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Writing an Effective Performance Appraisal

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Sherrie Suski shares tips for managers for writing an effective performance proposals when evaluating employees.

Published in: Recruiting & HR
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Writing an Effective Performance Appraisal

  1. 1. Writing an Effective Performance Appraisal
  2. 2. Performance Appraisals  A well written annual performance appraisal can serve many purposes:  Valuable conversation starter  Set expectations and goals for the coming year  A chance to discuss growth plans and career tracks  An opportunity to address what isn’t working and why  A open forum for feedback both from and to the employee
  3. 3. Think  Spend some time thinking about what message you want to deliver.  What were some of their major accomplishments during the last year?  How do they compare to others on your team or to others in the organization?  What would you like to see them improve on?
  4. 4. Use Specifics  Where you can, give specific examples to support your ratings.  All ratings that are above or below a 3 on 1-5 rating scale should have comments.  State specifically what the positive impact of a project was or the negative consequences of continuously missed deadlines.  Employees need examples that they can relate to before you know that understanding has taken place.
  5. 5. Use your own verbiage  Many software programs today will allow you to pick your comments from a drop down menu. Resist the urge to do this. It sends the wrong message to your subordinates, that you didn’t take the time to think of something unique to say about them. It doesn’t have to be eloquent. It does have to be honest and professional.
  6. 6. Keep it Professional  This is a document that will live in the employee’s file. It says as much about you, the manager, as it does about the employee.  Do not use inappropriate language and do not use words like “lazy” or “doesn’t care”. Those are judgements and do little to help the employee know what to improve upon.  Do use words that are as descriptive as possible. Instead of “great”, think about words that really describes the accomplishment  Use key metrics when possible to describe the impact of an accomplishment
  7. 7. Give Honest Ratings  Not everyone is a 5 on a 1-5 scale, nor is everyone a 5 in all performance appraisal categories.  As a rule of thumb, about 10% of your team could be rated 5’s.  If you have performance issues, now is the right time to address these. Do not give someone a 4 on a performance appraisal and expect to terminate them for performance the next month.  Talk to other managers to calibrate your ratings. Are your average performers being rated 4’s and everyone else is rating their average performers a 3?
  8. 8. Be Confidant  When writing your assessment, be confidant in the thoughts you want to express and the words you use to express them. You are the manager and your team is looking to you for guidance.  Have examples to back up your ratings  Do not offer to re-evaluate someone or change their rating unless there is truly meaningful new information, which should not happen if you are managing your team appropriately  Do not apologize for a rating, but do speak openly about how they can improve next year
  9. 9. Offer Growth Opportunities  Everyone hopes to have growth opportunities  Let them know what areas you see that they could improve in, or that you could offer to get them involved in, in order to broaden their skill set.  Opportunities can be vertical or horizontal. While there is only so much opportunity for upward mobility, many employees are thrilled to have an opportunity to grow horizontally.

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