Promises and relationships are important for employee retention. It might be a yearly affair but if one fails to see the importance of an appraisal, the employer-employee relationship can be destroyed. 
An appraisal is not simply a report card and monetary increment, but a session to build up an employee’s loyalty and respect. There are 3 L’s which I personally feel is important. 

Look, listen and learn. 

Look at your employee in the eye. It is the most basic respect that one should have cultivated, and should always be given to your employee. This will encourage conversations by removing the unfamiliarity barrier, building up your relationship with them. Multi-tasking during an appraisal, staring at your computer, will only give your employee the impression that you are uninterested in his/her growth in your company. This simple gesture has the biggest impact for ensuring an effective appraisal. 

Listen. This can only be done once you’ve achieved in destroying the barrier between you and your employee. When an employee opens up to you during an appraisal, listen to their aspirations and complaints. They are no different from you, with unique needs and goals in mind. It might be a chore due to the numerous staffs in your company, but listening to each of their wants allow you to understand how you can help them with their growth. Never assume you know what is best for your employee, or placing him/her in an area whereby you require the manpower. This only shows that your interest is in the company, and the growth of your staff is not important. In addition, by listening to what they have to say gives you an idea of the working environment that is cultivated in their daily lives. When we talk about teamwork or healthcare delivery efficiency, it all boils down to the type of employees hired and the company’s culture. (This will be another topic I’d discuss about in the near future.) A good working environment is always a key consideration for employee retention. 

Every individual is different no doubt, however there’s one key feature that can be said to exist in most. When an employee feels that the company has their interest at heart, it builds up loyalty. And this can be easily achieved by simply listening. 
Lastly, learn from the annual sessions. Appraisals allows you to gather information about your employee’s progress and environment so discuss with them on how things can be improved. Most individuals usually have a solution in mind, whereby it comes in a form of, “I wish things were this instead“. By discussing their observations and ways for improvement, you are actually learning more about your company’s culture and underlying problems. Thus, it would be easier to focus on areas that needs correction. 

Learning also comes in a form whereby you constantly learn how to perform an appraisal that is unique to each individual. When you learn an employee’s objective, your appraisal shouldn’t be based on the generic guidelines provided, but according to the individual’s strengths.   

In conclusion, a company is nothing without people. Look at your employees, listen to them, and keep learning from the annual sessions. Respect the appraisals, respect the relationship. 


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