8. Be honest

Be honest and open in your feedback, but avoid being overly critical or negative. Focus on specific behaviors or actions that the employee can improve upon rather than making general criticisms.

9. Encourage the employee to share their perspective.

Encourage your employee to share their perspective on their performance and to suggest areas where they feel they could improve. This can foster a collaborative and open dialogue. It will also create mutual agreement on goals for the employee to work towards.

10. End on a positive note

End the performance appraisal positively by highlighting the employee’s strengths and successes. This will help to boost their confidence and motivation. You can offer support and resources to help the employee improve in their areas for development. This will show that you are invested in their growth and development and want to help them succeed.

Also, set clear goals and action plans for the employee to work on in the coming months. And discuss a plan for follow-up and progress check-ins. 

11. Follow up

After the appraisal, follow up with the employee to check in on their progress. Ensure that they are meeting the goals that were set during the appraisal. This will help you know if the employee is making progress. It will also help you identify areas where they may need additional support or guidance.


Performance appraisal is a powerful tool for organizations looking to improve their productivity and success. With clearer baseline performance expectations, it is easier to know when to implement new measures or set new goals. The process may seem challenging, but it benefits both parties in the long run.

The performance appraisal tips in this guide will make the process smooth and easy. 

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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