A company's HR department issues appraisal letters to notify its employees about the results of their performance appraisal process. The purpose of these letters is to give the employees a rundown of their work performance in a given year and to express appreciation for their hard work and achievements. Receiving appraisal letters can encourage and motivate employees to do better in the future.
In this article, we will find out what an appraisal letter is, what objective it has, how to write an effective one and how to receive one, and we will also view an appraisal letter template and sample.
What is an appraisal letter?
An appraisal letter is a systematic assessment of an employee's work performance and the acknowledgment of their contribution to the company in a specified period. Along with highlighting their achievements, skills and growth, such performance appraisal will also identify their shortcomings. The company will use the data to issue promotions and salary increments and justify demotions. Some companies have their HR departments issue appraisal letters annually, but others may do so on a quarterly or half-yearly basis. All the employees in a company receive them.
What is the objective of an appraisal letter?
The objective of an appraisal letter is to offer a balanced evaluation of the employees' work achievements in a given year. The HR department will initiate the performance appraisal process, and they may also issue appraisal forms to the employees to get their feedback on their work performances. The HR department may assign a manager to meet with each employee individually to discuss their improvements, setbacks and future goals, and to inform them of the company's expectations from them.
They may advise them on which skills to develop to do better going forward and how to set achievable work targets. Such positive feedback can enhance the employee's confidence, improve their morale and help them to grow professionally as well as personally.
How to write an appraisal letter?
There are different ways of writing appraisal letters, but the basic premise remains the same. When writing an appraisal letter, employers must keep the main objectives in mind, which are to provide honest feedback on the employees' performances, to improve their morale and to make them feel better appreciated at the company. To achieve these goals, the company needs to offer constructive suggestions that the employees can implement to improve. The following tips may be useful for writing a well-balanced appraisal letter:
- Mention the employee's name and job designation.
- Keep the tone of the appraisal letter professional, polite and optimistic.
- Make sure that the content of the appraisal letter is concise and clear.
- Start with the positives and mention specific instances in which the employee performed ably.
- Offer fair, tactful and constructive criticism for the negatives.
- Give specific and useful tips on how the employee can fix their performance shortcomings and improve.
- Mention the employee's salary details and if the employee has received any salary increments.
- Include the employee's achievements, awards and bonuses in the given year.
- Mention if the employee has received a job promotion.
- Outline what the company expects from the employee in the future.
Appraisal letter methods
You can get an appraisal letter after your company completes its annual, half-yearly or quarterly performance appraisal process. You can also receive it by initiating the process yourself after a discussion with your manager. Let's look at both methods:
Employer performance appraisal methods
Your company's HR department may use different appraisal methods to evaluate your work performance. Some of these include:
- General performance appraisal: Your manager will assess your strengths and weaknesses, review your performance reports and note your success in setting and achieving work goals.
- Technological performance appraisal: This appraisal method involves judging your performance by the specialized technical skills you have, any new ones you might have acquired, and the technological projects that you have completed.
- Sales performance appraisal: The company will evaluate your sales performance based on your sales skills and if you have achieved the company's set financial goals that year.
- 360-degree performance feedback: To get a clear idea of your professional competence, the company will ask your manager, team members, co-workers, subordinates and clients to provide feedback on your work performance, character and leadership capabilities.
- Behavioral checklist: The HR department will create a list of desirable work-related behavioral traits they want in the company's employees and use it to evaluate your performance. If you display the desired traits, they will tick 'Yes' before them. If you don't, they will tick 'No' or leave the space blank.
- Rating scale: The company will consider your performance and potential, and, based on these, rate you on a scale from one to 10. The rating you get will depend on how regular you are at your work, if you can achieve your target goals, if you assume responsibility for your work and so on.
- Critical incidents: If you figured positively or negatively in any of the important incidents that took place in the company in a given year, the HR department will keep a record of your behavior and use it to assess your value as an employee.
Related: An In-Depth Guide to Professionalism
Self-initiated appraisal methods
Some self-initiated methods include:
- Collect details of your work performance: Review your work contributions and get reports attesting to them. Gather any work-related awards, certificates, and written acknowledgments that you have received. If you have undergone any skills training at the workplace, mention how it benefited you professionally. If you set any work targets, describe what you did to achieve them. If you failed to meet any work goals, make a note of that as well and provide the reasons for the failure.
- Do a self-evaluation. After collecting all the data about your achievements and failures, compare them. Carry out an overall appraisal. How did you fare when you faced challenges? How many work tasks were you able to handle on your own? For how many did you have to seek assistance from your co-workers or the manager? In which areas do you think you need to improve, and what can you do to improve? Which skills do you need to develop?
- Plan your future goals. Once you have assessed your performance, consider where you want to take your career in the future. Are you willing to take on more work responsibilities and assume more important roles? It is a sound idea to let your manager know about your plans and get their assistance in boosting your career.
- Get feedback from your manager. Share your work performance data, your self-evaluation report and your plans with your manager. Ask them to provide you with a professional evaluation of your work performance and accept their honest feedback without getting defensive. If you have shortcomings, you need to know about them before you can start to make improvements.
Related: Core Values: Overview and Examples
Appraisal letter format
The appraisal letter you will get from your company's HR department is likely to be in the following format:
Date: Appraisal letter date
Subject: Performance appraisal letter
Dear Mr./Mrs/Ms. Employee name,
We are sending you this appraisal letter on behalf of our company. We would like to thank you for your work efforts and the considerable contribution you have made towards the growth of our company.
You have had an excellent performance record in 20XX-20XX. In recognition of this, we have decided to offer you an increased remuneration of Rs. XXXXX. It will be effective from the start of next month.
Thank you again for your work contribution. We are very proud to have you in the company and hope to see many more positive contributions from you in the future.
Please feel free to contact me or meet me personally if you have any questions.
Related: Business Letter Format and Example
Appraisal letter sample
Sales manager appraisal letter
Date: 9 September 2020
Manager, HR Department,
Subject: Performance Appraisal
Dear Mr. Shastri,
I am honored to present you with this appraisal letter on behalf of the entire Dinshaw Garments team. We would like to thank you for your dedication and commitment to your work, and extend our appreciation for the considerable contribution you have made towards the growth of our company.
According to our evaluation, you have shown significant improvement and exceeded your work targets in 2019-2020. Given your stellar performance, we have decided to raise your monthly remuneration by 50%. The salary increment will be valid from the beginning of next month.
Additionally, we are also giving you a fully-paid vacation of 15 days to a destination of your choice in India.
Thank you for your work so far, and we look forward to many more positive contributions from you in the coming years.