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Performance Appraisal - How Many times is Just Right and What Factors Should be Considered 

During a performance review, managers share performance feedback with employees, based on the employee's work, the progress on assigned goals since the last review and general assessment of work performance. Performance reviews are also a time for managers to help employees create forward-thinking goals towards performance improvement and access their overall productivity. These goals, whether short-term or long-term can be assessed and updated during one-on-one meetings, which ideally occur regularly.

The frequency of these reviews can be decided based on your organisation.
1. Annual Performance Appraisal:
An annual review is performed once a year. The goal here is to provide staff members with feedback on their performance and accomplishments for the previous year and to set goals for the year to come. Annual appraisals may be preferred by those who manage a lot of employees, as it can be difficult to keep up with multiple reviews per year for a large number of employees.

2. Semiannual Performance Appraisal:
Semiannual reviews are performed twice a year, like a check-in at the halfway point. Allowing six months between performance reviews seems to be the preferred amount of time for a number of reasons. Firstly, it helps to set a structure and ensures that nothing slips through the gaps. Secondly, leaving six months between reviews provides enough time for actions of the last review to be implicated and monitored and thus can be reflected upon in the next review. Conducting performance reviews every six months ensures that you can keep track of employees without being overbearing or micromanaging. Of course, it is also important to let employees know that they can come to you with issues or questions whenever they like and that they are not restricted to raising opinions in the performance reviews alone.

3. Quarterly Performance Appraisal:
Quarterly reviews are performed four times a year. Ideally, they follow the schedule based on each financial quarter and tend to focus more on short-term goals. They work well for younger, rapidly growing organisations looking to make improvements in short amounts of time. Rather than doing 360-degree reviews every time, quarterly reviews can serve more as check-ins and a way to get regularly scheduled feedback rather than a comprehensive performance evaluation.

4. Probationary Performance Appraisal:
For new employees, it is recommended to conduct a probationary review within the first three months and again at the time of confirmation. This helps the employee settle in and also gives you time to smooth out any issues sooner rather than later.

Whichever appraisal frequency you choose, I suggest that you team it up with Probationary Performance Appraisal for new employees and tie your "End of the Year Appraisal" to a compensation and promotion review. Rather than the employee bringing up a raise or bonus, salary increases can be embedded into one of the review cycles, complete with ratings or designations to give managers a quantitative basis to compare employee performance. That way, the case an employee makes for why they deserve more compensation is more streamlined and raises are granted on a more objective basis.

Here are some factors to consider while deciding on the frequency of appraisals:

1. Consider your organisation's culture:
Is direct feedback natural in conversations? If yes, that takes away the pressure of having reviews often. If no, you a want to consider holding reviews more frequently, at least until giving and receiving direct feedback becomes a more integrated part of the culture.

2. Consider your manager-to-employee ratio:
Those managing fewer employees, likely have more time to devote to a review process. Although your organisation may be medium-sized or large-sized, each manager may be overseeing just a handful of employees. Conversely, at a small or developing organisation, a single manager may be overlooking dozens of employees, so a quarterly review structure wouldn't be feasible.

3. Consider the pace of change/ growth:
Is your organisation young and growing fast? Are you expecting it to undergo changes, especially structurally? Has it recently taken on new investors and funding? Instead of holding off on performance reviews altogether and missing important opportunities to provide employees with the feedback they need to grow think about implementing them in smaller bursts.

4. Consider whether a review focuses on compensation or development:
You should be open to discussing promotions and increment during the Year End Appraisal, so your employees have an opportunity to share their views on their compensation. However, these reviews should be separate from reviews based on employee development or how an employee can improve their overall performance.
No matter what type of performance review you choose to implement, remember that it's okay to experiment and see how your organisation responds to it, you can customize it to whatever works best for your company.


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