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How to use your LMS for appraisals

Appraisals can a bit awkward at the best of times - it’s always a bit weird to sit opposite your manager and have them assess your performance from the entire last year. Sometimes it feels like one or both of you are winging it, and haven’t come prepared with topics to discuss, which can make the whole exercise feel like nothing more than a box-ticking exercise.

But many managers forget that they have a very useful tool at their disposal for appraisals and general performance management - the LMS. There is a wealth of information available about the employee’s engagement with personal development material, their progress along their learning path and you can easily map learning to tangible performance outcomes. For instance, did that customer service module contribute to better customer ratings? Did that sales workshop boost their sales? In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the ways in which managers - and employees - can use the LMS to support appraisals.

360 feedback

Did you know that with Totara Learn, it’s easy to collect 360 feedback? Rather than having teammates fill in paper forms or emailing feedback to the manager (which may result in less honest comments as these methods aren’t anonymous), colleagues can simply complete the form online. The manager can then collate all the feedback and share it with the employee to identify areas of strength and weakness in their performance. 360 feedback gives both the manager and the employee a more comprehensive view of performance, and can help highlight points that would otherwise be missed.

Progress along the learning path

If the employee committed to undertaking certain learning activities, you can check this in the LMS. Perhaps they have taken the e-learning course, or attended a workshop, or accessed performance support materials prior to important work tasks. If they haven’t, you can discuss potential blockers - do they not have enough time? Did they struggle to access the LMS? Did they access the information they needed elsewhere? Building the learning path into an appraisal gives the employee a set of tangible goals, making them more productive for everyone.

Considering career progression

Appraisals are often a time people decide to raise their career goals with their managers. Maybe they are aiming to be promoted, or want to move into a different area of the business, or feel that some of their skills are being underutilised. In Totara Learn, you can use competencies in the system to map out which skills people need, and these can be tied into their learning path to help employees identify what they need to do to progress in their careers. You can also link learning activities to goals in the LMS, so that employees can work through the required learning and prove that they have the skills they need for the next step.

Seamless integration

Choosing an LMS that seamlessly integrates with your other systems can be invaluable when it comes to appraisals. The performance management module should be able to pull through information from the HR system, such as salary information, and the LMS should be able to send the outcome of the appraisal back to the HR system. It could also be useful to link the LMS with your sales platform if it’s relevant for the employee, so that you can look at sales figures in relation to learning activity and career development.

Does your LMS support performance management? If not, take a look at our performance management feature sheet to find out how Totara Learn can be used to manage performance and appraisals.


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