For those in management, it can feel like you spend most of your time either preparing for, doing or filing the paperwork after employee appraisals. But this doesn't have to be the case. If you streamline the process and the preparation you need to do, you can achieve everything in a much shorter time.
This will not only benefit you and other managers but also employees who will have more time to dedicate to their goals and are less likely to become disengaged with it.
Here is how to do an employee appraisal in less than 60 minutes:
Do appraisals regularly
It may sound counterintuitive to set time aside more frequently but it will save everyone time in the long run. Having bi-weekly or monthly meetings with each individual on your team means you can give timely feedback and you're less likely to need as much explanation about any problems or issues that an employee is struggling with. Doing "mini-appraisals" more frequently and then an employee review once a quarter or so allows managers to be able to offer timely support and reduces the time needed to discuss matters in the long run.
These chats may not last more than ten minutes, depending on how many issues there are to discuss. However, it's a great opportunity for a "check-in" with each employee to see how they're doing at work, check goal progress and see if there's anything you can help them out with.
If you have the right template in place, getting all the information you need to prepare for an appraisal shouldn't take long and will mean the meeting itself is much more streamlined. Noting any issues you're aware of, their goal progress documents and anything else that may be relevant will provide an agenda to the meeting. You can send this to employees beforehand so they have the opportunity to add or raise anything they want to.
Doing even this small amount of preparation will make it less likely that time is wasted during the appraisal, helping employees see the purpose of such meetings and how it impacts their career progression.
Focus on the positive
Giving positive feedback with specific examples will make it more likely that employees will engage with the appraisal process and want to have an honest discussion with you. This is crucial if you want these meetings to be effective and efficient. If appraisals become a manager's monologue, they are fairly pointless, so do everything you can to focus on the employee and their positive performance areas.
Of course, there will be recommendations or improvements that you want to see but this should be phrased as a way you can better support them and help them achieve their potential. Management should be based on an open and trusting relationship between you and individuals on the team, so focus on how the organization's leadership can make the most out of every employee.