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Increasing numbers of organisations are considering moving away from formal appraisals. But in doing so employers need to bear in mind a number of management and legal issues. There remains no substitute for well prepared and thorough feedback, however it is delivered, both in terms of managing staff performance and reducing legal risk if problems arise. Appraisals should ideally contain no surprises, although often they do. A move to more frequent appraisals may help remove this potential for surprise. But if continuous feedback replaces formal appraisals the feedback will need to be meaningful.