Doing a performance appraisal

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Last updated on May 4, 2017
A performance appraisal, or performance review, is a formal discussion to assess progress made towards set goals or other performance standards.

Performance appraisals are often conducted on an annual or twice-yearly basis.
Here are some tips to help with performance appraisals.

  • The formal appraisal should be supported by ongoing informal feedback processes.
  • Prepare an action plan that lists what is to be done, by whom, and when. An action plan is included in the job performance appraisal template. This provides a record for both managers and employees to quickly identify what has been done and what remains to be achieved.
  • If your performance targets are not being met or you are not seeing the results you expected, you may need to review your process and question whether you are measuring the right things or rewarding the right behaviour.
  • Be open and clear about why you want to introduce performance appraisals and seek employees’ input.


Discussing underperformance can be unpleasant. However, if the unsatisfactory performance is to be remedied, good discussion with your employee is crucial.

  • Act promptly and arrange a private meeting to discuss the problem with the employee.
  • Give the employee an opportunity to explain reasons for the behaviour. Problematic personal circumstances can be managed by someone with appropriate skills or through an Employee Assistance Program.
  • Tell the employee what is unsatisfactory and ensure that they understand the difference between what they are doing and what you want done.
  • Agree on how the unsatisfactory performance will be resolved.
  • Make a time for review to ensure that both parties are happy with the outcome.
  • Always follow up and give positive feedback when the employee is working as you wish.

If the employee’s performance remains unsatisfactory, you need to consider what action will then be taken and inform the employee of these possible consequences.

Conflict and disputes

Conflict and disputes may arise from changes in the workplace, personal or cultural differences, insufficient resources, stress, ineffective communication or inconsistent instructions, among other things.

There are two main types of workplace-related conflict:

  • functional conflict is considered to be innovative and creative, encourages performance and helps to collectively achieve goals.

  • dysfunctional conflict hinders the achievement of your business’s goals by affecting productivity.
When you are trying to resolve conflict in the workplace:
  • use arbitration as a last resort
  • listen to both sides of the argument
  • try to have the conflicting parties mutually agree on some point
  • stick to the facts
  • assume the role of mediator
  • sort out the easy issues first
  • get both parties to recognise the value of the workplace relationship
  • don’t settle on the first solution – it may not be the most appropriate.
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