An employee performance appraisal is a vital business meeting that informs the parties involved about goals, results and overall workplace performance. An appraisal meeting includes the employee and his manager and may also involve a human resources representative or other supervisors depending on the organizational structure and the kind of performance appraisal being conducted. Performance appraisals are held on a regular basis, such as annually or quarterly, to ensure the employee is on track to meet his individual and company goals.


An appraisal meeting allows an employee and manager to discuss performance, goals and results.

Objective of an Appraisal Review

Appraisal meetings are held for several different reasons, but they have three specific functions within an organization:

  • Provide feedback on overall performance, strengths and weaknesses for a particular employee over a specific period of time.

  • Establish which areas the employee needs to improve and provide suggestions for how those changes can be made.

  • Align salary, bonus and incentives with the performance of the employee.

An appraisal meeting is an excellent touch point for managers and their teams. When open and honest dialogue is involved, managers can provide integral performance feedback to employees. Employees can learn more about how to contribute and add value to the organization. Plus, both parties can track how far the employee has progressed in meeting her goals.

Different Types of Appraisal Meetings

There are several different types of appraisal meetings. In most cases, the employee is required to evaluate himself first using a detailed self-appraisal form provided by the company. The manager also fills out a similar form prior to the appraisal meeting to evaluate the employee. Then, both parties discuss their evaluations together. Self-appraisal forms review an employee’s overall performance, technical skill set and progress toward goals.

A 360-degree performance evaluation method looks at the employee’s performance from a number of different angles. In addition to reviewing performance, skills and goals, this kind of evaluation also takes feedback from the employee’s colleagues, direct reports and nondirect managers. Leadership skills and character traits are also appraised in this kind of performance review. Trait-focused appraisals are used in company cultures that reinforce positive work ethic and evaluate employees on character traits such as helpfulness and dependability.

The management by objectives performance appraisal requires the employee to set specific goals and be judged by the progress. It’s a more quantitative approach to appraisal meetings. A ratings scale performance appraisal involves using a numerical system to grade employer-driven criteria, which can include performance, skills, character traits and more. The paired comparison appraisal compares every employee to all the other members of the team and is best for small teams with competitive cultures.

Performance Appraisal Tips for Small Businesses

Establish employee performance appraisals at regular intervals and provide employees and managers with ample time to prepare and conduct the meeting. Create a workplace culture where employees feel comfortable discussing their performance, weaknesses and strengths in an appraisal setting. Listen to the challenges the employees say they are facing and create plans to overcome those obstacles in the coming period.

Encourage managers to provide regular feedback to employees both in and out of the performance appraisal review setting. Whether in weekly meetings or just on the job, it’s important for managers to provide consistent and helpful feedback to help their team members succeed and add value to the business. Be sure to not only focus on areas needing improvement. It’s also critical to let employees know where they are succeeding and what they should continue doing in the workplace.

Always use appraisal meetings to establish goals for the next time period. When you’re done reflecting on the previous session’s goals, it’s important to decide how the employee can further grow and develop in her role. Consider her current career trajectory with the company and how that aligns with the goals of the business.