Why Are Appraisal Meetings Good for Team Morale?
Regular appraisal meetings can be hugely beneficial both for the individual employee, the wider team, and the business. As well as reviewing performance, appraisal meetings can help to boost team morale by showing the individual they’re a valued part of the company.
Below, we explore how appraisal meetings can be vital in maintaining good team morale and the best ways to conduct an effective appraisal.
Appraisal meeting meaning
An appraisal meeting is a formal meeting between an employee and their line manager. The purpose of an appraisal meeting is to give both parties the opportunity to review and discuss the employee’s successes, challenges, development, and growth over a set period, usually six or 12 months.
How can appraisal meetings improve team morale?
Appraisal meetings can be great for improving team morale, and there are a few ways in which an effective appraisal meeting can boost team spirit.
Identify barriers and resolutions
An appraisal meeting gives the individual an opportunity to address challenges they might be facing in their work. This might be that they lack the skills needed to effectively do their work, it could be that they feel their responsibilities have moved away from their job description, or it could be that they are having difficulties with other members of the team.
While a healthy working environment should allow your staff to address these concerns at any point in the year, often an appraisal meeting creates a convenient time to properly address concerns and find solutions.
It can take a huge toll on morale if employees feel as though they have to struggle through obstacles with no support from their line manager. Giving people the space to discuss their concerns and then taking action to remove barriers can improve their working life and wellbeing. It can help to remove stress and ensure they know they’re supported.
Find opportunities for development
Most employees won’t want to stagnate in their roles. When an individual feels there’s no room for development, they can often start looking for roles elsewhere. So, looking for areas of development in an appraisal meeting can give the employee a chance to expand their skill set and knowledge, helping their personal development and growth in the role.
Offering development to the individual also shows that they are valued. It proves that the company is willing to invest in the person and wants to keep them on. This can help to improve team morale by showing that the company cares about the employees as people, not just as resources.
Set goals and objectives
Many people like to have something to work towards. Setting goals and objectives can help to improve team morale by giving an induvial purpose in their work. It also gives an opportunity to review something tangible, so you can celebrate successes when they achieve their goals.
Setting goals and objectives in an appraisal meeting also gives the employee a chance to think about what they want from the role, and feed into what they want to achieve. This will give them autonomy in their role, which can help to boost their confidence and engagement in their work.
Showing appreciation to your employees is a vital part of maintaining good team morale. Every business should be able to demonstrate that it values its staff and the work that they do.
Every appraisal meeting should include a portion that celebrates the individual’s achievements. It could be that they have exceeded their goals and objectives, it could be that the quality of their work has improved, or it could be that they have shown great team spirit and collaboration. Whatever it is, taking the time to recognise success will show the individual that they are valued, and their good work doesn’t go by unnoticed.
You could even expand your appreciation past the meeting. Using a noticeboard in a communal area to place announcements of each individual’s achievements can be a great way of letting the whole team celebrate the successes.
People want to be fairly compensated for their work. If an employee feels their role has expanded, they might feel as though a salary increase is warranted. Discussing salary in an appraisal meeting shows to the individual that the company values them and wants to pay them a fair wage for their work.
Of course, not every appraisal meeting may require a change in salary, especially if you are having a few a year. However, even having the discussion can improve morale, by showing that the business cares and doesn’t want to take advantage of its employees.
How to conduct effective appraisal meetings to boost team morale
An effective appraisal meeting should foster open and honest communication. Wherever possible, there should be a focus on positivity. If the employee hasn’t met the objectives there shouldn’t be an attack. Instead, discuss what might have stopped them from achieving the goal and what can be done to help them going forward.
Your employees should have plenty of time to prepare for the appraisal meeting. Letting them know two weeks in advance should give them plenty of time to collect their thoughts. Often, it’s useful to send them a self-assessment form in advance, giving them a place to write down their thoughts and feelings, successes and challenges, so you can discuss them in the meeting.
You could also reach out to the wider team, to gain their feedback on the individual. This is often known as 360-degree feedback, as it helps to give a full picture of the employee. Feedback collected from the team should always be kept anonymous. Remember that this type of feedback might not always be fully accurate, as it will be based on perception and opinion - however, it can sometimes to help to get a better idea of how the individual works.
Make sure that you have enough time for the meeting itself, so you don’t need to rush through anything. Not giving your employees sufficient time to discuss what they need to can decrease their morale and could suggest that they’re not valued.
When you’re preparing for the meeting, ensure that you have everything that you might need ready. A whiteboard or flipchart easel can be useful for making notes and keeping the meeting productive and engaged. You could also have your own notebook or laptop to detail the actions at the end of the meeting.
How often should you hold appraisal meetings?
How regularly you want to hold appraisal meetings for your staff will depend on your business and your processes. Generally, an appraisal meeting once or twice a year will help you to gain regular feedback and keep on track with your team’s development and progress.
You can supplement appraisal meetings with monthly one-to-one meetings. These can be shorter, more informal meetings between the individual and their line manager. They can give your staff member an opportunity to discuss any needs they have, as well as give the line manager a chance to address any issues that might have arisen.
Is an annual appraisal meeting enough?
An annual appraisal meeting is typically the minimum a business will need for its staff. Often, it can be beneficial to hold more regular appraisal meetings, in order to gain regular feedback.
A lot of changes can occur in just a few months, so holding appraisal meetings a few times a year allows everyone to keep on top of what’s happening and address any challenges that need to be dealt with.
Example appraisal meeting agenda
You can use this appraisal meeting example agenda as a basis to create your own agenda, and adapt it as required for your business needs and processes.
Start the meeting with a brief, general assessment of whether the employee thinks things are going well, or if they think there are things that need improving.
360 feedback / team feedback
If you have collected feedback from the team, discuss what they have said about the employee. Celebrate success and allow them to address any negative comments.
Review previous objectives
Discuss whether or not the employee has hit their objectives from the previous appraisal meeting. If they haven’t, discuss why this might be. If they have, celebrate their success.
Talk about what the employee sees as their best achievements during the last period. Discuss the achievements you have recognised from them too.
Discuss any challenges or places for improvement that you have identified in the employee’s work. Allow them the chance to voice any concerns and barriers they have faced that have affected their work. Attempt to find a resolution and solution to overcome these obstacles.
Ask the employee what their goals are for the future. Review this alongside their goals from the previous appraisal meeting.
Set new objectives
Set new objectives for the next period. Remember, objectives should be SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based.
Opportunities for development could be linked to places for improvement or they could be used to expand the employee’s skills and knowledge to develop their role.
Any other feedback
Allow the employee the chance to discuss any extra feedback or ideas they have about the company’s way of working and practices.
Ensure that any actions are made clear, including who will be actioning them, e.g. the employee will look for personal development courses.