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Appraisals and performance reviews: how to prepare

Constructive appraisals and performance reviews

Constructive meetings give you the opportunity to discuss your achievements, challenges and expectations. They also allow you to raise any issues outside of your control that might impact on your performance, such as staffing levels or system failures. During the meeting, you should expect the following:

  • Your manager should listen and acknowledge your views and you should both agree the objectives, the expected outcomes and any support or training.
  • Time should be set aside for both parties to reflect and analyse any issues raised. If a serious one-off incident has occurred, a separate formal meeting should be arranged under the capability and performance policy.
  • Achievements should be recognised and encouraged.
  • The meeting should end positively with an agreed action plan and the next review meeting date agreed.
  • Your line manager should send you the notes of the meeting or you may be asked to complete and sign a standardised review or one-to-one form.
  • No disciplinary penalty or sanction should be imposed a result of issues discussed during the informal performance review meeting.
  • Mitigating circumstances or contributing factors should be considered and support made available where appropriate - especially if the issues are related to ill health and disability.
  • Any performance or capability concerns that arise out of performance review meeting should be addressed under the relevant policies and procedures. Please check your employer’s local policies for more detailed information. See our advice guide on capability and performance reviews for more information.

A poor performance review meeting can feel negative, with the focus on any failures or omissions. Often you will find:

  • there is no two-way conversation – the meeting is controlled by the line manager
  • the meeting ends with disagreement between line manager and employee
  • you leave you feeling disengaged or de-motivated
  • issues or concerns are ignored; unrealistic or unachievable objectives or time frames are set
  • there is insufficient support, supervision, coaching or re-training offered or available
  • there is a failure or refusal to consider or implement any reasonable adjustments requested for those protected under the Equality Act 2010.

Firstly, check any policies and guidance that your employer may have to ensure you are familiar with the appraisal process. This can include how any objectives or personal development plans are assessed. You may also want to consider the following:

  • How you have performed in the role since the last review meeting?
  • What was expected in the last review period? Did you achieve it?
  • Have there been any challenges/obstacles that prevented you from meeting your objectives?
  • Are there any local practices or system failures outside of your control, that impact on your ability to meet the agreed objectives and/or timeframes, for example unsustainable pressures due to high demand, sickness and/or staff shortages?
  • Can you provide examples to evidence your claims?
  • How can you demonstrate your competency and/or achievements?
  • Can you identify specific behavioural competencies that demonstrate excellence, for example leading and developing others or self-awareness?
  • Can you quantify any outputs or patient/client satisfaction?
  • Do you need any development or support in your current role?
  • What type of support or development will help you improve performance or build on strengths, for example mentorship or coaching?
  • Have you articulated how you feel about the role, your personal objectives and aspirations?
  • Make notes in advance to refer to during the meeting and consider any evidence you may have to support your achievements or development, if relevant, that you can refer to during your meeting.

See our advice guide on capability and performance reviews for more information about informal and formal capability procedures. This also includes information about pay progression and performance review and when to get in touch with us for support.

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Page last updated - 26/02/2024