April 2022 - Striven

How to Give Performance Appraisals That Inspire Employees to Grow

Many managers know the importance of giving performance appraisals but also find it a challenging task to accomplish. It can be difficult to be objective and constructive when critiquing someone’s position and responsibilities. Not only that: performance reviews have a big impact on motivation, and getting them wrong can be costly. 

Research shows that only 10.4% of employees whose manager’s feedback left them with negative feelings feel engaged at work. Four out of five began looking for a new job as a result. 

The goal of a performance appraisal should always be to help the employee improve as well as acknowledge their value to the company. With that in mind, here are some tips for giving appraisals that inspire employees to grow.

Why are performance appraisals necessary?

First of all—what is a performance appraisal?

Performance appraisals are a formal way of evaluating an employee’s work. They usually take the form of a meeting in which the employee and manager discuss the employee’s strengths and weaknesses and come up with a plan for how the employee can improve.

Performance appraisals are important because they provide feedback that allows employees to understand how they’re doing and where they need to grow in their position. They also help to establish a baseline against which future performance can be measured.

Performance appraisals are also great for boosting motivation because they provide a roadmap for growth in a role. Workers feel motivated when their progress is recognized, and when they feel their role within the organization has growth potential. Nobody likes to feel stuck. Quite often, an employee that seems lazy is just unmotivated—and that’s something you can fix.

employee performance evaluation

How to Give Performance Appraisals That Inspire Employees to Grow

Here are some actionable tips to help you provide feedback that will guide and motivate your employees

1. Start by setting the right tone

The way you approach a performance appraisal can make all the difference in terms of how the employee perceives it. If you go into the meeting with a critical attitude, the employee is likely to feel defensive and may not be willing to listen to your feedback and even hesitate to openly communicate.

On the other hand, if you start the meeting by praising the employee’s strengths, they’re more likely to be receptive to what you have to say. Frame the appraisal as an opportunity for growth, rather than a critique, and the employee will likely be more motivated to listen.

A positive reinforcement model can be used to spur employee growth. This means praising the employee for any steps they take towards improvement, even the small achievements.

2. Focus on personal growth over the business goals

While it’s important to discuss the employee’s role in relation to the business goals, remember that this is a personal growth opportunity for them. Help the employee to see how they can improve their skills and contribute more effectively to the team. 

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about the business at all; their personal goals should be given context. Also, help them to see their importance in the bigger picture—while letting the employee know that you are invested in their personal development.

3. Set expectations early on

It’s important to set expectations early on in the appraisal process. This means discussing what is expected of the employee during the meeting, and what you hope they’ll walk away with.

This also gives the employee a chance to prepare for the meeting so they can provide their input regarding how to improve.

4. Offer constructive and actionable feedback

One of the most important aspects of a performance appraisal is giving constructive feedback. This means providing feedback that is specific, actionable, and goal-oriented, rather than general comments like “you need to work harder.”

Make sure your feedback is relevant to the employee’s goals, and help them to see how they can improve their skills in the future.

Hearing critical feedback is always hard—but if you frame it positively and include a path forward for the employee, they’ll come away feeling motivated, rather than disheartened.

Delivering negative feedback can be difficult, but it’s important to do it in a way that inspires employees to grow. Here are a few tips:

  • Before giving any negative feedback, first praise the employee’s strengths
  • Don’t dwell too much on the past
  • Offer a positive to every negative

One of the best ways to give helpful feedback is to make sure that it’s relevant to the employee’s goals. Help them to see how their current skills can help them reach their goals, and provide concrete improvement steps.

When giving feedback, use the SMART framework—an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

smart business model to guide goals infographic

This makes it easier for the employee to get their head around what’s expected of them. It also provides them with a roadmap to get there, which helps to keep them motivated.

Using the SMART framework, you can easily track employee progress and if they are headed towards their goals.

5. Make negative feedback specific

When critiquing someone’s work, it’s important to be specific. Rather than saying “You need to work on your communication skills,” give examples of specific incidents where the employee could have communicated better.

This will help to paint a clear picture so the employee fully understands how to do their job better.

Here are two examples of highly specific feedback

– “This is the first time I’ve noticed you checking your phone during meetings. Is there anything going on in your personal life that requires your attention?”

– “In a team meeting, you addressed only one aspect of what someone said. Could you make sure to cover all sides? Here’s a way to do this that I find helpful…”

6. Work with relevant employee data

Using data can help to back up your feedback and provide the employee with concrete evidence of where they need to improve. Make sure your data is accurate—no one wants to be judged unfairly.

If you have access to relevant employee data, it can be helpful to use it during a performance appraisal. This could include things like their attendance record or how they’ve performed in relation to specific goals. Thankfully, there are tools available that can help to make the process of data collection and analysis easier.

Employee management tools and time-tracking platforms provide invaluable performance data that can be used in appraisals. It can also be used to assign tasks and track metrics—something that’ll come in extra handy the next time appraisal time rolls around.

Giving a performance appraisal does not have to be stressful, for you or your employees. When giving one, keep the above tips in mind to help ensure your performance appraisals are successful and inspire employees to grow.

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Striven Earns Top ERP Software Awards From 3 Gartner Subsidiaries

Striven, small to mid-market ERP software, was recently recognized as an industry-leading product by Gartner, Inc. Striven earned multiple awards through the three software search websites that comprise Gartner Digital Markets: Capterra, GetApp, and Software Advice.

Capterra, the world’s leading software reviews and selection platform, recognized Striven with five awards in the first quarter of 2022. Striven earned the Top Performer distinction for the ERP Software and Business Management Software categories, in addition to earning the Emerging Favorite distinction for Field Service Management Software, Professional Services Automation Software, and Accounting Software. 

GetApp, a provider of SaaS reviews for over 10 years, named Striven to five of its Category Leader lists: ERP, Accounting, Field Service Management, HR, and Professional Services Automation. 

Software Advice, a platform for personalized, expert software recommendations, gave Striven its Frontrunner distinction in the 2022 ERP Software category

As an all-in-one business management software, Striven succeeds in a variety of roles and functions in numerous industries. These accolades come as more organizations are pivoting toward fully cloud-based management solutions. Striven’s placement amongst the top ERP and business management software solutions underscores this growing and fast-moving trend.  

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) concept with icons. Production, human resources, inventory, CRM, sales, service, distribution, business process.

Striven serves core industries such as manufacturing, professional services, and field services. With a unified application that helps businesses better manage sales pipelines, financial data, and daily operations, Striven increases the overall efficiency and efficacy of business processes.

“Our entire team at Striven is honored and humbled by the kind words of our customers,” said Chris Miles, CEO of Miles Technologies, the company behind the development of Striven. “Striven was built to make a positive impact in the lives of business owners and employees each and every day—it’s why we do what we do. We’re so proud of all of the businesses that have utilized Striven to accomplish their goals, and we’re even more excited about what the future of Striven has in store. “

Customer service and support have helped Striven stand out in the North American ERP marketplace. The Striven Success Team works closely with every customer to accommodate their unique business needs.

To learn more about Striven and read about customer experiences using the platform, visit the company’s ratings and review page.

About Striven

Striven is an ERP software for SMBs that want to grow, simplify, and reduce costs. Striven combines all of the features for accounting, projects, sales, inventory, management, reporting, and more into a single streamlined system.