Performance appraisals – making the first step easy

Don’t make the mistake of thinking all performance appraisals are a waste of time. They’re not; and can be a positive experience for managers and staff. Let’s make performance appraisals a positive experience for managers and staff. And at the same time ensure people are motivated and know what they are supposed to do and how they will be appraised.


Psychologist Peter Quarry has done a lot of work in the area and has developed a way to reinvent appraisals that seems obvious yet is often overlooked. Let’s do the first step today and next week follow up with the next step.


We know that setting a goal will help you to achieve success, and at work people need to know the goal of their role or job or project. Sounds simple enough, but strangely it doesn’t always happen because people think that the goal is implicit in the job title.


Having a specific goal in your job helps you to know where you fit in to the overall organisation.

You know what is expected of you. Having goals is more likely to encourage effort to achieve high levels of performance.


But the really great thing about a job goal is it enables a fair basis on which to appraise your performance. Goals take the guesswork out of performance appraisals. Once you have goals, you can determine key result areas then specific performance standards.



An overall goal for a person’s job is a starting point for the planning process (see last week’s blog Performance appraisals – love and hate). It sets the main direction after which more detailed planning can happen.


It is done collaboratively with manager and staff member agreeing on the goal. For some this may happen in the job interview before the person even commences on the job.


Quarry has established a simple formula for writing up the overall goal. All you do is fill in the blanks explaining what the person is responsible for and why.


The (job title……………) is responsible for ……………………(what) (why).

The why is critical for motivation, and too often people are bored and unmotivated because they don’t know or understand why their role is important – despite the fact that it seems so obvious to management.


Here is an example:

The Administrative Assistant, Hydraulic Repairs Team, is responsible for
(WHAT) ensuring all administrative support tasks are satisfactorily conducted
(WHY) so the hydraulic team can complete all repair work on time and within the budget to meet its customers’ expectations.

Play Click here to see the video Setting The Overall Goal




Psychologist Eve Ash is managing director of Seven Dimensions and co-producer with Peter Quarry of the Ash.Quarry Productions video Setting the Overall Goal (Reinventing Appraisals Series)

For more Eve Ash blogs, click here.



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