Let’s be honest, most people understand that appraisal meetings are meant to be transparent with no surprises but still they are something which very often managers and staff both dread.  This can be for a multitude of reasons but here are our top tips to ensure your appraisal meetings are both motivational and rewarding…

1. Be prepared – this goes for managers and staff, and whilst we know it sounds obvious, consider all of the following in advance:

  1. Book a place to meet to ensure you have space to talk
  2. Make sure you have time and can focus solely on the meeting together
  3. Review and consider previous objectives within this school or at a previous one if you are new
  4. Think about development areas
  5. Consider issues you might like to discuss

2. Make it a two-way conversation:

It is of course about listening to each other but sometimes managers need to encourage staff members to talk, so think about open ended questions to encourage staff to open up.  Staff members also need to attend ready to talk.

3. Be constructive:

Let’s face it, there’s always room for improvement no matter who you are but delivering this is not always easy.

Managers need to take a constructive approach, the feedback sandwich is an old one but a classic, think praise, improvement, praise. Plus, reassure the staff member that you are there to help and have suggestions ready as to how you can support them to improve.  Delivered in the right way, criticism should be encouraging and not destructive. 

It’s never easy to take criticism but staff members should concentrate on how this can help them to progress and try not to be too defensive.  Plus, if you do have any issues think about how you can deliver this in a constructive rather than negative way.

4. Your ongoing relationship

An appraisal presents the ideal opportunity for managers and staff to develop their working relationship together.  Dealt with in a positive way, these meetings can help to increase your understanding of each other and your expectations.

5. Motivate and Reward

Appraisals should as far as possible, be finished on a high note and are an excellent space to motivate individuals.  This can be done through reward which doesn’t always have to be monetary, it can be a simple thank you.  Never underestimate how far a little recognition and praise can go, after all, we all value it. 

It can also be rewarding for managers, and again, a simple thank you goes a long way, or an explanation as to how a staff member feels they have improved thanks to a manager’s suggestion or support.

Much of the above may seem obvious but trust us, after years of experience, it isn’t always used. Generally speaking, appraisals can be hard to attend and just as hard to deliver.  However, if embraced as a two-way conversation whereby expectations and suggestions, goals and aspirations are discussed openly, they can be a process to be enjoyed – stranger things have happened!

What do you think, we’d love to hear your comments?

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