Appraisals – Emphasise Time For You

Appraisals should not be simply an annual process but an ongoing discussion between line manager and staff throughout the year. Research confirms that members of staff really value the one-to-one time they spend with their line manager – both to catch up formally in respect of performance and development, for which we use the Performance Development Review or the appraisal documentation, and less formally to get to know each other and also how to get the best out of each other.

Whilst we accept that we are all busy, and it can be difficult to find the time, we are asking you to invest just one hour, twice a year, to have a guided conversation with each of your staff. The meeting should focus on them – not just their performance. 45-60 minutes should be planned and committed to without interruption in at agreed points during the appraisal year.

Personal Dev. 2

This template has been developed to provide you with a starting point – much better than a blank sheet of paper – but you will soon discover that you don’t need anything to prompt you.

Before the meeting inform your team member about it and ask them what areas they would like to discuss. You can use three of the behaviours linked to developing active Employee Engagement as a prompt:

Does my line manager…

  • Know me?
  • Care about me?
  • Focus me?

Ask your team member to select one or two areas they wish to focus on. Doing this is important as it provides them with a level of control over the meeting.  Don’t forget that this meeting is about them.

Think about the questions you might ask (some example prompt questions are provided for each behavioural area). Think about what you want to achieve and what will help you and your team member to develop a stronger working relationship.

Example Questions:

Does my line manager… Know me?
  • What made you join the organisation?
  • What keeps you here?
  • What elements of your work do you enjoy most?
  • What are your strengths and what do you do really well?
  • Which areas of your work do you find challenging?
Post meeting manager reflection:
How can I fully appreciate this person’s strengths and help them to make the most of their strengths at work?


Does my line manager… Care about me?
  • What are your career aspirations and how can I help you to achieve them?
  • Will you find it easy to tell me when something is bothering or worrying you, or do I need to ask?
  • What is the best way for us to work together?
  • How often should we meet?
Post meeting manager reflection:
How can I develop an effective coaching relationship with this person?


Does my line manager…Focus me?
  • What do you want to accomplish in your role in the next 6 months?
  • What do you think exceptional performance looks like?
  • Tell me about the best recognition you’ve ever received.         Why was it satisfying?
  • How do you like to receive praise and recognition, a quite thank you or in front of peers?
Post meeting manager reflection:
How can I help this person find greater involvement and fulfilment in their role?


For more examples of great questions to use during one-to-one discussions with staff, visit:
Great Appraisal Questions

Try it and see how your staff respond!