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Appraisal-specific notifications can be setup on the Messages tab. This could include reminders and follow-up messages for assigned users.

(The video above is taken from the Appraisals course in the Totara Academy). 

Creating appraisal messages

  1. Select the Create message button to add a new notification.
  2. Complete the message options.

  3. Click the Save changes button.

Creating a message in an appraisal.

All notification messages created for this appraisal will be displayed on the Messages tab. A message can be edited or deleted using the icons found under the Options column.

Settings 

OptionDescription
EventSelect the event that this notification is related to. This could include the appraisal activation, the complete by date setup in the appraisal or the completion of a stage of the appraisal.
Timing

If the notification is going out before or after an event, select the number of days, weeks, or months before or after that it should be sent.

For example, you might choose to send out a reminder to your users that their first stage completion date is coming up in two weeks. You would set the Timing to Send before and set the How much earlier/later option to 2 weeks.

How much earlier/later?

You can decide how much before or after an event to send the message. So if in Timing you selected either Send before or Send after here is when you can select the number of days, weeks, or months before/after to send it. For example, you can set something to send 0 days before or after an event, this will mean it is sent on the next cron run after the event. This allows the message to be sent in the background, rather than forcing you to wait. You can also use Immediate from the Timing setting and this will work the same as 0 days before or after (send after next cron run).

Recipients

Check the check box next to any roles whose users should receive the message. This setting can be combined with the Stage sending option to only send to a certain role if they have completed a stage. For example, if you only wanted to send the message to learners that has completed their stage you could select the following settings:

For the setting Recipients select Learner.

For the setting Stage sending option select Only send to people if their stage is and Complete.

Stage sending option

You can also choose to only send to people if their stage is incomplete or complete, so that only the appropriate users receive the notifications.

For example, you may decide not to send out reminders to users who have already completed a stage. You would check the Recipients boxes, check the Only send to people if there stage is option and then you would select the incomplete radio button. The Send same message to all roles dropdown menu gives the choice to send the same message to all roles or send a different message for each role. By default, all roles will receive the same message. If Send a different message for each role is selected, then additional Message title and Message body fields will appear for each role, so that custom messages can be entered for each.

Message titleEnter the title of the message which will appear as the email subject and on the user's dashboard in their Alerts block.
Message bodyEnter the body of the message which will appear as the email body and on the user's dashboard in their Alerts block.

Placeholders

Within the body of your message it is possible to use placeholders, these are used to personalise messages without having to type them out multiple times. 

PlaceholderDescription
[site name]The name of the your site.
[siteurl]Site URL.
[appraisalname]The name of the appraisal.
[appraisaldescription]The appraisals description.
[expectedappraisalcompletiondate]The expected appraisal completion date.
[listofstagenames]List of all the stages of the appraisal.
[currentstagename]The name of the users current stage.
[expectedstagecompletiondate]The expected completion date for the users current stage.
[previousstagename]The name of the users previous stage.
[userusername]Appraisee's username.
[userfirstname]Appraisee's first name.
[userlastname]Appraisee's last name.
[userfullname]Appraisee's full name.
[managerusername]Manager's username.
[managerfirstname]Manager's first name.
[managerlastname]Manager's last name.
[managerfullname]Manager's full name.
[managersmanagerusername]The username of the manager's manager.
[managersmanagerfirstname]The first name of the manager's manager.
[managersmanagerlastname]The last name of the manager's manager.
[managersmanagerfullname]The full name of the manager's manager.
[appraiserusername]Appraiser's username.
[appraiserfirstname]Appraiser's first name.
[appraiserlastname]Appraiser's last name.
[appraiserfullname]Appraiser's full name.

For example you might use:

Dear [managerfullname],

Please be aware that [userfullname] needs to complete [currentstagename] by [expectedstagecompletiondate].

Thank you.

On this page

The Totara Academy has a whole course dedicated to using Appraisals in Totara Learn. Here you can learn more on how to use the tool, see best practice, and give it a go yourself.

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Still have questions? Why not post them in the forums of the Totara Community?