Author Profile Picture

Bryan Edwards

ABC Training Solutions - off shelf training materials

Read more from Bryan Edwards

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Assessing Performance – the devil is in the detail


For many organisations, the annual performance review is just around the corner. This can be a formidable challenge for over-stressed managers with little time to complete the appraisal process. Assessing performance creates difficulties in getting the Appraiser and Appraisee to see ‘eye to eye’. When done right, the result can be a motivating experience for both parties. Done badly it can affect morale, productivity and relationships.

There are two main challenges when assessing performance:

- Defining the degrees of competence, rating staff over a multi-point scale i.e. obtaining a fair, honest, objective ‘picture’ of performance.

- Ensuring that the Appraisee sees the same ‘picture’ of performance that the appraising manager sees.

By their nature, appraisals are subjective. They are an opinion of how someone has performed. If a staff member feels that they have been rated unfairly, it can damage the credibility of the whole appraisal system. Part of the manager’s role is to justify the rating with examples of behaviour.

Possible questions to consider when assessing performance:

- How does the performance of this skill fit into the overall process?

- Has the team member consistently carried out this skill on a number of occasions, over a period of time, to the standard required?

- Can you think of specific behaviours you have observed that demonstrate this skill?

- Can they consistently achieve the skill to the speed and accuracy required?

- How important is this skill demonstrated to the overall performance of the job?

In appraisal skills training, I use the Waiter Ratings exercise to help managers assess ‘pictures of performance' by reviewing a waiter’s ability to take meal orders at a restaurant table. The exercise consists of powerpoint slides (with integrated trainer notes in the ‘Notes’ view) and a participant handout. The exercise is a free download at (see last two entries). Feel free to use/adapt.

The content above has been summarised from our fully designed, ready to deliver course material on Appraisal Skills.

Author Profile Picture
Bryan Edwards - off shelf training materials

Read more from Bryan Edwards

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!