By Karen O’Hara
Most large companies have a formal procedure for appraising the performance of employees. It typically consists of an appraisal form completed by a superior, which then becomes the focal point of an appraisal interview between that superior and the subordinate. Most are intended to document performance quality so that future decisions about promotion, salary, or job assignment might be justified. More importantly, the goal of the performance review is used to improve the performance of those being reviewed.
1. Base the appraisal on performance expectations.
Base the performance review on the explicit expectations the company and the supervisor have for the person performing that particular job
2. Minimize the prominence and importance of numbers.
While you may use either numbers or labels to quantify performance, overwhelm the employee with the section on your form that reveals to employees exactly that they need to do to achieve excellence
3. Reveal the form early.
Most employees see the performance review form when it’s time for evaluations. Show them the form during the interview process so it’s not a mystery about what will be expected of them
4. Review performance often.
The typical review process is once a year. Try mandating twice yearly meetings for evaluations or better yet, quarterly. Keep on top of things before it becomes too late to fix the problem
5. Train raters.
Serious morale problems are created when employees believe they aren’t being evaluated consistently and fairly. Require a minimum of one hour of instruction each year for your managers to ensure they are applying your system as intended
6. Incorporate self-assessments.
Have employees assess themselves on the form twenty-four hours before the appraisal interview
7. Generate upward feedback.
Two-way performance reviews work both ways. Employees should be able to comment on the quality of the direct supervision they receive. This is a helpful tool for improving leadership for the manager
8. Require follow-up meetings.
Each appraisal meeting should be followed in about a month by a coaching follow-up where performance progress is assessed, and where new improvement suggestions might be made
9. Oversee the system.
Keep a close watch on performance reviews. Check the reviews done by your immediate subordinates and skim those done in the rest of the organization
10. Consider separating reviews from evaluations.
Evaluation tends to generate defensiveness, but performance improvement requires openness and an enthusiastic willingness to change
11. Re-examine the system.
Ask both raters and ratees how well the system is working for them. Get new ideas from other companies who feel they have good systems. Review yours for possible revisions each year