This is the opportunity to step out of the day to day, review the past and plan for the future.

An annual review done well can have a profoundly positive effect on employee motivation and satisfaction.

1. Aim of appraisal

The overall aim of an appraisal is to maximise an individual effectiveness and potential and target their efforts towards the achieving parish objectives (e.g. the parish mission plan).

2. Objectives of appraisal

  • to improve communication and motivation
  • to raise standards of performance and efficiency
  • to strengthen employee/management relationships
  • to identify learning and development needs
  • to assess potential and assist in progression planning
  • to maintain up-to-date records of qualifications, skills and abilities.

3. The appraisal

This is made up of three stages:

  • preparation
  • the discussion
  • follow-up

4. Preparation

Let the employee know the date and time of their meeting (give some notice). Take some time to look through the appraisal form and fill in this information on a draft (a template form can be found at the foot of this page).

Review the job description, note how it has evolved or changed over the previous year. Also look at any previous appraisals which have taken place.

In advance of the meeting, advise the employee to be as thorough as possible in their preparation, this will help their meeting run as smoothly as possible. Advise them that they should spend some time self-appraising their successes, progression and any training needs. Ensure they have a copy of their job description and the previous year’s appraisal. They may want to make their own notes on a clean copy of the appraisal form. These, together with your own preparations, can form the basis for your discussions.

Within your own preparation, look back at the employee’s overall performance during the last 12 months and the objectives from the previous year. Support your views with evidence, so that your judgement can be seen to be as objective as possible.

5. The discussion

Remember the discussion should be appraisee driven and the ‘No Surprises’ rule i.e. nothing surprisingly new should be raised at your discussion. Your role is to listen to the evidence, clarify and add information.

Start the meeting with a quick discussion regarding job clarification – review and update their job description specifically focus on the aim of the role, areas of importance and how the role has grown.

There are some appraisal templates on the ACAS website.

Areas for conversation:

Performance review (looking back)

Talk through a review of past performance, cover successes achieved and areas identified for improvement. When considering past performance you should give examples of behaviours, actions and results demonstrating actual performance against the relevant objectives.

Performance planning (looking forward)

Formulate a set of objectives with reference to the operational plan and the individual’s strengths. Keep objectives SMART i.e. specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time orientated.

Development review (looking back)

Think about any relevant skills gained and development undertaken. What impact did this development have and how was the individual’s learning maximised?

Development planning (looking forward)

Discuss any learning and development needs, how and when these will be addressed and the measures for success. It is important to gain the employee’s commitment whilst maintaining a balance between motivating them and ensuring their expectations are not raised unrealistically.

How you feel about work

This is a chance for the individual to talk about how they feel at work and may include, what most engages them and how they view the impact of their work on others and in the greater scheme of things.

Personal Objectives

This are should include future objectives and targets with an action plan of how these will be achieved, performance indicators/success criteria that may be used and dates for achievement.


At the conclusion of the meeting, show the completed form to the employee and invite them to make comments, these should be summarised and noted on the form. You should also note your own comments and both parties should sign and date the form to indicate agreement on the review and the future plan. Note any concerns the employee may have about the appraisal on the form. Don’t ask the employee to sign an incomplete form.

6. The follow-up

Once the appraisal discussion has been concluded, the original completed and signed the appraisal form should be kept confidentially on the individuals file. You should copy the form to the employee.

Arrange at least one follow-up meeting, midway through the year, with your member of staff to review their progress in achieving their objectives. You should note if any objectives have changed and new objectives should be agreed to reflect changes in circumstances. Do not wait for the next formal appraisal discussion before taking action.

Put into effect any agreed development solutions e.g. job shadowing, training course, job rotation etc. You should ensure that employees are kept informed especially if initial plans are subsequently changed.

Please remember that the completed appraisal forms should be viewed as working documents and, as such, should be continually referred to and reviewed during the year.

Finally, it is important that the employee understands that it is their responsibility to ‘own’ and drive forward their objectives and development plan and it is for them and you, as their manager, to support them in making this happen.