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The need for effective appraisals

by in Appraisals, GP Practice Management, Staff

Appraisals are an essential part of your role, and are vital for the development of your team. The NHS constitution requires organisations to provide staff with clear roles and responsibilities, opportunities for personal development and line management, to support them to succeed.[1] Integral to this requirement is the need for appraisals or what some people may refer to as performance reviews. Whatever your preference, one thing is for certain, they are a necessity!

I liken appraisals to leaders; you’ll always remember the good ones – that is, the ones who stand out from the rest – but you’ll also never forget the bad ones. Bearing this in mind, it’s now time to understand why appraisals are so significant. Firstly, staff appraisals aren’t unique, stand-alone events; they form part of an ongoing process of performance management. If you think an appraisal is merely an annual occurrence which you can complete within an hour, think again!

There are many objectives of the appraisal process, with the main objective being to review the employee’s performance whilst identifying their potential. Focusing on objectives, it may be preferable to conduct ‘mini’ appraisals – that is, an appraisal on a monthly or quarterly basis – as this will help you (as a manager) to gather feedback and also it will enable you to identify any development requirements for the member of staff.

You may decide, however, to conduct another type of mini appraisal, and opt for Management by Objectives (MBOs) where you, along with the staff member, will set mutually agreed SMART objectives which are to be achieved and reviewed within a specified time frame (it’s not uncommon to have a quarterly review period for MBOs).

But why are appraisals so important? Well, within your practice an effective appraisal process or system can improve communication as it generates regular dialogue between managers and staff members, encouraging feedback which is a key component of the communication process. Additionally, appraisals help the individual to assess their own performance and determine what they must do to achieve their objectives. They can also enhance staff performance, improve morale and, ultimately, enhance the patient experience.

Getting it right is key. It’s essential that you as a manager know who’s to be appraised, when they’re to be appraised, who the appraiser is, and the format for the appraisal. Now you know why it’s a continual process and not a quick, one-off task! Both the appraiser and appraisee will need time to prepare for the appraisal if the process is to be wholly effective.

Don’t forget that it’s a requirement of the revalidation process for nurses to have an annual appraisal, and for your GPs, annual appraisal is fundamental in demonstrating their fitness to practise.

So if, having read this, you’re wondering about the appraisal process at your practice, maybe it’s time to review your process?

If that’s the case, have a look at the Appraisal Documentation [PLUS], which is a comprehensive document that will enable both the appraiser and appraisee to effectively prepare for the appraisal and also for the appraiser to conduct the appraisal with confidence whilst ensuring that the appraisal accurately assesses performance.

PLUS members can find more assistance on appraisals here

[1] NHS Employers – Appraisals


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