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Factsheet:

Performance appraisal

Resource summary

This factsheet was last updated in August 2015.

What is performance appraisal?

Performance appraisal (or performance review) is a process for individual employees and those concerned with their performance, typically line managers, to discuss their performance and development, as well as the support they need in their role. It’s used to both assess recent performance and focus on future objectives, opportunities and resources needed.

While performance appraisal is an important – and often contested – part of performance management, in itself it is not performance management: rather, it’s one of a range of tools that can be used to manage performance. Performance management is a holistic process bringing together many activities that collectively contribute to the effective people management and organisational performance. The process is strategic, in that it’s about broader issues and long-term goals, and integrated in that it links various aspects of the business, people management, individuals and teams.

Because performance appraisal is usually carried out by line managers rather than HR professionals, it's important that they understand their role in managing performance and how performance appraisal contributes to the overall aims of performance management. CIPD research stresses the importance of a positive relationship between individuals and line managers. Carried out sensitively, the performance appraisal is an important vehicle in developing and maintaining this relationship.

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  • What is performance appraisal?
  • Approaches to performance appraisal
  • How to review performance
  • Appraisal skills
  • CIPD viewpoint
  • References
  • Further reading

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