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The Results are In! Staff Performance Appraisals: So who really does them & do they work?

Posted in Management @ Apr 25th 2013 - By Judy Gillespie
Performance Appraisal

Over the last two weeks members of the Vetanswers community have been having their say on Performance Appraisals via our brief online survey.

Here are the results..

Question: Do you do regular appraisals/discussion in your veterinary business?

Yes - 53%

Comment: The manager and senior staff discuss the performance of all staff members at least once a fortnight. Decisions on their future use in the business is made and then followed up in a short time span. We do not terminate but identify people who need help and also place people where we think the person can function best in our business. The person must demonstrate to us that they are capable of handling the area they are assigned to before we will move them into another area)

No - 47% 

Comment: More impromptu or on the run – NOT regular

The ‘Yes’ we do regular performance discussion respondents:

Question: How regularly do you do them?

Once a year - 62.5%

A few times a year - 25%

Quite irregularly - 12.5%

Question: Do you think the performance appraisals/discussions work – are they useful for both staff & managers?

Yes – 100%

No - 0%


It gives the employee as well as their managers a chance to discuss their performance, something that they would rarely get the opportunity to do. A chance to let us know how they think they are going, what their interests are and if they need more training or mentoring in certain areas.

They focus staff and managers and get both heading in the same direction.

I like to hear from my boss what areas she thinks I've done well in during the year, as well as what areas might need work. Her thoughts don't always match my opinion of the work I do, so knowing what I've done right/wrong is her eyes helps me focus on being a better team member.

Feedback is so important

It gets things out in the open but I find it never really changes the way vets or staff work.  i.e. they do not change for the better but I think without them you are completely in the dark.  Normally staff use them to voice their discontent but some positives can come out of them

As stated in the first question - these discussions allow management to put the right people in the right place to achieve the required outcome for our business

The ‘No’ we don’t do regular performance discussions respondents

Why don't you do performance appraisals or discussions? (Multiple responses allowed)

We don’t have time – 33%

I don’t think we know how to do them properly – 17%

Nobody is interested in doing them, we don’t see the point – 33%

I don’t know, it’s not my responsibility – 33%


In a small business you are constantly assessing performance

Boss hasn’t found them effective in the past

All Respondents:

What would help you to do them better, more regularly or even to start having performance discussions?

Get my boss on board

What would work for small staff numbers?

A short guideline readily available

Better planning, better time management.  Topics, aims, ideas with some gutsy details

Maybe not focus on any negatives and just ask for suggestions for positive improvement – if you just focus on negatives then it will be a negative discussion and unlikely to get away from backstabbing and discontent

So, what are the results telling us?

Over 50% of the respondents have regular performance discussions and the majority have these discussion once a year.  Interestingly though, 100% of those that do have regular discussions think that they work and are beneficial to both staff and managers. That's a pretty good recommendation!

So what would help all respondents improve their discussions or at least start having them regularly? It looks like some good, basic but useful resources on a performance management process could be what’s required. 

I do have a basic three step process that could be expanded: 1. Plan performance (establish standards, set goals); 2. Manage performance (ongoing feedback); and 3. Appraise performance (review & future planning).  All that needs to be done now is the whole process written up and the necessary forms developed - easy! 

Let me know in the comments section below if you would find this type of resource useful or if you have some great tips to share on performance management.


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