Many firms will be starting their annual performance appraisals, an important aspect of the fit and proper certification process and a critical tool in employee engagement. Despite being a key part of a line manager’s role, many have not been trained in the art of providing objective feedback and, in the hands of someone who is inexperienced or uncomfortable in this situation, the employment relationship can be damaged. Delivering negative feedback is never easy but there are ways to make the conversation constructive:

  • Appraisal feedback should not be a complete surprise: has there been a previous conversation about any failings in conduct or capability?
  • Don’t sidestep the issue – be direct but fair;
  • Make sure your opinions and comments are related to specific, observed situations and avoid generalisations;
  • Avoid comments like “you need to change your attitude”, this is a direct attack on the ego and will likely make the appraisee defensive; and
  • Offer constructive advice such as “you need to direct more of your efforts towards achieving x.”

When the competition for top talent is so fierce, there is a greater need to make your feedback process an employee retention and engagement tool – so make sure your managers are ‘appraisal-fit’.

If you have any queries or concerns about your process, contact the Trivium HR team on