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What is a performance appraisal? (What is a performance review?)

Glossary definition

What is a performance appraisal? (What is a performance review?)

Performance appraisals are one-to-one reviews between a manager and an employee.

They help employers to recognise and reward workers fairly, and enable workers to understand what they contribute to their organisation and where they can improve and develop.

Well-managed performance appraisals of all types are motivating for employees because they help them work towards their own career goals as well as hit employer targets.

A traditional performance appraisal happens once a year, though there may be interim reviews at more frequent intervals, so the employee can talk to their manager about how they’re getting on.

The appraisal will review progress against a set of objectives, agreed at the start of the year or during a set performance period.

Employees may need to bring evidence of achievements to their review, including feedback from colleagues or customers (this is sometimes called 360-degree feedback) or prepare information that shows what they’ve done to meet their objectives.

A supportive manager will discuss attainment to date, recognising achievement and highlighting areas for more focus.

The employee and manager may discuss training or support needs and other factors affecting progress and agree actions to stay on course.

The rating and report that an employee receives in their performance review may determine their bonus, pay rise and promotion, so it can be a very significant meeting for financial as well as developmental and career reasons.