What makes an appraisal fail – Managing difficult appraisals

Our Managing difficult appraisals course deals mainly with the difficulties that arise when we are appraising employees who are substandard in performance, behaviour or attitude. This type of interview needs to be handled well if the manager is to make the best of the performance appraisal. Handled badly and both manager and employee may walk away frustrated and demotivated. Handled well and a highly productive meeting can reinvigorate a poorly performing employee.

Why do appraisal systems fail?

Despite the considerable benefits to be gained, not all appraisal systems are found to be effective.

The main reasons for failure to achieve the desired results are:

a)      lack of clear commitment to the process from the to

b)      lack of management commitment

c)      one or both parties being unaware of the format and aims of the interview

d)      lack of training for appraisers and appraisees

e)      lack of emphasis on employee involvement in the appraisal process

f)       lack of reference to business objectives when designing the appraisal process

g)      making the appraisal process overly complicated and onerous

h)      an unclear definition of the appraisee’s job

i)        subjectivity

j)        biased or incomplete data

There are other reasons why some managers are against appraisal or do not like doing them, including:

  • dislike of the interview situation
  • lack of time
  • confrontational nature of the interview
  • embarrassment if the appraisee is substandard
  • hard work preparing for the interview
  • not knowing how to structure the interview
  • thinking they can’t make accurate assessments of people.

This course should allay the fears of managers who have lists such as the one above in their minds. If the appraisal interview is designed properly, if both you and the appraisee understand the purposes and plan of the interview, if clear guidelines are given for assessing the appraisee, then perhaps managers will take a more positive attitude to appraisal. The purpose of this course is to allay the fears and quieten the protests of managers who, for one reason or another are against appraisal interviewing. If both parties are made fully aware of the benefits of appraisal, then the traditional notion of the appraisal interview as a regular chore can be eliminated and replaced with a more positive attitude.

The most critical factor is to gain the commitment of those who will be involved in implementing the appraisal process. If they do not believe in the appraisal system it cannot succeed.

Managing the difficult appraisal Course

The course is designed to give delegates many practical tips and techniques and help them get the best out of every performance appraisal.

Managers will learn how to:

  • Deliver feedback to someone who thinks they have performed higher than they have
  • Deal with sickness issues effectively
  • How to manage very negative or disruptive staff
  • Handle confidently issues regarding staff reduction with no reduction in workload
  • How to positively communicate with an appraisee who disagrees with feedback

Managing the Difficult Appraisal Course Agenda



Introduction/course aims and objectives

  • Understanding the appraisal process
  • Benefits of constructive appraisals
  • Reasons for ineffective appraisals
  • The interview structure and essential appraisal preparation
  • Setting the scene and relaxing the appraisee

11.00-11.15 – Break


Reviewing past performance constructively

  • How to give negative feedback constructively
  • How to discuss difficult issues sensitively
  • Appraising the employee with attitude and behavior issues
  • Using praise to disarm difficult appraisees

Setting clear and realistic objectives

  • Understanding the power of SMART objectives and effective follow-up



How to avoid appraisal pitfalls

  • Managing inefficiency and poor performance
  • Tackling attitude and behaviour issues
  • Dealing with non-responsive and aggressive employees
  • Handling appraisees who don’t react well to negative criticism
  • Giving feedback to appraisees who don’t believe they have any faults
  • Handling issues raised regarding performance-pay


Follow through post appraisal

  • Handling the reactions of the difficult conversation
  • Follow through and managing the relationship after the meeting
  • Course close and paperwork

Why choose Total Success for your training?

  • our lead trainers have over 18 years experience in training
  • a maximum of 8 delegates means more time spent on individual needs
  • we guarantee to run the course and will never cancel at the last moment
  • free subscription to our monthly training newsletter
  • All open courses are trained in Central London at the St Giles Hotel.

Each delegate receives a comprehensive training workbook that doubles as an open course manual. Courses run from 9.30-5.30 with lunch and refreshments provided.

In-Company Courses

Each organisation has its own specific way of planning, organising, conducting and evaluating the performance appraisal process. Total Success have developed a series of in-house training modules. These are designed so that an organisation can pick the training which is more applicable to its own needs and budget.

The training subjects and recommended timings are shown below. You are able to choose the training sessions and build your own course within an agreed course schedule.

The benefits to you are:

  • The course fits your organisational needs exactly
  • You are able to set courses which are more applicable to different departments and groups within your organisation
  • You can plan the course to fit your budget
  • You are more in control of the course content

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