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Help for small firms

How to get the best out of your staff: A step-by-step guide

How to get the best out of your staff - Useful tools: Real-life situation

You recognise that you have some very good staff and it's time to conduct the appraisal of one them. As his manager, you've done everything right - given and received regular feedback, and held regular review meetings. You're looking forward to their appraisal because you've got so many good things to say.

What happens next?

The appraisal is going well. They're enjoying their job and producing results that exceed their objectives. You tell them that you are very pleased with their performance, and thank them for all the hard work and skills they bring to their role.

The conversation turns to their action plan for the coming 12 months and any training and development they are interested in pursuing.

Next, comes a shock...they confide that they have been applying for others jobs - not because they are unhappy, but simply because they are very ambitious.

You're surprised by this news because you've always found it easy to talk to one another. But, clearly, it's a sensitive matter they've found difficult to talk to you about before, yet they feel the appraisal meeting is an opportunity to raise it.

You thank them for being open and honest, and tell them that you would prefer that they didn't leave your business, as you value them and the contribution they make. You get back to exploring what ways they might be interested in developing and keep in mind how that might fit in with your business.

You complete the appraisal as far as you can, but say you need time to consider the conversation and what steps might be possible in working out a way forward.

You suggest that you meet again in a few weeks once you have some clearer ideas you can discuss together. They are delighted with your suggestion.

And you're relieved you've got an appraisal process. Without it, you might never have known the employee's true feelings until it was too late and they handed in their notice.

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