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Your Guide To Appraisal Forms In Your Retail Business

By Maria Hickey on July 19th, 2022

There is more to looking after the welfare of your employees than ensuring your retail business has the proper health and safety policies in place and the correct retail insurance to cover your staff.

Your employees will also need regular staff appraisals throughout their working lives to ensure they are still engaged with their work, up to date with their training, and their wellbeing is being taken care of.

But staff appraisals can be a confusing area for many retail employers, especially if they are just starting to build and expand their retail business to include hiring staff as part of their operation.

This guide will look at staff appraisals, what they are, and how you can introduce them into your retail shop management procedures.

What Is A Staff Appraisal, & Why Is One So Important?

Employers hold staff appraisals throughout the working career of their individual employees. They can vary in formality depending on the nature of the business and your relationship with your staff.

Many employers call staff appraisals by another name, such as annual reviews, performance reviews or personal development meetings. While you may feel more comfortable calling it by a different name, the purpose of staff reviews is essentially the same.

It is a regular meeting where you meet with each staff member in a one-to-one setting and discuss their performance, recognise any achievements or accomplishments made since their last appraisal and allow staff to air any concerns about their role. It is also an opportunity for staff to discuss further training, career promotions or request a move to a different role or position in your company.

How To Give A Staff Appraisal

When conducted properly, staff appraisals can help to build healthy manager-employee relationships. Your staff will feel less intimidated about approaching you to discuss worries or concerns or to request extra training or new equipment to help make their jobs easier.

It can help you and your employees prepare for your staff appraisals. If you are new to conducting appraisals, asking your staff to complete a self-appraisal beforehand may be helpful.

There are a number of free retail job appraisal forms you can find online to base your meetings on, but you don’t have to stick with every question on the form, especially if it doesn’t relate to the type of retail business you run.

Staff appraisals are highly flexible, and there is no defined approach you should take. A good starting place would be to hold a general discussion to help put you and your employee at ease.

You can then follow this up with more specific things, such as:

  • Cover A Specific Period of employment
  • Discuss Positives, Then Negatives:
    Begin with praise for what they are doing well before highlighting where any improvements can be made. This will help your employee feel less defensive.
  • Consider Areas of Development / Improvement:
    Your employee may be on top of their game, but if they risk becoming bored or unchallenged by their role, you could lose them. You could offer them further training or added responsibilities to enable them to learn something new and keep them happy and engaged.
  • Allow A Healthy Amount of Time for Discussion:
    Your staff are an essential part of your retail business, so they should never be taken for granted. Your employees need to feel valued and listened to, so make sure you don’t do all the talking during your staff appraisals. Allow your employee to talk and clearly discuss any topics they want to bring up.
  • Agree On Measurable Objectives or KPIs:
    Nothing happens overnight in business, so you need to work with your employees to formulate an action plan that you both feel comfortable with. Agree on some targets to meet before their next appraisal, whether completing a training course or gradually taking on extra responsibilities etc. Ending the appraisal meeting on a positive note with things to look forward to can make your staff feel more motivated to achieve their goals and be happy to remain working for you. This can help increase your staff retention and lower your staff turnover rate.

You should follow up your staff appraisals with a written report and send a copy to your employee to review, accept and sign. They should keep a copy for their records, which will be handy for them to refer to for future self-appraisal forms.

What questions should I ask during my staff appraisal meetings?

You should ask several questions to help you assess how your employee feels about their role, and if they are struggling with any aspect of their job that you can help with. It can also help to ask questions that help you get to know each staff member better and learn if they have hidden skills. These additional skills could be put to good use.

Here are some simple questions to ask during your retail appraisal:

  • Which aspects of your job do you enjoy the most?
  • What’s the most challenging part of your role?
  • Do you think you have any skills, which are being underused?

You never know – you could have a member of staff working right under your nose that could boost your retail business and raise its profile above your direct competition.

For example, if you run a giftware company and have a member of staff that is amazing at gift-wrapping, you could offer an extra gift-wrapping service for busy customers who don’t have the time or the flair for wrapping the gifts they buy from you.

General Retail Staff Appraisal Tips

Remember that staff appraisals are a two-way street. You need to give yourself and your employees plenty of time to prepare. You can prepare yourself in advance by downloading a free retail appraisal form sample available online for a bit of guidance.

Give plenty of notice. It can be very frightening to suddenly spring a staff appraisal meeting on your employee. Giving little to zero notice can result in you and your employees missing out on an opportunity to discuss essential things that should be covered in these meetings.

Providing an appraisal form for retail staff to your employees’ beforehand can help them focus more clearly on any aspects of their job where they know they could do better. This may be because they are not confident performing some tasks and would benefit from further training.

When you set a date and time for a staff appraisal, make sure that you stick to it. Try not to hold your staff appraisals at hectic times of the year, such as during the fourth quarter, when you will be busy with Christmas and New Year seasonal sales.

Your staff will feel unappreciated and unvalued, if you suddenly decide to cancel their appraisal because you are too busy with other work. Remember that your employees will be building themselves up for their staff appraisal meeting, so they may feel disheartened if it is cancelled at the last minute.


Remember, your staff are the lifeblood of your retail business. Without your staff, you would struggle to operate your business, so you should never undervalue your employees or take them for granted.

By keeping them engaged with their role in your business through regular staff appraisals, your employees will feel valued and appreciated as key members of your team and will happily continue to contribute to the success of your business. Protect your business from unexpected events with the right insurance coverage. Let us help you compare business insurance options.

Maria Hickey

For more than 20 years, Maria has worked in the insurance sector and has extensive underwriting and customer service expertise. Maria is an experienced Senior Underwriter with a particular specialism for shop, office and surgery related insurance.

All articles by Maria Hickey

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