As a manager, one of the most dreaded tasks you’re going to have to complete is an employee performance appraisal. They happen at least annually, and are more often if you have a new employee or if you have had to place one on probation. No one, manager or employee, enjoys the appraisal process.
Even still, it’s important to understand the logistics of how the appraisal process works. Your organisation’s human resource department should have already taken care of the legalities behind the creation of the review process and is most likely responsible for giving you the formal paperwork for completion. It’s now up to you to complete the actual review. Here are a few things to keep in mind during the process.
Don’t spring a last minute meeting on your employee. It will likely take you a considerable amount of time to gather the information needed for the review. If you know the review is coming up, your employee should know, too. Give him at least two weeks notice so that he can prepare his own documentation, if necessary.
Give your employee the opportunity to review himself. Give him a blank copy of the review form and ask him to complete it and return it to you at least a week before the meeting. Having him answer the same questions about himself that you are trying to answer may shed a different perspective on your thoughts and opinions regarding the way he or she works.
Have a good understanding of your employee’s job description. This should go without saying, but also relates back to your technical skills and abilities. Do you really understand how your employee’s job is done on a regular basis? If not, you need to find out. How can you judge or rate him if you have no idea what he is actually supposed to be doing?
Avoid surprises during your performance appraisal meeting. Do not bring a laundry list of negative issues or problems to the performance appraisal meeting. If an employee’s behavior or work has not been up to standard, this is not the time to address or rehash those concerns unless the concern is very recent or you have addressed it previously. Performance appraisal meetings should be positive experiences.
This isn’t an all-inclusive list of steps to take when preparing for a performance appraisal meeting, but should give you a firm foundation to start from. I have found that the more prepared I am going into this type of meeting the smoother they tend to go. No one enjoys being reviewed, so your employees will appreciate your efforts to keep the process as painless as possible.
Originally published: 1 September, 2008
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