Effective Performance Effective Appraisals Part 3


Effective Performance Appraisals

When you are getting ready to complete the appraisal do the following:

    • Review prior feedback, notes and documentation
    • Go over the prior appraisal.
    • Investigate previously set goals/desired behaviors.
    • Review the entire period, not just the last couple of months.
    • Clearly understand the appraisal/assessment tool and follow training and instructions.
    • Ask employees to do a self-evaluation. It is beneficial for them to assess their effective performance, and it can help when giving feedback. Note, don’t look at their self-appraisal until you’ve completed your assessment. You do not want to bias your views, and employees don’t want to feel like they wrote their appraisal.
    • Rate each employee and prepare written comments for high and low ratings. Be prepared to discuss real-life examples.
    • Avoid common appraisal errors by evaluating the entire period, taking good notes, and focusing on results.
    • You are ready for your sit-down appraisal discussion when you are prepared to answer these questions for employees:

How am I doing?

      • What can I improve?
      • What are my advancement opportunities?
      • What’s going to be expected of me before the following review?
      • How will my work be evaluated during that time?
      • What help or attention can I expect to get from my Supervisor?

Although it is a good idea to prepare ahead of time possible employee goals, areas for improvement, and needed training, don’t write these out on the final appraisal. It will be more effective to finalize this working jointly with the employee. The employee may shed some light that may change the information, or he may have better objectives. Employees must be involved if you want to secure their commitment and buy-in.

During the Interview

    • Make the setting comfortable and private.
    • Set the employee at ease. State the purpose of the meeting and engage in a two-way conversation. Avoid too much small talk and get to the point of your meeting.
    • Seek the employee’s personal view of their performance. Discuss your scores and try to understand and clarify any differences in perception.
    • Build on the last review by discussing what was planned and what has been accomplished.
    • Discuss your ratings and comments. Look for non-verbal employee reactions to guide how much detail you go into for each point. If they appear to be upset, ask questions to get them to open up.
    • Give recognition for accomplishments and achievements. Find something positive to say.
    • Identify areas where improvement is needed. Ask for the employee’s confirmation and suggestions for improvement.
    • Agree on specific improvement actions and a time frame to accomplish them. Write this plan out along with measurable objectives either on the appraisal or as an attachment.
    • Remove obstacles to performance and define what you can do to help the employee.
    • Provide employees an opportunity to agree or disagree with their evaluation. Hear them out and answer their questions.
    • Set new goals and schedule a follow-up session as needed.
    • Where appropriate, this may be an excellent time to discuss the employee’s next possible position with the company, where they are now at achieving this, and what experience or skills are needed to get there.

Do the following:

  • Evaluate the performance, not the personality. Strive for objectivity by focusing on results.
  • Apply performance ratings consistently.
  • Keep track of job performance, noting both the positive and the negative.
  • Maintain written performance-related records to help you when evaluating.
  • Gather all relevant information before completing the evaluation.
  • Think of specific examples to give employees when discussing problems and when giving praise.

Don’t do the following:

  • Inflate honest, accurate appraisals.
  • Use evaluations to play office politics or to make yourself look good.
  • Wait for a formal review to address performance problems.
  • Evaluate performance based solely on the recent past. They should reflect the entire review period.

Avoid the following common effective performance appraisal errors and tendencies:


Halo effect: Where the employee impresses the Supervisor so much in one area of the evaluation, like productivity, that they rate them high in all areas.

Horns effect:  the opposite of the halo effect occurs. The Supervisor is so concerned about performance in one area that they rate them lower in all areas.

Recency: Writing the appraisal based on the most recent past performance. Remember that the appraisal should cover the overall performance for the past 12 months.

Leniency: This is where the Supervisor sugarcoats performance appraisals, so they are well-liked by their employees. Being lenient with employees only hurts them and the Supervisor. State the facts and tell it like it is.

Additional Reading

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