Appraisals & Performance Reviews

Understanding the principles, practices and procedures

Appraisals or Performance Appraisals provide an excellent opportunity for individual staff members and line managers, to engage in a dialogue about their performance and development, as well as the support required from the manager and/or other internal & external sources to further develop their abilities and performance.

As the majority of performance appraisals are carried out by line managers, rather than Human Resources professionals, it is critically important that they understand their role in managing performance and how performance appraisal contributes to the overall aims of the organisation for which they work.

The corner stone of any effective performance system is an appraisal meeting. The first principle is that this meeting should not be a ‘top down’ process or merely an opportunity for one person to ask questions and the other to reply, but should take the form of a free-flowing conversation during which a range of views is exchanged. Subsequent meetings and informal encounters should also be based on this principle.

Performance appraisals usually review past actions and behaviour and so provide an opportunity to reflect on past performance. However, to be successful they should also be used as a basis for making development and improvement plans and reaching agreement about what should be done in the future. All of these considerations must be firmly rooted in both the job description and person specification of the individual post holder as well as the wider corporate “mission and vision” of the organisation. This holistic approach must be sufficiently flexible to reflect sudden organisational or staff changes as well as the impact of any external factors such as legislation changes, customer priorities and the prevailing economic situation.

For Whom
This workshop is designed for operational and line managers who are involved in or likely to become involved appraisals and performance reviews. It is suitable for representatives from all business types and sectors, including private, public and not for profit.

The workshop will also be of use to HR professionals who have limited knowledge of good practice in terms of disciplinary processes and procedures; this might include for example those new to role or those taking on a broader remit.

Aims and Objectives
This one-day workshop has been designed to bring together the technical and soft skills required to make appraisal or performance review systems effective and efficient for all parties.

Technical topics cover fully the overarching rights and responsibilities that should be captured within the procedures. These procedures should cover, as this workshop does:-

  • User friendly documentation
  • Best practice on typical review periods and cycles for interim reviews
  • SMARTER planning using Key Result Areas and Performance Indicators
  • Scoping in setting objectives –organisational and personal
  • Determining the number of objectives that should be set
  • Clarity on weighting objectives -sources of evidence and scoring systems
  • Flexibility to reflect organisational and/or sudden staff changes
  • Dependencies – the support an individual might need, internally or externally to meet his/her objective(s)
  • Stretching – the potential to provide new work opportunities for an individual
  • Commitment and access to a wide range of coaching, desk based, mentoring, formal training and developmental opportunities
  • Drafting Personal Development Plans
  • Provisions for appeals to a third party
  • Equality proofing all these arrangements to eliminate the potential for bias and/or subjective assessments

Soft Skills include:-

  • Professional arrangements for all meetings with equality proofing of these arrangements
  • Appropriate management communication styles- formal and informal
  • Interviewing skills
  • Active listening and observational skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Recording information
  • Time management
  • Feedback techniques
  • Addressing difficult behaviour

We provide best practice policy and procedural templates as well as a toolbox bringing together the suite of technical and soft skills profiled above.

Benchmarking includes:-

  • Presentation of a range of scoring systems used in the public and private sectors
  • Identifying potential elephant traps that have landed some employers with grievance complaints and even tribunal action
  • Academic models and insights from employment and industrial relations experts

The course in its standard guise does not cover Performance Related Pay but our trainers are able to advise on how some organisations have reconciled their scoring system with annual pay allocation awards as well as giving advice about the Equal Pay Act. We can also provide templates on how to conduct equal pay audits. And the whole course is concluded with signposts to external sources of further information, help or advice.


Please Note: We always respect client privacy and confidentiality. We do not collate any identifiable delegate information on our course feedback forms. We only publish comments where express permission for marketing and promotional use, has been given.  The majority of delegates do not give this permission.

  • “Excellent knowledge”
  • “painted a clear picture of the potential structures and work involved, Excellent”
  • “I understand a lot more on how to use appraisals – Great”
  • “How to identify and integrate KPI into the appraisal review – Very Good Very Enjoyable”
  • “Very enjoyable, interesting and fit for purpose”
  • “It was good comprehensive training”


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