Having trouble watching this video? Click here if the video isn't loading.

In order to review performance you must first understand what the stages of competency are, keep in mind that those employees newer in the post may not initially have the same competence as someone with more experience. This does not mean that they do not have unique skills and attributes.

Remember that the entire point in performance appraisals is to help the employee to develop their skills and confidence. In doing this we must understand individual performance and set tangible goals for improvement.

Let’s take some time to look at competence, there is a curve known as the Learning Curve and Competence Curve.

All individuals will be somewhere on this curve, let’s start at the bottom and work our way up;
• Un-Consciously Incompetent - This is often where individuals are new to a job and they don’t know what they are doing wrong!
• Consciously Incompetent - This is the next stage and covers where errors have been found and individuals know that they are making mistakes but they don’t know how to fix them!
• Consciously Competent - This is the next stage which is where individuals know that they are competent in doing their job.
• Un-Consciously Competent - This is the best stage of all, this is where you are competent in the work you do and you just get on and do the job without thinking too much about it.

Understanding where you fit in this competency scale is fundamental to improvement. Using the evidence obtained earlier this information needs to be discussed in a constructive way. Let’s look at how we do this.

When giving feedback this must be well intended and considered before delivery. Appraisals provide an opportunity to explore how development can be achieved. Whilst this session relates to the employee specifically it is important to remember that there are two individuals involved in this process and feedback is equally important for both parties.

Firstly I must clarify that there is no such thing as good and bad feedback. Feedback is a positive tool used to both recognise something done well and to provide an opportunity to develop. Therefore feedback is referred to as ‘motivational’ and ‘developmental’. Feedback is a gift given from one person to another, remember that if a person didn’t want you to improve they would not take the time to give you feedback.

When giving feedback you need to be clear in the examples that you give and consistent with the information given. Always begin with something positive and provide tangible examples of good performance. This is to ensure that the employee feels like the meeting isn’t just about raising problems.

When giving development feedback try to give this on something that you have observed, use the word ‘I’ an example would be ‘I feel that….’ Or ‘I have observed you…’ A good tip is to ask the employee how they feel about the issue that you wish to discuss before you give your feedback.

It's best to use feeling words such as appreciate, relieved rather than judgmental words such as good, bad, right and wrong.

You should always refer to particular instances of observed behaviour rather than generalising. For example ‘I get angry when you interrupt me when I am half way through an explanation’ is less effective than ‘when we discuss an issue often I have not finished before you interrupt me, this is an obstacle that we need to address to ensure that our communication is more effective’. The words used here relate to a specific example observed by the line manager and gives joint ownership by using the words ‘we’ to resolve the matter.

Offer help and assistance throughout the discussion ask ‘what can you do to help’?
As the receiver of feedback, you need to appreciate that the feedback is based on the opinion of that person and that something you have done has made them feel that way. Feedback is personal and you have no right to disagree with the feelings and thoughts of another person.

You should always take feedback on board, even if you don’t agree or if it is difficult to hear. Be professional and say ‘thank you’ to that individual for taking the time to give you feedback. Consider your body language, this should not be defensive but should show that you are listening.

If you don’t understand the feedback then ask for clarification so that you are able to consider areas for improvement. If you are unsure how to develop then ask how you could improve, this will open up a dialogue and form the basis of an effective discussion.
Once you have given this feedback focus on what you want to see going forward and that you want to move on from any previous issues.

Giving feedback is not difficult if you follow the rules of considering your response and how to structure conversations before you attempt to have these discussions.