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How to… manage a performance appraisal effectively(from appraiser’s perspective)

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The most important purpose of a performance appraisal is to improve performance in the future by reviewing past and present performance, and then by creating a development plan to build on the employee’s strengths and address areas for improvement. This is a truly ‘win-win’ situation!

While it’s challenging to conduct performance appraisals, here are some tips to help you manage them smoothly and effectively.

1. Good Preparation Before The Appraisal

  • You should be well trained in using your specific performance appraisal methodology in order to give accurate and fair judgment.
  • Try to seek input from other managers, supervisors or peers who have worked with the employee.
  • Refresh your memory and review your notes jotted throughout the year about the employee.
  • List points that need to be discussed, be it good points or those that need improvement.

2. Review The Last Performance Appraisal

  • Do it together with the employee.
  • Determine if improvements were made and goals were accomplished.
  • Determine if the employee has encountered any problems on the job and how these affected his/her job performance.

3. Encourage Employee to Talk

  • A dialogue gives successful evaluation.
  • Consistently ask for employee’s view throughout the discussion.
  • Ask employee to give suggestions on how to improve performance standards.
  • Make sure you are not doing all the talking.

4. Listen To Employee

  • Listen to the employee just as you expect him/her to listen to you.
  • Listen graciously but truthfully accept suggestions if any.
  • Don’t get personal or accusatory.

5. Accept Employee’s Feelings

  • Accepting feelings is not the same as agreeing, it simply means “I acknowledge how you feel”.
  • Be objective and calm. Do not argue with the employee. Avoid getting into a debate in order to proceed smoothly.   

6. Be Specific and Direct

  • Give specific examples to let employee know you are aware of their positive qualities and accomplishments.
  • Use defined performance standards, such as quality and quantity.
  • Discuss areas where standards were met and not met, and especially any areas that were exceeded.

7. Provide Support and Guidance

  • Be honest, ethical and offer corrective guidance to the employee.
  • Determine how you or any other supervisors can help the employee meet the standard.
  • Determine if the standards are unrealistic and need re-evaluation.

8. Jointly Establish Goals For Next Year

  • Define the goals and performance standards for next year based on this year’s achievements.
  • Ask the employee how the goals can be met. What assistance will be needed from you?
  • Review the goal plan to determine if the goals/plans are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time sensitive (SMART).

9. Give Routine Feedback

  • Maintain a diary of good and bad incidents, have daily contact with employees.
  • Feedback on performance should be given routinely, not just once a year at appraisal time.
  • Be objective and recognize your limitations and personal biases.
  • As you are in regular discussion throughout the year, there will be NO SURPRISES at the final year-end appraisal, and therefore the discussion will run much more smoothly.

10. Follow-Up

  • Develop an action plan together and follow up closely to improve performance.
  • This is the most critical output of the appraisal. Be genuine and committed in your support.

Next time we will be covering HOW TO…GIVE FEEDBACK”.
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