Performance Appraisals – a valuable tool for staff development

Do you perform regular performance appraisals or reviews in your workplace? Do you think your team members view their performance review as an important aspect of their career development, or do you feel that you may be missing opportunities to get the very best from your team?

The skills required to develop and run an effective and positive appraisal system are skills that are learnt, developed and practised, and the appraisal process needs to be shaped and adapted to your individual team and practice requirements.

Yet many practice leaders find themselves in this position of responsibility of team development, without necessarily possessing the tools to help them, and appraisals can, at worst, turn into a negative experience for staff, where only staff weaknesses are highlighted and discussed, and the opportunities for progression missed.

Team members may dread their appraisal, and the team leader may dread holding them! In fact the opposite should be true, they really can be a wonderful tool that can transform team outlook.

The performance appraisal system is a fundamental component in developing your staff

It allows review of the individual progress of your team members, to identify any areas that can be worked on and improved, yes; but also to offer the opportunity to build on team member strengths and characteristics, so that they can be developed and nurtured.
You may be missing a key characteristic of one or many of your team members that could be an asset to the practice, and would also help that team member to feel more engaged in their role, keen to learn more in a particular area, and to feel happier and more satisfied in their job. Unless opportunity is given for these interests to be discovered and discussed, they may never be utilised.

Discover and follow up opportunities

Maybe you have a nurse, for example, who has a strong interest in ongoing nursing care of geriatric patients. Currently they may only see one or two geriatric patients a month in routine nurse clinics. Offer them the opportunity to develop this, and they may go on to do geriatric specific CPD, create a geriatric care package, improving care of these patients in your practice, increasing revenue, and creating ‘talk’ amongst clients about how great this service is. Leave it uncovered and this interest will never be aired, and your staff member may move to another practice where his or her ambitions may be better fulfilled. It only takes a simple conversation, some guidance and support, opportunity for further review – all of which can be a part of that appraisal process.

Align team members’ goals with those of your practice

Another key part of the appraisal process is to set out aims and objectives for staff members, that also align with your practice goals, and this is also a key component in developing not only your team, but your practice. It is clear to see that if staff members goals or career aims are in alignment with the practice’s future plans, then this is going to have a more positive outcome for both parties! We discuss this further in another article.

Take your skills a step further

You may well already be carrying out appraisals with your team, and if you are already in a leadership role, then that is very likely (hopefully!) to be true – but to ensure you’re getting the very best out of this opportunity, why not explore it in a little more depth?

ONCORE’s course which forms part of their Leadership and Management Skills series, is entitled ‘Performance Appraisals – supporting staff development.’ Run over 3 weeks, the course allows participants to look at current systems, examine the skills and processes that will help make them even better, and create useful guidance and documentation to take back to the workplace. ONCORE courses allow for discussion, sharing of experiences and for a personalised learning experience – allowing you to join up with other practice team leaders and share issues and solutions, but also to create something from the course that will work in your individual practice.

Article written by Jill Macdonald