Guidelines to Conduct Proper Employee Performance Appraisals

Employee Performance Appraisals

Yearly performance reviews are critical. Organizations are hard pressed to find good reasons why they can’t dedicate an hour-long meeting once a year to ensure the mutual needs of the employee and organization are being met. Performance reviews help supervisors feel more honest in their relationships with their subordinates and feel better about themselves in their supervisory roles. Subordinates are assured a clear understanding of what’s expected from them, their own personal strengths and areas for development and a solid sense of their relationship with their supervisor. Avoiding performance issues ultimately decreases morale, credibility of management, the organization’s overall effectiveness and wastes more of management’s time to do what isn’t being done properly.

Below you will find some amazing guidelines that will aid you in performing proper employee performance appraisals:

1. Design a legally valid performance review process.

Patricia King, in her book, Performance Planning and Appraisal, states that the law requires that performance appraisals be: job-related and valid; based on a thorough analysis of the job; standardized for all employees; not biased against any race, color, sex, religion, or nationality; and performed by people who have adequate knowledge of the person or job. Be sure to build in the process a route for recourse if an employee feels he or she has been dealt with unfairly in an appraisal process, e.g., that the employee can go to his or her supervisor’s supervisor. The process should be clearly described in a personnel policy.

2. Design a standard form for performance appraisals.

Include the name of the employee, date the performance form was completed, dates specifying the time interval over which the employee is being evaluated, performance dimensions (include responsibilities from the job description, any assigned goals from the strategic plan, along with needed skills, such as communications, administration, etc.), a rating system (e.g., poor, average, good, excellent), space for commentary for each dimension, a final section for overall commentary, a final section for action plans to address improvements, and lines for signatures of the supervisor and employee. Signatures may either specify that the employee accepts the appraisal or has seen it, depending on wording on the form.

3. Schedule the first performance review six months post employment start date.

Then schedule another six months afterwards, and then every year on the employee’s anniversary date.

4. Initiate the performance review process and upcoming meeting.

Tell the employee that you’re initiating a scheduled performance review. Remind them of what’s involved in the process. Schedule a meeting about two weeks in advance.

5. Have the employee suggest any updates to the job description and provide written input to the appraisal.

Have them record their input on their own sheets (their feedback will be combined on the official form later on in the process). You and the employee can exchange each of your written feedback in the upcoming review meeting. (Note that by now, employees should have received their job descriptions and goals well in advance of the review, i.e., a year before. The employee should also be familiar with the performance appraisal procedure and form.)

6. Document your input — reference the job description and performance goals.

Be sure you are familiar with the job requirements and have sufficient contact with the employee to be making valid judgments. Don’t comment on the employee’s race, sex, religion, nationality, disability or veteran status. Record major accomplishments, exhibited strengths and weaknesses according to the dimensions on the appraisal form, and suggest actions and training or development to improve performance. Use examples of behaviors wherever you can in the appraisal to help avoid counting on hearsay. Always address behaviors, not characteristics of personalities. The best way to follow this guideline is to consider what you saw with your eyes. Be sure to address only the behaviors of that employee, rather than behaviors of other employees.

7. Hold the performance appraisal meeting.

State the meeting’s goals of exchanging feedback and coming to action plans, where necessary. In the meeting, let the employee speak first and give their input. Respond with your own input. Then discuss areas where you disagree. Attempt to avoid defensiveness; admitting how you feel at the present time, helps a great deal. Discuss behaviors, not personalities. Avoid final terms such as “always,” “never,” etc. Encourage participation and be supportive. Come to terms on actions, where possible. Try to end the meeting on a positive note.

8. Update and finalize the performance appraisal form.

Add “agreed-to commentary” on to the form. Note that if the employee wants to add attach written input to the final form, he or she should be able to do so. The supervisor signs the form and asks the employee to sign it. The form and its action plans are reviewed every few months, usually during one-on-one meetings with the employee.

9. Nothing should be surprising to the employee during the appraisal meeting

Any performance issues should have been addressed as soon as those issues occurred. So nothing should be a surprise to the employee later on in the actual performance appraisal meeting. Surprises will appear to the employee as if the supervisor has not been doing his/her job and/or that the supervisor is not being fair. It is OK to mention the issues in the meeting, but the employee should have heard about them before.

To learn more on how to calculate these amounts, please feel free to reach-out to us here at SW HR Consultingat 702-979-2119 as we would be glad to partner with you through these important steps.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at info@swhrconsulting.com or 702-979-2119.

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