Conducting an Appraisal. Making it Successful.

Conducting an appraisal to look at an employee’s performance is, in principle, straightforward. However, conducting a SUCCESSFUL appraisal is quite another matter. How many times have you left your own appraisal feeling like nothing much has been achieved? If you know that feeling, you’ll want to ensure that your team doesn’t experience the same. In 2017, research found that 75% of 500 UK employees placed a high value on their personal development.  Turns out, the appraisal is important.

This week, here at Courtney Associates we’re giving you our advice on how to conduct a successful appraisal.


As an employer, you’ll know what you want to discuss during the meeting. But consider also what your employee might have to say. It’s important to give them the opportunity to voice any concerns, and tell you what they enjoy and how they wish to progress within your business.

Set an agenda for the meeting. Set out all the things you intend to address and send it to your employee. Honesty and transparency should be woven through every aspect of the communication you have with your team. Giving them the opportunity to be upfront about the things they’d like to discuss means that you’ll both be prepared for what’s ahead and won’t be blindsided by any nasty surprises.


That leads us onto the importance of preparation. Even if you’ve conducted thousands of appraisals, each one should be individually prepared for. Each of your employees is different, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to managing their performance,  addressing their problems and supporting their aspirations.

Review past appraisals and talk to your department managers for feedback. Ascertain what goals your employee was working towards and analyse progress. Look at what needs to improve and at what’s going well. This will enable you to productively address any issues and set new targets for the future.


Conducting an appraisal isn’t solely about addressing the improvements that can be made. It’s also an opportunity to give praise, and ensure that your employee is clear about their responsibilities and knows what’s expected of them.

Of course, if there are challenges, then these need to be addressed. But the discussion has to be constructive. Anything else is a waste of everyone’s time and won’t inspire your team member to improve or progress. You should also make sure that their performance is measured against specific targets. You can’t expect your employees to achieve standards they’re not aware of.


An appraisal is the perfect opportunity to look to the future, and setting goals and targets should form the majority of the meeting. Ask your employee about how they see their future at the company, and whether there’s any training they think would be beneficial.

Make sure that you offer your support. Whether that be to make improvements, or to build on current success.

And there you have it; our top tips for a successful appraisal. Both you and your employee should leave the meeting feeling as though challenges were overcome, and successes celebrated. Make sure that you continue to check in with your employees regularly and keep the lines of communication open at all times. If you conduct it in the right way, an appraisal won’t be just a paper exercise, but will fill both parties with enthusiasm for the future. 

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