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How to propose relevant training during annual appraisals

The annual appraisal meeting is a special time for employees and managers alike. It’s a conversation used to take stock of the past year, as well as to set a course to be followed in the coming year(s). Usual topics discussed include training and the employee’s professional development. Employees can take the opportunity to voice their training needs and managers can make proposals. To define priorities and find the right balance between the employee’s wishes and the company’s medium and long-term needs, it is recommended to use proven tools, such as SWP and skill mapping.



What’s an annual appraisal?


The annual appraisal is a key moment of dialogue between employees and employers. What does the term refer to and how are these meetings conducted?


Annual appraisals: what is it?


Appraisal meetings, also known as performance reviews, are optional and generally take place once a year. They aim to assess the employees’ professional skills. Employees are primarily evaluated based on work performed, achievement of agreed objectives, and technical & interpersonal skills. The annual appraisal is also an opportunity to discuss the development of employees’ skills and the training needed to achieve it.



The annual appraisal in detail: how it works


Annual performance reviews are conducted in several stages. First, the employee prepares for the meeting with his/her direct manager(s). The two parties generally refer to an evaluation grid established by the employer to take stock of:


  • the past year (were the previous objectives achieved?)
  • areas of improvement to be explored and means to progress, such as training.


Ideally, both parties review the information provided before the appointment.


Then comes the meeting itself, during which the parties speak face to face, following a framework defined by the employer. The idea is to focus on the future, to set clear objectives and to define the areas on which the employee can work. It is at this stage that training needs are spelled out. The aim is to find the most appropriate solution, in line with both the employee’s plans and the company’s needs. It is important for each party to motivate and justify its requests or proposals.


A report is produced after the meeting.



Skill mapping and training requests during annual appraisals: what are the connections?


The skills map identifies the skills mastered by all of a company’s employees at a given time. It provides clarity to companies as to the skills in their possession and highlights areas for improvement.


The skills map is particularly useful and relevant in the context of training requests made during annual appraisals. The concrete data it reveals helps managers and HR to:


  • decide whether the requested training is consistent with each profile’ strengths and areas of improvement


  • establish a possible need for training in order to reskill an employee


  • identify priority employees for training (whether to support their development or to improve their performance)


  • clarify urgent training needs, for example in a crisis context.


In short, the skills map enables managers to make more objective and relevant choices in terms of training. Their training proposals can then be supported and justified during the meetings.


On another level, skill mapping can optimize training costs by preventing errors. Companies often have limited training budgets. Making more objective choices, based on tangible data, enables them to rationalize and optimize expenses.



SWP, another relevant tool to inform training proposals during annual appraisals


Strategic workforce planning (SWP) is a forward-looking HR management methodology. It quantifies the company’s needs for skills and jobs in the medium and long term. To do this, it takes into consideration all aspects of the business environment:


  • economic
  • social
  • technological
  • regulatory


SWP can be discussed by the company with the worker representation bodies. Training is one of the main subjects addressed, focusing on:


  • the major orientations of professional training for the coming years
  • the objectives of the training plan
  • the conditions for internal professional and geographical mobility.


This conversation on training and mobility plays an essential role. It helps supervise and support employees from one year to the next. It enables you to guide their professional development in the right direction, particularly through the acquisition of new skills. It ensures that the training courses offered during the annual appraisals are better suited to each employee’s professional needs – and that you maximize their employability.


Offering the right training to employees during appraisals also contributes to improving their motivation and wellbeing within the company. And besides your existing workforce, all the measures taken to further training can help attract and retain future talents.


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Illustration credits: https://www.istockphoto.com/fr/portfolio/teravector