Performance Appraisal Software isn’t just about appraisals

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min read
June 6, 2024
Two people having a conversation

Are annual appraisals still important?

Answer: It depends. For many, the word appraisal conjures up images of top-down long-winded and irrelevant assessments from disinterested managers who feel like they need to tick the box. While many companies are evolving to continuous performance management – and this is a good thing – there is still a place for an annual conversation whether you label it an annual appraisal, annual review, annual reflection or anything else.

We know that employees want more frequent feedback: research from Gallup found that employees should be recognised for great work about once a week. As younger people enter the workforce, this statistic is compounded; another study found that 66% of Generation Z want check-ins from their manager during the week. 

In this context what is the role of the annual appraisal? As we’ve discussed on our podcast, Navigating Performance Management, an annual appraisal is still valuable. Here’s why:

  • An annual appraisal or review is a way to hold space for reflection and consider how far an employee has come in the last 12 months.
  • It’s an opportunity to discuss longer term career and development goals with a manager.
  • It offers time to share the business’ achievements in the last year, and elements of the business plan for the year ahead that will feed into objectives.
  • It’s an ideal time to consolidate feedback from weekly or monthly check -ins using information collated by your performance appraisal system.

Of course, the annual appraisal is just one type of performance conversation and should be woven into an ongoing programme of performance management.

What is a performance conversation?

A performance conversation can take many forms from an informal 1:1 on a weekly basis to an annual appraisal or performance improvement conversation. For more thoughts on what constitutes a performance conversation, have a listen to episode 1 of our podcast, Navigating Performance Management where we talk about different types of performance conversation and how they can be supported by performance appraisal software. In summary, performance conversations and performance appraisal methods include:

  1. Annual appraisals: A once-a-year reflection that consolidates feedback and performance information from the previous 12-month period. An opportunity to discuss long-term goals, achievements and career development.
  2. Mid-Year Reviews: A mid-point check-in to assess progress toward annual goals or objectives. An opportunity to make any adjustments to goals in line with changes to the business plan and address any emerging issues.
  3. Quarterly Reviews: These are more frequent reviews intended to keep performance on track or make quick course corrections. These are less formal than an annual appraisal, annual review or mid-year review and are an opportunity to discuss short-term goals, ongoing projects and to gather timely feedback.
  4. Monthly or weekly check-ins or 1:1s: These are regular, informal touchpoints to express gratitude, maintain alignment and address any issues promptly. These conversations are part of an ongoing dialogue between a manager and employee and are an opportunity to talk about daily tasks, offer support and provide feedback.
  5. Real-Time Feedback: Provides immediate feedback on specific actions or behaviours. This could be as simple as asking a team member how they thought a meeting went then offering some constructive feedback. Real-time feedback is an opportunity for quick reinforcement or adjustment.
  6. Developmental conversations: These can sometimes form part of the annual appraisal process though sometimes a separate meeting is needed if, for example, other members of the HR or L&D team will be present. These conversations focus on employee growth and career development such as skills development, training opportunities and career pathing.
  7. Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs): Address significant performance issues and outline steps for improvement. They happen as needed and usually have a set period between meetings (e.g., 30, 60, 90 days). These conversations are an opportunity to outline required performance improvements and to outline support that will be provided.

Whichever review or appraisal software your company uses, there will be an opportunity to hold some of these conversations throughout the year.

How to have a performance conversation

The performance appraisal process is daunting for many managers, especially first-time or ‘accidental’ managers. At Appraisd, we’ve created a free set of resources for HR and line managers to use in performance conversations. You can find them all here on our website. Some of our most popular guides include:


Whichever conversation you’re having, it’s important that your performance appraisal system and wider performance management process is supported by software that fits your process. This makes life easier for managers and employees, plus it ensures that employee performance is aligned with company goals.

Overcoming obstacles to performance conversations and annual appraisals

In every organisation there are reasons why performance management conversations don’t happen. Reasons given by managers range from not having time to not seeing the point, as well as believing their team is fine, and therefore doesn’t need regular check-ins.

At Appraisd, we’ve put together a guide to help HR delve into the reasons people don’t have the conversation; learn how to flip these objections and support your managers effectively; and change perceptions about performance management. If you’re struggling to get traction with getting managers to use your staff appraisal software, check out our guide here:


Why choose Appraisd as your performance appraisal system?

At Appraisd, we know that annual appraisal objectives are just a small part of the overall performance management process. That’s why we built our process-agnostic performance management platform. Appraisd can accommodate any performance management process and can be used out-of-the-box, or, work with our team to make it fit your organisation.

Appriasd grows with your business, so, when you’re ready to move from annual appraisals to more frequent feedback, you can adopt more features of the platform. Each of our customers has a named Customer Success Manager who has supported hundreds of other companies to expertly translate their processes into Appraisd and they’ll help you make the most of performance appraisals.

Case studies on moving away from annual appraisals

Turning annual appraisals into a two-way conversation at Ansell Lighting

Read case study

Moving from annual appraisals to regular performance reviews at Clarity Travel

Read case study

From traditional annual appraisals to coaching conversation at ARAG

Read case study

How to conduct a check in or 1:1

What should managers ask in a monthly check-in? Appraisd check-in template includes questions focused on objectives, wellbeing and hybrid working.