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Performance Management





For most, Executives, Chief Officers, Head Teachers, and Boards of private and public sector organisations, the process of managing performance through appraisal can be a challenging time. Achieving a balanced approach is difficult, especially if one personality is prone to be over dominant or perceives another colleague has difficulty in understanding the range of roles and responsibilities within the team. These feelings or misgivings often lead to a breakdown in trust and difficulties may result.


Managing a process which is so important to both individual and the company or organisation overall, needs to be undertaken carefully and thoughtfully, thereby ensuring the most positive outcome. Recognising strengths and weakness is paramount to a healthy working relationship. Having a third party or “Critical Friend” to facilitate the appraisal and offer a balanced view is a healthy and stabilizing way to ease the process.



NICHE can carry out the important role on support of both parties in Performance Management Reviews. We off two options.


The Critical Friend


360 Review



The Critical Friend


The first option is to act as a support both to the lead appraisor and other members of the appraisal team, and to the appraisee. We can advise if necessary on who should be on the appraisal panel and how the process should take place. Many institutions and organisations have previously agreed methods, and paperwork for undertaking the appraisal, which may form part of the employee’s terms and conditions. 


The process would start by providing us with previously set objectives for the appraisee, along with any strategic dicumentation such as the Strategic/Development Plan, and if undertaking any major initiatives like external recognition or IIP the relevant documentation to be considered. All those involved would be asked to prepare written information in relation to the previous objectives outlining the work undertaken to achieve the objective, and consideration as to completion of the objective in full, part, or not at all. Subsequent objectives should also be considered.



The day of the appraisal would be split in to three sessions:


                    Session 1 – We would initially meet separately with the appraising panel and the apraisee to

                                          discuss the documentation provided and initial thoughts or perceived difficulties which

                                          may arise within the process. Consideration would also be given to possible objectives

                                          and to how they may be formulated into SMART format.


                     Session 2 –All parties involved would convene for the formal appraisal, initially discussing previous

                                           objectives, the past year in general, taking in to account any major projects and initial

                                           thoughts on the year ahead. It would be important during this stage to tease out any

                                           underlying difficulties which may cause any misunderstanding. Finally, discussing and

                                           agreeing new annual objectives, determining any training needs or professional

                                           support to ensure continual professional development.


                     Session 3 –Individual de-brief with appraisal panel and the appraisee.


                     Session 4 -An optional fourth Session is offered mid year, of a ½ day monitoring session which is

                                          often found to be highly beneficial.







The 360 Review


Building on the foundations and benefits of all sessions (1 to 4 inclusive) of The Critical Friend process, then feeding in a wider input to reach a broader and overall dynamic not just of the direct organisation but in the wider perspective of the involvement and relationship with other stakeholders. In certain circumstances this can be broadened to take account of circumstances where a wider involvement is expected with National organisations or relationships.


The process involves us independently and confidentially meeting with a number of pre-determined and agreed individuals to ascertain working relationships and effectiveness within the individual role and the organisations expectations. This will include members of the management team, and any other company or organisational stakeholder critical to the effective undertaking of the appraisee's roles and responsibilities.


We would allow one day for the interviews and provide a verbal and written report of the findings at a meeting with the Panel and subsequently with the appraisee the following morning. It is recommended that Sessions 1-4 as detailed in The Critical Friend review are carried out the following week.



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