PERSONNEL (2) – Practice Staff Appraisals (2018)

Practice Staff appraisal is now part and parcel of the annual cycle in GP Surgeries mainly as a result of the requirements of the Quality Outcomes Framework and now the required as a result of  CQC Inspection. Personally, I have never liked appraisals as a result of bad experiences of annual appraisals when working in a Family Health Services Authority when appraisals were linked to performance related pay and often shared objectives were allocated to two or more staff and as you can imagine the results were inconsistent. The funding for Performance Pay ran out and was not paid, as did the willingness to take part in Appraisals.

In  a GP Surgery I found it difficult to carry out effective appraisals on reception and secretarial staff who basically were not interested in an appraisal as such and  tended to just wanted to make a point about someone else when the appraisal was about them.

As a starting point I looked for a job description and took account of the changing nature of the work. I gave staff a short questionnaire to complete before the appraisal interview. I did not feel that the appraisal should be used to raise issues that might result in disciplinary action but nevertheless would mix praise with comment. I was interested in encouraging staff to think of their own objectives and would normally set them one myself and let them set the other. I also asked for a training objective.

I recorded the appraisal meticulously and gave a copy to the employee. I have to say that I was not good at following up objectives during the year. The tick box nature of appraisal I found a discouragement.

Here are some of the documents I used – I have included a 360 degree form too, which I used for senior staff to comment on each other with some success.

Appraisal staff form

Appraisal – Notes for Staff

360 degree appraisal questionniare

I always felt and still feel that appraisals needed to develop and change each year and to repeat exactly the same type and style of interview each year would act as a disincentive to take part. Have you tried group appraisals. Have you asked others to do the appraisals for you. Have you delegated appraisals to other senior staff.  Have you held an open meeting with all the staff in one go! Dangerous as you may get more than you expected.

Another issue for me was the quality of the appraisers. There was little point to me of asking others to do appraisals if they had no idea what they were doing. I certainly came across this a number of times and ended up with objectives that basically were nonsense. One way forward is to ensure that there is a consistency in the type and content of objectives. Objectives too should reflect the aims and objectives of the Practice as a whole, but do they?

Robert Campbell

Revised July 2018