How often should you have employee appraisals?

4 min read  |   15 June, 2023   By Aimée Brougham-Chandler

A yellow background shows an abstract image of wooden cubes showing upward-pointing arrows, increasing in height. A hand places the final arrowhead block on the tallest cube pile on the right of the image.

There are many benefits to conducting regular performance appraisals.

They show your team that their career development is important, and that you're invested in their performance & engagement. 

But how often should SMEs hold employee appraisals? In this blog, we delve into creating an appraisal plan for your small business. 


How often should you have employee appraisals?

The frequency that you have appraisals depends on your organisation, and what your employees & business needs. Usually, appraisals more often than once a year are helpful to your people, to ensure regular feedback

Some companies run appraisals once a quarter, some once or twice a year. 


Is an annual employee appraisal enough?

How often appraisals are held is up to the individual business. Generally, it's a good idea to sit down with your team at least once in a 12-month period, to make sure you're on track with their progress & development

Some employers mightA manager's guide to delivering effective feedback. Read now. like having an annual process in place for feedback and employee appraisals, perhaps even considering it a HR tick-box exercise. Amongst some employers, it's not always clear that some employees might want a more agile and dynamic approach to feedback. The annual employee appraisal is not usually enough to build engaged & inspired teams in small businesses (especially if you don't have regular one-to-ones). 

Here are 3 steps that you can follow to ensure that your employees are getting the opportunities for personal development that they want and need.


Using appraisals to create a development plan for your SME

1. Find out what your employees want

It's a good idea to find out how often your team want feedback on this formal basis, and what they want to get out of appraisal-type meetings. It's unlikely that you'll find a one-size-fits-all approach - most people will want something different from this type of feedback, and that's fine. If your managers can understand the needs of their direct reports, then that's a good start. Breathe's manager's guide to delivering feedback can help with delivering feedback to your team. 


2. Understand your business capabilities

It's important to find a balance, by looking at what your employees want, in conjunction with the businesses requirements & capabilities. From here, you'll be able to devise a system that works for both parties. It’s no good if your staff want a large amount of weekly feedback and you don’t have the resources to provide them with that. It gives you scope to know where you need to grow your HR department or adapt the processes you use to give feedback.


3. Identify areas for training

There may be some areas within HR that you may not be the best at simply because you haven’t had to be. Identify areas for training such as how to deliver feedback or conducting effective employee appraisals and make sure you invest the time. 


Career development within your SME

To help your team grow & remain engaged, it's a good idea to have discussions around career development. Our free downloadable career development template can help you to structure conversations with your employees about the next steps they'd like to take in their career journey. 


Author: Aimée Brougham-Chandler

An IDM-certified Digital Copywriter as of February 2023, Aimée is Breathe's Content Assistant. With a passion for guiding readers to solutions for their HR woes, she enjoys delving into & demystifying all things HR: From employee performance to health and wellbeing, leave to company culture & much more.

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