Performance appraisal answersThats the question we would all like an honest answer to! But how many of us feelthat we get it; and how many of us as supervisors and managers can say that we trulyand without exception, give our people honest answers?Managers dread the annual performance appraisal interview. It is time consuming. Itcan involve conflict. They worry that if they give high ratings, but are not able to givelarge salary increases, people may become de-motivated. They worry that if they givelow ratings, people will definitely become de-motivated!Employees dread the annual performance appraisal interview too. They fear criticism.They are scared that they will become emotional and defensive. The process feelsunfair when managers seem to have made up their minds before the interview and donot ask for employee opinions. People are scared to speak up, admitting to lack ofcompetence or confidence, in case they are accused of having poor attitudes or worse,of being obstructive.The real problem is that poor performance goes unchecked. Many people can testifyto the years of performance appraisals they endured in which they were given"satisfactory" ratings, before being retrenched, or fired for incompetence. Confrontingpoor performance is never easy, but the alternative is even more painful. As amanager or supervisor do you really want to be surrounded by a team of under-performing people?If you are responsible for giving others feedback on their performance, here are sixsteps you can use that will help you answer the question honestly, and help yourpeople perform to their potential.1. Set the tone for the conversationMake it clear that the purpose of the discussion is to help the employee, not punish orevaluate. Open the conversation in a way that sets a safe tone for what will follow.Separate any talk of salary from feedback on performance, in both time and place.Find time and a place for the conversation that is comfortable and safe for both ofyou.2. Start with the factsDo your homework: have the facts of the persons performance in front of you and usethe best of them. Describe them without accusation or exaggeration. Facts provide ananchor for the conversation while allowing disagreement on their interpretation.3. Explain how you see itAfter you have put the facts on the table, explain how you feel about the personsperformance. Give positive feedback where it is warranted. But if you are
disappointed with the performance, say so. If the person has let you down, say so. Ifthey made an undertaking that they have broken, explain how you feel about it.Explain the implications of continued poor performance. The strength of your feelingsabout the situation provides the motivation for the conversation and underlies the needfor improvement.4. Invite dialogueYou have explained how you see and feel about the situation: now you need to hearthe other persons take on it. Ask open questions and listen carefully to the answers.Acknowledge what you have heard and understood. Use empathy where appropriate.Clarify where necessary. Dont move on to discussion of what to do until you haveproperly heard the employee out.5. Move to actionA very common mistake is for the manager to tell the employee what he wants done.Dont tell! Ask!The more you tell, the less likely you will be to obtain commitment from the otherperson. As far as you can, build your ideas onto those of the other person.6. Obtain commitmentSummarise the actions agreed and discuss how progress will be tracked andevaluated. Agree a follow up date - and stick to it!When people become comfortable discussing performance in this way, conversationsare easier, quicker and more productive. It takes a little time and practice, buteveryone who wants an answer to the question, "How am I doing?" knows it is timewell spent.http://performanceappraisalebooks.info/ : Over 200 ebooks, templates, forms forperformance appraisal.