In appraisals, there’s no necessity to have form-filling, and the informal method used Mark Housely can work equally well, However Imogen Daniels of the CIPD urges companies to make sure they cover the following in a first stage: “Name something you felt did well in the past year. Name something you had difficulty with. Is there any training you’re interested in?” In a second stage managers should give specific feedback, whether negative or positive. And you must give both. Then it’s a case of setting objectives for the future. This is vital – and often gets overlooked in smaller companies, where everyone knows what everyone else’s job is. However it is vital for personal development and to motivate people. Daniels says: “The idea is to set objectives which are stretching, but achievable. You don’t want to make someone feel like they’re out of their depth, but you want to support them in reaching those objectives.” Measurable And appraisals should be measurable, so that both you and your staff know when they have succeeded. In the aftermath, don’t leave it for a year before discussing things again. You can have short, informal meetings every three months to catch up and identify any issues early.

And for the adventurous, there are 360-degree appraisals, where the thoughts of several colleagues, managers, employees and even customers are taken into account. It may be time-consuming, but as Daniels says: “It’s a brilliant way of getting feedback from customers about what they want and it’s not reliant on the often-subjective thoughts of one manager.”