e-ppraisal: Performance Management System

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Guide to Creating a Performance Appraisal

Performance appraisals are an essential part of managing employee performance to meet established goals.  Appraisals provide a support structure that allows managers and employees to discuss how to maximize an employee’s skills and performance.  Additionally, performance appraisals can be used as a tool to: support change management, identify top performers, determine training needs, document performance, and aid in aligning performance with organizational values and strategies.  When creating a performance appraisal for your company, there are several things to keep in mind. Provided below are a few suggestions to aid in the customization of an effective performance appraisal.

1) Be clear as to the reason for conducting a performance appraisal.
2) A clear understanding of your organization’s objectives, values, and mission will help to create a performance appraisal that acts as a strategic tool in performance management.
3) Include employee self-appraisals
4) Create performance appraisals that are feasible for both appraiser and appraisee.
5) Provide comment areas for each competency so that appraisers can individualize the performance appraisal for each employee.
6) Determine the level of specificity that your organization requires for rating performance.
7) Keep in mind the job level or group of employees the appraisal is intend for.
8) Use goal setting for more than just productivity objectives.
9) Take the time to introduce and explain the performance management and appraisal process to employees and managers.
10) Update your organization’s performance appraisals regularly.

 

1) Be clear as to the reason for conducting a performance appraisal.

What is the reason for utilizing a performance appraisal process; organizational alignment, aid the developmental process, to cover legal liability, measure the attainment of goals, record performance levels, allocate compensation, or a combination of these? Having a clear understanding of the goal of the performance appraisal is essential to preparing an evaluate tool that is direct, comprehensive, and effective.

2) A clear understanding of your organization’s objectives, values, and mission will help to create a performance appraisal that acts as a strategic tool in performance management.

This allows your organization to create an appraisal that is in alignment with these critical aspects of business. In addition, employees and managers can see how individual performance is aligned with the overall goals for the organization and the employee will understand management’s expectations.
To see how your organization’s values relate to our competencies, take our core values exercise. (Link to core values exercise)

3) Include employee self-appraisals

Enabling employees to self-assess supports greater employee engagement, allowing the employee to take an active role in the appraisal process. The self-appraisal process also provides the appraiser with the employee’s perspective and promotes open dialogue. Encourage employees to track their own performance throughout the year, e.g., list successfully completed milestones/projects, weaknesses and how to overcome them in the future; this is easier than trying to create a list at the end of the appraisal cycle.

4) Create performance appraisals that are feasible for both appraiser and appraisee.

While performance appraisals should be comprehensive, make sure that the appraisal focuses on critical points that aid in the performance of the individual and the organization. Having an appraisal that is too long dilutes the effectiveness of each area of evaluation.

5) Provide comment areas for each competency so that appraisers can individualize the performance appraisal for each employee.

A common complaint about performance appraisals is that they are overly vague, thus making them less effective. By providing these comment areas, employees are able to understand the reasoning for their rating and appraisers can provide detailed feedback.

6) Determine the level of specificity that your organization requires for rating performance.

How your organization wants to distinguish top performers from average to poor, is an important factor in deciding on which rating scale to use. If your organization uses performance appraisals to determine promotion and rewards, consider selecting a rating scale that provides a greater range (e.g. 1-7).

7) Keep in mind the job level or group of employees the appraisal is intend for.

Some competencies are useful at all levels and for all groups, while other competencies may be most applicable for manager and executive positions. Building a library of appraisals that are intended for varying levels and groups is an efficient way to create appraisals that will comprehensively serve your workforce.

8) Use goal setting for more than just productivity objectives.

Including a goal setting section in performance appraisals allows appraisers to track progress of past goals and motivate performance through new goal setting. Performance appraisals are also an ideal way to aid employee development through the use of individualized goal setting.

9) Take the time to introduce and explain the performance management and appraisal process to employees and managers.

This will contribute to employees having a clear understanding of the appraisal process, which creates a more effective system. Encourage managers to keep a journal of employee performance in between performance appraisals so that they avoid any recencey biases (i.e. evaluating performance based on recent events, rather than the entire period being evaluated). Additionally, it is useful to involve personnel that will be responsible for administering the performance appraisal in order to increase engagement in the performance management process.

10) Update your organization’s performance appraisals regularly.

Keeping your organization’s performance appraisals current supports their effectiveness, especially if the performance appraisal is used to aid in the alignment of organizational values and goals.


 Administrative Considerations for Managers:

  • Before the appraisal cycle begins, provide training/communication to managers to ensure appraisals are objective, well-prepared, and effective.
  • At the beginning of the performance cycle, manager and employee should agree on measurable goals over which the employee has control.  Expectations of employee performance should be discussed before the appraisal cycle begins; the first time an employee sees the criteria for evaluation should not be during the final appraisal.
  • During the appraisal cycle, manager and employee should meet periodically to check the status of the goals, readjusting as needed.
  • When completing the appraisal, the manager should focus on facts and performance, not on personality or other non-work related factors. Both positive and negative outcomes should be noted with examples; steps for improvement should be provided.
  • During the appraisal, a relaxed dialogue should be fostered by the manager; the employee should be given the opportunity to provide their perspective or feedback.
  • Managers should work with Human Resources on how to approach and document difficult situations or outcomes.
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