performance appraisalPerformance appraisals can help employees and management define their goals.

If you’re a small business owner and haven’t gotten around to offering employee performance appraisals, now is the time to start. Performance appraisals can benefit employees and organizations by clarifying goals and expectations, and creating an environment of open communication. The best performance appraisals offer positive feedback and advice for improvement, and typically consist of a conversation between management and the employee.

Function: Performance appraisals help managers and employees to identify strengths and weaknesses of employee performance. They offer an opportunity for managers and employees to discuss the employee’s goals for himself, the manager’s goals for the larger department or organization and ways that the employee and the manager can work together by further developing skills and strengths necessary to reach these goals.

Significance: The best performance appraisals create a link between individual employee expectations and how the employee’s work contributes to the larger organization’s success. They clarify expectations that the manager has for the employee and help the employee prioritize his duties. Ideally, performance appraisals open the lines of communication between managers and employees.

Benefits: Performance appraisals benefit the company as well as individual employees. They increase rapport between management and employees, increase job satisfaction and improve employees’ sense of loyalty toward the organisation. Performance appraisals assist the employee in seeing how his role in the organization contributes to the company’s overall success, thus increasing employee morale. All of these lead to higher productivity among employees, which improves organizational productivity.

Considerations: Performance appraisals should not be used as substitutes for consistent, open communication. Nothing should be surprising to the employee during the appraisal meeting. Any performance issues should have been addressed as soon as those issues occurred. After a performance appraisal, make sure to check in with the employee consistently to discuss his progress toward the goals set during the meeting. This will help keep employees motivated.

It is recommended to start the performance appraisal meeting by making it clear that the goal of the appraisal is to exchange ideas and work together to come up with an action plan for meeting the employee’s and the organization’s goals.

A few Common Errors in Performance Appraisals

An employee performance appraisal can be a valuable tool to the manager, the employee and the company. The manager can keep track of career and job performance goals set up for the employee and mark progress. The employee can learn how to improve his performance and climb the company ladder. Avoid common errors in performance appraisals to ensure everyone benefits.

Waiting for Appraisal: Managing an employee should be an ongoing process. One of the mistakes managers make is waiting for the performance appraisal to give comments or criticisms on the employee’s performance. Offer insights and advice at all times, and make notes on when you offer assistance and what kind of assistance you offered. The appraisal should be the time to summarize what was done during the year, and what can be done to make it better. If the employee has to wait for appraisal time to find out what he is doing wrong and what he needs to improve, then the information can get lost during the year.

Not Being Prepared: The employee takes his appraisal seriously. It affects the course of his career and it can impact his salary for the coming year. The manager needs to take the appraisal just as seriously by taking notes throughout the year and coming prepared to the appraisal meeting. Have all necessary forms and paperwork filled out on time, and set aside some time before the appraisal meeting to read the employee’s self-evaluation. Make notes during the year on the employee’s performance and bring them for discussion at the appraisal meeting.

Personal Feelings: A performance appraisal is an evaluation of the employee’s business performance throughout the year. Managers will sometimes use personal feelings during a performance appraisal and skew their opinions based on subjective opinions. The manager needs to set aside personal opinions and focus on the business performance of the employee to give an effective evaluation.

Too Focused: Some managers tend to focus too much on one or two events during the evaluation period, and this can help demotivate employees. An employee may feel as though all of the other accomplishments throughout the year were pointless as the manager points out only a few items in the appraisal. Allow the appraisal to span the entire evaluation period. Speak in general terms when it comes to positive or negative aspects.

Not Interactive: An effective performance review is an interactive process between the manager and the employee. They both discuss the previous year’s events and they both work together to develop a program that will help the employee be more productive in the coming year. A performance appraisal should not be a one-way conversation with the employee not being allowed to speak or ask questions.

Tips For Employees on Performance Appraisals

An employee performance appraisal needs to have value for the employee to be effective. Employees should not sit and allow a performance review meeting to be a one-way conversation. Several tips for employees on performance appraisals can help to make the performance review process effective and part of the employee’s professional development.

Keep Notes: For the employee to have any way of supporting their good work from the previous year, he needs to keep a detailed record during the year. Keep a notebook in your desk and make a note each time you had a major or minor accomplishment, and when something went wrong. For the accomplishments you should note who you worked with, the role you played and how the company benefited. When you make a note of something that went wrong, be sure to mark down your part in the crisis so you can take full responsibility for it, but also note what you learned from it so you can let your manager know that you are learning from your mistakes.

Have Questions: The performance appraisal is as much for the benefit of the employee as it is for the manager or the company. Before your review meeting, develop a list of questions that you would like to ask your manager. It is acceptable to ask questions regarding advancement in the company, how to get a raise and how you can take on more responsibility. Review your notes from the past year and develop questions on how you can improve your performance. Keep your questions short, and limit the number of questions you ask. As you discuss the questions with your manager, write down the answers so you can refer to them later.

Be Honest: If you continually rate yourself with the highest grades possible in all areas, then your manager may not feel as though you take your job or your career seriously. When you fill out your self-evaluation, be as objective as possible. Refer to your notes from the year and give yourself an honest evaluation of your performance. If you feel you deserve a low score in an area then mark it down, but make a note to discuss it with your manager to find out how you can improve your performance.

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