Performance Appraisals

Performance Appraisals


Appraisal of employees is important to measure the performance of the employees and to check the progress towards the desired goals and aims. Performance appraisal takes into account the past performance of the employees and focuses on the improvement of the future performance of the employees.

The key objectives of an appraisal system are usually to review performance, potential and identify training needs. Further, performance appraisal system can be used to determine whether employees should receive financial reward for their performance.

Smaller companies can also have appraisal systems in place to review the performance of their employees. The appraisal system in small organizations can be designed to meet the particular needs of the company and need not be elaborate.

Appraisals can help to improve employees’ job performance by identifying strengths and weaknesses and determining how their strengths can be best utilized within the organization and weaknesses overcome. They can help to reveal problems which may be restricting employees’ progress and causing inefficient work practices.


Most performance appraisal forms should contain provision for:

  • basic personal details, that is; name, department, post, length of time in the job
  • job title
  • job description
  • a detailed review of the individual’s performance against a set of job-related criteria
  • an overall performance rating
  • general comments by the senior
  • comments by the employee
  • a plan for development and action.


Tips for making appraisal effective and successful

  • Appraisals need the commitment and support of all levels of management
  • Managers and trade union representatives should be consulted before appraisals are introduced
  • Appraisals should not be seen in isolation but should be closely linked with policies and practices in other areas, such as human resource planning, equal opportunities, training and pay
  • Those responsible for appraisals should receive adequate training to enable them to make objective assessments and to give them confidence in carrying out effective appraisal interviews
  • The purpose of appraisals and how the system operates should be explained to those who are being appraised
  • Paperwork should be kept to a minimum and appraisal forms should be simply and clearly designed
  • Appraisal systems should be reviewed periodically to ensure they meet changing needs.


To view sample templates for Employee Appraisal, click the links below:

Employee Self Evaluation

Performance Evaluation


Different Methods of Performance Appraisal

  • Rating
  • Comparison with Objectives
  • Critical incidents
  • Narrative Report



This method lists a number of factors to be assessed such as quality and output of work, which are then rated on a numerical scale according to level of performance, for example:

  • outstanding
  • exceeds requirements of the job
  • meets the requirements of the job
  • shows some minor weaknesses
  • shows some significant weaknesses
  • unacceptable.

The rating scales method is easy to construct, use and understand. However, it is highly subjective, there is often a tendency to bunch the ratings around the average point and an overall impression can influence all the individual assessments.


Comparison with objectives

Under this system, the employee and his/ her manager set objectives at the beginning of the appraisal period. The subsequent appraisal is based on how far these objectives have been met. This method is more objective than rating scales because the emphasis is on work achievement. It can be more participative because it gives employees the chance to agree their objectives and enables them to carry out a form of self-appraisal.


Critical incidents

Using this method the appraiser is required to record incidents of employees’ positive and negative behaviour during a given period. The appraiser is expected to give feedback on this behaviour when it occurs. This could include appreciation of good performance or to give counselling to help poor performance. The record of incidents throughout the year forms the basis of the appraisal report.

This method of appraisal encourages frequent recording and enables employees’ performance to be judged on actual incidents rather than on subjective assessments. It also helps to overcome the problem of annual reporting which can concentrate unduly on events immediately prior to the appraisal.

The critical incident method can, however, be time consuming and burdensome and it can result in excessive supervision which may be discouraging for some employees.


Narrative report

This technique requires the appraiser to describe the individual’s work performance and behaviour in his or her own words. The narrative report may take the form of an essay or a controlled written report, such as answers to certain headings or guidelines. This approach is sometimes combined with rating scales. Narrative reporting is flexible and can enable the appraiser to gear the report to specific circumstances.

Employee Appraisal Booklet by Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), UK