If completing a performance appraisal form is "just a paperwork exercise" in your business, then why waste your time? Here are some guidelines for getting real value from the process, so that the end result is a motivated employee.
You will also find ideas on how to measure employee performance and involve employees in the performance appraisal process.
The form normally lists a range of assessment criteria against which an employee is measured. How relevant are these criteria to your business?
If your employees have a say in how their performance is being measured, they are more likely to engage with you in a useful performance appraisal discussion.
Performance Appraisal forms normally ask you to make a judgement on a range of criteria, typically selecting from: exceeds performance, satisfactory performance or needs improvement. Your choice needs to be based on facts, not opinion.
Think about how you are going to measure these and agree the standards with other managers in your business.
Some criteria are easy to measure, such as attendance or meeting deadlines. But there are other factors that are more intangible, such as being a good team player or communicating effectively.
Remember - employees need to know what they are going to be measured on and how.
Do you discuss performance for the entire review period, or do you focus on what happened last week?
Catch your employee doing things right, and praise them (ideally in front of others).
When things go wrong, approach it as a learning opportunity and discuss with the employee (ideally in private).
Keep notes on both throughout the review period, to help you complete the appraisal form in a balanced way.
If you are fortunate to have high performing employees, don't go looking for problems - instead agree stretch goals with them to keep them motivated.
Read over your completed form. How would you feel to be on the receiving end of it? would you be satisfied that it was a fair assessment, based on facts not opinion?
Performance appraisal should be a two-way process.
Explain the content of the form at the start of the review period, so that the employee knows what is expected of them.
At least two weeks before the review date, ask the employee to complete a self appraisal on their performance. Have them complete a blank copy of the appraisal form and bring it with them to the appraisal interview.
Sign off on an agreed copy, noting any areas of disagreement.
The more you involve the employee in the appraisal process, the more motivated and engaged they are likely to be.
Read our latest newsletter - Avoid the Pain of Employee Turnover - 3 Steps to Maintaining Business Performance or view our back issues for more concise tips on practical management skills.