Posted 01.11.19

Appraisals, performance reviews, annual reviews; whatever your company calls them, they’re usually met with a mixture of dread and scepticism by both team members and team leaders. But appraisals, when done correctly, are vital in ensuring a positive working environment, especially when it comes to addressing diversity in the workplace.

How are appraisals a diversity issue?

It might not be immediately clear how a slightly awkward meeting can help address diversity, but a formalised development and assessment process can tackle a number of the factors that contribute to the gender pay gap. 

Paying people different salaries for the same work is of course illegal. However, there is a large range of evidence to suggest that while employees may start their careers at the same level, some demographics are much more likely to secure pay rises and promotions, while others (most notably women of colour) are unable to progress in the same way.

An effective appraisal process standardises the way that promotions and pay rises are awarded, helping to level the playing field for people who might otherwise be overlooked. That can also include people whose contributions aren’t as immediately obvious or quantifiable, for example sales support roles within a sales environment.

What makes a good appraisal?

As we mentioned above, an appraisal can be an awkward conversation which neither party is keen to have. But it can also be a productive and genuinely beneficial opportunity for both the employee and the manager to explore personal goals, address worries and concerns, whilst developing an effective working relationship.

Appraisals should form part of a continuous discussion about personal development and individual contribution, rather than a one-off occasion. Having one meeting a year is not an effective way to progress any project, as targets can’t be properly tracked, and commitments can easily be forgotten or ignored. Instead, meetings should be held at least quarterly, to make sure progress is being made against the points agreed in the meeting.

How can I give a good appraisal?

It’s really important that you spend some quality time preparing for your team’s appraisal meetings. If you’re working within a formalised appraisal process, you probably have some guidance about what to prepare, but from a more holistic point of view, there are some important things to remember:

  • Personal development is not just about identifying areas for improvement, it’s also about celebrating success – if a goal is achieved or progress is made, it’s really important to recognise that. Make sure you have a clear idea of the work your employee has done and the impact it has had.
  • Give your team member space to express themselves – don’t go into an appraisal meeting with an expectation of what they should say, or you may end up railroading the conversation away from your employee’s most pressing concerns.
  • Honesty is so important – it can be uncomfortable to address performance issues, or to talk about topics you aren’t prepared for, but the only way to handle things is head-on. If you don’t know the answer to something, it’s fine to say so, but if you are struggling to give poor feedback, remember that it is in the employee’s best interest, and by giving them the information you are giving them the tools they need to succeed.

Questions? Comments? Get in touch with Project Coordinator, Helen Addis | 07980 755 729 | helen.addis@cordantrecruitment.com

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