Performance Appraisals … Get Ready!

Employment LawThe formal performance appraisal process should take a minimum of time and effort. Typically they are completed annually and the same form or rating is used for multiple purposes; compensation, career planning, promotion, transfer, training and development, discipline, downsizing or termination.

Here is a basic approach for preparing and conducting a performance (appraisal) management session:

Preparing for the Session
Gather the needed information and ask the associate to provide any documentation that they would like to have considered in their appraisal. Set up a time and notify the associate. Finish preparing the associate’s evaluation and forward a copy to the associate for review ahead of time.

Conducting the Session
Start with light conversation. This sends the message that the meeting is not adversarial. Present the associate with a finished copy of the evaluation and allow time for them to read it. Review each section of the evaluation and discuss examples. Allow associates to ask questions or offer feedback. Together, set new goals and make plans for achieving those goals. Goals should be aggressive, yet attainable. And, document the new goals. Secure acknowledgement from the associate and the appraisal forms should have a space for associates to acknowledge that they reviewed the evaluation, even if the associate disagrees with certain aspects of it.

Bias-free Performance Appraisals
The purpose of performance appraisals is to ensure that associates receive a fair and honest assessment of their performance over the rating period, and to develop a plan to improve their effectiveness in the future. Appraisals are often riddled with personal bias. For example, assertiveness has often been valued more in men than in women.

Supervisors and team leaders should be trained in eliminating performance rating errors. Appraisals should not be about subjective viewpoints. Appraisers need to be aware of their own prejudices equating long hours with commitment, for example, or letting judgments about performance in one area color all the others (halo or horns effect).

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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