Effective staff appraisals

Staff appraisals provide an opportunity for a conversation between an employee and line manager to review and plan the employee's performance

A common factor seen in top-performing farms is the consistent management of people and their performance. This can take various forms, but many farms find they can increase staff motivation and performance via staff appraisals. By doing so, it can help ensure employees have all the necessary training and materials they require, and it provides an opportunity to invest one-to-one time in them.

Staff appraisals can also help identify the star performers who are capable and ready to take on a promotion, and give useful feedback on how to improve the business and its processes.

The appraisal process

  1. Brief staff:

    Make sure they understand the importance of the appraisal as a two-way conversation about their work and future development. Show them the forms beforehand so they don’t have any concerns about the areas to be covered. Consider asking them to complete the form initially as a self-assessment, to be talked through in the appraisal meeting.

  2. Prepare:

    Consider the timing and location of appraisal meetings – would it be beneficial to hold them off-site? Is there a best point in the year to start them? Consider beforehand how you might put across feedback constructively; there are articles and videos online to help with this. Look at job descriptions to review their performance against the tasks specified. Take time to observe them in the workplace, to learn more about how they interact with others and carry out their duties. Gather data about production outputs, if relevant to your business, and past review notes.

  3. Meet:

    Ensure you counteract any distractions (e.g. mobile phones on silent, no emails) – this should be a focused one-on-one meeting with enough time allowed for lengthy conversations, if required. Build rapport with your employee by mirroring their body language – this can subconsciously help to put them at ease and open up the conversation. Use constructive feedback rather than criticising and blaming. If you have a specific concern you need to raise that may not be taken well, try to wrap it up with positive comments and observations, both before and afterwards.

  4. Monitor:

    Book regular reviews at points during the production cycle, to monitor any targets and improvements discussed in the appraisal. Ensure you follow up on actions agreed during the appraisal meeting, e.g. book training and keep promises. Repeat the process!


We recently held a webinar about running staff appraisals in more depth.  This covered:

  • Why it’s vital to hold regular appraisals for your staff
  • How to implement effective appraisals within your business
  • Tips to consider when running the appraisal interviews and giving feedback

Appraisal templates

Download templates below to use in your business:

Appraisals checklist

Appraisal form

Skills profile