Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A Better IPR

For some of us, the annual appraisal runs the risk of being a hurried rush through the organisation’s IPR paperwork rather than a real conversation.  One UK survey by Investors In People found that 29% of staff view their appraisal as a waste of time.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Here are 5 tips on how to make the most out of the annual review meeting.

1. Have a real agenda
The best appraisal conversations are ones where you talk about the topics or issues that you really want to discuss.  So, tell each other a week or so in advance what those issues are (so you both have time to consider them - having some time to think in advance of the meeting is especially important for introverts).

2. Get your venue right
Anywhere but the manager’s office (too many distractions and potentially a feeling of end-of-term summons to the headteacher’s office).  Set the chairs at right-angles (at a table if you prefer) - this reduces the likelihood of your conversation turning into an argument.

3. “How are we going to collect feedback?”
It’s a good idea to agree between you who the manager could approach for feedback on how the appraisee is perceived.  This can be particularly helpful when the manager hasn’t seen a great deal of the appraisee’s work (because the manager is new in post or based in a different location), but also because it will provide a more balanced view of the individual’s performance.

4. It’s about the person, not the paperwork
It’s so easy to spend too much time in your meeting poring over the appraisal forms.  The best IPR meetings are those where each person actually looks at the other one and remembers that there is a fellow human being in the room with hopes, anxieties and ambitions.  If you get the rapport right the rest will follow.

5. Praise without patronising
It can be difficult to praise someone without sounding at least slightly patronising.  Instead of saying "well done!" (which implies that you are somehow sitting in judgement), you might say "I admire the way that you tackled that project".