By Alan Price, HR / employment law director of employment law consultancy Peninsula and director of the CIPD, the HR professional body

I believe that offering regular feedback to both your managers and employees, which includes conversations regarding performance and development, is extremely important in helping to support continuous learning in the workplace. More specifically, it provides the individual with an idea of how they are performing, highlighting areas in which they excel and areas where more focus should be applied. The meeting should be seen as an opportunity to discuss the employee / employer relationship, it should be fairly balanced and of course should not be used as a meeting to criticise the employee. Provide praise and give examples, this lets the employee know that they are valued.

Performance and development conversations can range from a quick fifteen minute one to one on how things are going to more serious and difficult conversations regarding underperformance or unacceptable behaviours.

When discussing performance you will need to ask yourself whether the employee is clearly aware of what was and is expected of them. Are they aware of your expectations? You cannot expect the employee to live up to your expectations if they do not know what they are in the first place, so communication is essential from the onset.

Strengths of the employee should also be discussed and whether they are using this to the best of their ability and also whether the business is or can utilise the skills. Recognised performers become more motivated, this is a true fact that is why it is very important to keep positive in your meetings.

Also remember that appraisals should be an opportunity to listen to the employee. It provides them with the opportunity to have their say, voice any concerns and have an open discussion about future career plans. Listen to what they have to say, provide feedback and assist the employee if they believe further training is something they would benefit from or require to perform their job more successfully.

How well do you believe managers apply consistent and constructive, criteria based (or example-based) assessment to differentiate performance and what is the value in differentiating? This approach creates a competitive mind-set in which high performance and bringing the greatest value are recognised and rewarded. If high performers are recognised they become more motivated and thus deliver greater results. High performers are role models and help raise performance levels within teams.

Regular, constructive performance and development conversations are important to support the success and career progression of employees and of course let us not forget your management team. These conversations are an opportunity to reflect on what is being done well, should continue, needs to stop and needs to improve. These conversations help employees and managers build a realistic picture of performance and areas for development.